Pats Roll Past Uninterested Broncos In Sunday Night Shellacking
The New England Patriots continued their road dominance Sunday night, as they rolled past the Denver Broncos, 41-16, in their 12th straight regular season win away from Gillette stadium.
12 Straight- The win marks New England's 12th straight regular season road win, which ties them with the 2006-2008 Patriots for second most all-time. The 1988-1990 San Francisco 49ers have the all-time record, with 18 consecutive victories away from home. The Pats will need to continue their streak into next season to catch those late 80's Niners teams.
Brady Sets New Record- The Pats offense was paced all game long by their future hall-of-Fame quarterback, Tom Brady, who put together another strong performance in a record setting night. Brady, who won his 86th career road game to move into sole possession of first place on the list of road wins, completed 25 of 34 pass attempts for 266 yards and three scores. What might be most impressive though, is the fact that he threw just nine incomplete passes, which equaled the number of different receivers he completed a pass to on the night.
Special Teams Seals The Deal- While Brady and company played well on offense and the defense held their opponents under 20 points for the fifth straight game, the win was really paced by the superb play of New England's special teams units and, conversely, the horrid play of Denver's special teams units. In the first half alone, the Pats recovered a fumbled punt, returned a kick off 103 yards for a score and blocked a punt attempt, which, in total, led to 17 New England points. Denver's punt return unit was also flagged for having too many people on the field, in the second half, which turned a potential New England punt into a Patriot first down. From the Patriots' perspective, the game was a constant example of heady, solid special teams play, while the Broncos showed off a textbook tail of what not to do on special teams.
Turnovers Help To Tell The Difference- Heading into the game, the Broncos' trouble with turnovers was highlighted as a potential reason why they could lose the game. That analysis rang true, as Denver turned the ball over twice on the night, including on the first play in which they touched the ball. The muffed punt at the beginning of the first quarter by Isaiah Mckenzie really helped suck the life out of Sports Authority Field. Prior to the dropped punt, the Broncos had forced the Pats into an early three-and-out. had Denver gained possession of the ball, things might have gone differently for them in the game.
Three-Headed Monster- In recent weeks, with full health on their side, the Pats have unleashed their three-headed backfield monster on opponents and, thus far, it has proven tough to stop. The combination of Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead and James White has been nothing short of dominant lately, and the three backs worked to continue their success throughout the game, Sunday. On 32 total touches, the three combined for 136 yards. They averaged of 4.25 yards per touch and all scored once. Not only did the three dominate on offense, but both Lewis and Burkhead made huge plays on special teams as well. Lewis returned a first quarter kickoff 103 yards to the house, which was the first of his two scores on the game, while Burkhead added a blocked punt that led to points for New England.
Bouncing Back In The Red Zone- The Pats had struggled in the red zone, coming into the game, and the same was true of their early efforts there Sunday. In their first three red zone trips of the night, the Pats were forced to settle for two field goals. The two kicks also came on drives that entered inside of the Denver 10-yard line. Things changed at the end of the second quarter, however, and carried into the second half. On New England's final three trips into the red area, the team went a perfect 3-3 converting each trip into a touchdown, en route to their highest point total of the season. it could be a sign of good things to come for the Pats.
Quality Line Play- There's no denying that, in their last two games, the Denver defense has played well below its expected level. Despite that, the Patriot offensive line proved to be up to the task against a talented pass rush, Sunday. Most notably, backup tackle LaAdrian Waddle stepped in nicely for injured starter Marcus Cannon and held the likes of Vonn Miller and company mostly quiet on the night. For a unit that has struggled a bit this season, this game was a hard turn in the right direction, as Brady was sacked just once, on a blown block by a running back.
Another Solid Defensive Outing- Despite some poor play from top cornerback Malcolm Butler, the patriot defense had another solid outing, holding their opponent under 20 points for the fifth straight game. After stinking up the joint, through their first four weeks, and ranking at the bottom of the league, this defense has seemingly turned intself into its familiar "bend but don't break" juggernaut unit once again. With the exception of Emmanuel Sanders, who caught six balls for 137 yards mainly working against Butler, no one else on Denver put together a noteworthy evening.
All in all, it was another solid win for the Pats and one of the few so far this season in which they dominated in all three phases of game. As they hang back on the west coast for another week, ahead of their Mexico City match up with the Oakland Raiders next Sunday, they sit firmly planted in the drivers seat of the AFC.