The Denver Broncos dropped a hard fought game to the New England Patriots 34-31 in overtime. The Broncos jumped out to a 24-0 lead at half, capitalizing on three Patriots turnovers. After halftime, the Patriots mounted a huge comeback and took a 28-24 lead. The Patriots added a field goal and the Broncos scored a touchdown, which tied the game at the end of regulation. It looked like the NFL was headed for its second tie of the day until a miscommunication between Tony Carter and Wes Welker led to a fumbled punt that put the Patriots in field goal range for the eventual game-winning kick. Here is what I liked, what I didn’t like, and what’s next for the Broncos after their heart breaking loss at New England.
What I Liked
Big Games from Von Miller and Knowshon Moreno
Von Miller showed up big in the first half and was making an impact for the first time all season. Miller scooped up a fumble and returned it for the first touchdown of the game. He put a lot of pressure on Tom Brady in the first half, and he was a big reason the Broncos went into the half with a 24-0 lead. Miller finished the game with 8 tackles (6 solo), 2.0 sacks, a forced fumble, and a touchdown. This was the kind of performance the Broncos need on a consistent basis from Miller because the defense was playing very well when he was wreaking havoc on Brady.
Knowshon Moreno kept up his very impressive 2013 season by carrying the ball 37 times for 224 yards and a touchdown. Moreno ran very hard, like he has all season, and looked almost unstoppable against the Patriots defense. He took care of the ball and had by far the best game of his career Sunday night. He was the main source of offense Sunday night because of the Broncos relying on the run game and the passing game struggling. Moreno put up huge numbers on the ground and added an element to the offense that is usually lacking. If the Broncos want to reach the Super Bowl they will probably have to grind out a game with the rushing attack and if Moreno plays the way he did Sunday night they have a good chance to do that.
What I Didn’t Like
Second Half for Broncos
The Broncos opened up the second half with a 24-0 lead Sunday night but found themselves down in the 4th quarter. I did not like how the Broncos had a big lead on the road against a good team and let it slip away. The Patriots came roaring back after halftime and outscored the Broncos 31-7 in the second half and 21-0 in the 3rd quarter alone. Rookie Kayvon Webster was forced into action in the second half after Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie got hurt on the last play of the 1st half. Brady picked on Webster a lot in the 2nd half. Montee Ball also had a fumble that resulted in good field position for New England. The Broncos could not have played much better in the first half but could not have played much worse in the 2nd half. The Broncos need to do the things they did in the first half for the whole game to have success in the playoffs.
Broncos at Chiefs
The Broncos will head to Arrowhead this weekend to take on the Chiefs for the second time in a three week stretch. The second meeting of the year between these two teams has a lot of playoff implications as well as AFC West implications. Both teams sit at 9-2, with the Broncos loss at New England and the Chiefs on a two-game skid after losing to the Chargers Sunday. The winner of this game will take over first place in the AFC West and will be sitting as the number one seed in the AFC.
The Broncos and Chiefs kickoff at 2:25 MDT on Sunday.