The New England Patriots continue to establish themselves as one of the NFL’s best as they defeated their version of kryptonite in the Denver Broncos 41-16 tying a franchise record with their 12th straight regular season road win.
The Patriots started with a stalled offensive drive and after a Denver muffed punt, got the ball back. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady then immediately took advantage of it throwing it to running back Rex Burkhead for his 17th touchdown pass of the season.
After holding the Broncos to only three points, running back Dion Lewis continued his season of big plays with a 101 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Emmanuel Sanders started out with 82 yards but another field goal was all the Broncos were able muster up.
The time of possession kept favoring the Patriots as they forced another short three and out with Burkhead blocking the punt and further establishing the Patriots superiority on special teams.
The Patriots however, were only able to score three points after the turnover.
The Broncos were able to strike first with a touchdown in the second half but that would be all that they could get as the Patriots ran away with field goals by Gostkowski and dominant offensive play.
Running back James White scored his second touchdown reception on the season making it a great day for the utility players like the tight ends and the running backs. A benefactor of this plan was tight end Dwayne Allen who’s first catch as a Patriot was a touchdown reception.
Never surrendering control, the team did everything right and completely dominated the team that has usually dominated them in the past. The Patriots may not be completely healthy, but they are playing their best football right now.
If the Patriots want any shot of winning the Super Bowl, they are going to have to lean on every single facet of their game.
Brady would agree as told reporters after the game that with all three phases in sync and playing well, it makes for a great team win.
“We played really good complimentary football,” Brady said. “Special teams played great, defense played great and then you know we just tried to hold up our end of the bargain. It was a great a team win.”
Special teams ace Matthew Slater suffered a hamstring agent injury early in the game and did not return. The severity of his injury is not yet known but we will keep you updated when we know more.
Top Performers: Offense – 3 Defense – 2 Special Teams – 1
The Tight Ends: Martellus Bennett was a winner exceeding expectations in his Patriots debut with over 50 yards receiving further proving he is back where he belongs. Gronkowski had 4 catches for 74 yards and was robbed from a touchdown catch. Allen also caught his ball as a Patriot which went for a touchdown. Jacob Hollister also contributed on special teams recovering the fumble on the muffed punt early on. Will be a good week going over film if you’re in the tight end meetings.
Rex Burkhead: Running back Rex Burkhead played fantastic on offense catching a few passes which included a touchdown as a blocked punt in the second quarter. He has supplanted Mike Gillislee as the bell-cow back.
James Develin: The Brown alum was a huge underrated part of the offense. Making two catches and throwing key blocks on the biggest running plays of the night, Develin showed football fans that the fullback position is alive and well in the NFL.
Stephon Gilmore: Gilmore was matched up against all-pro wide receiver Demaryius Thomas the entire game and you did not hear from him the whole night. Gilmore is the team’s best cornerback and continues to prove fans and pundits wrong with his play. Malcolm Butler was the one out of the two top corners that picked on getting burnt by Emmanuel Sanders. Defensive coordinators seem more prone now to go after Butler as the “weaker” cornerback than Gilmore.
David Harris: Harris commandeered the defense and was essential in stopping the run. He was able to get a rush on Osweiler making him uncomfortable in the pocket and has found himself a niche with his new team.
Coaching and Personnel: Special teams was the source of the team’s success in the early going with a Dion Lewis kickoff return and a Rex Burkhead blocked punt. Good field position was hard to come by and the Broncos had to work and travel long ways across the field to get all the points they earned.
The Patriots will be staying in Colorado to practice for their matchup next Sunday against the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City.