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Turnovers Fuel Patriots 31-21 Win
This story originally published on
Broncos coach John Fox
Posted Oct 7, 2012
New England benefited from three fumbles to defeat the Broncos on Sunday
Fumbles doom Broncos in 31-21 loss to Patriots
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP)
' opening drive ended when
fumbled away a 43-yard reception at the New England 10-yard line.
Their last one stopped when
coughed it up at the Patriots' 11.
''You've got to do better than that,'' said McGahee, who also dropped a pass on fourth and 1 in the fourth quarter. ''I think that changed the game, and I take full credit for that.''
threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns Sunday, but he was also strip-sacked in the third quarter as the Patriots forced three fumbles to open a 24-point lead and win 31-21. Thomas caught nine passes for 188 yards, and McGahee had 51 yards rushing and 51 more receiving, but each also had a key turnover deep in New England territory.
''Any time you turn the ball over, it hurts you,'' Broncos coach
said. ''You go on the road tonight, against a very good football team and particularly offensively in their tempo and their skill set, makes for tough slugging. I mean, our guys hung in there and fought back, but at the end of the day, it is still minus-two (in turnover differential). That usually relates in a point differential.''
In the 13th meeting between the star quarterbacks - and first since Manning joined the Broncos - Brady directed four scoring drives of at least 80 yards. He completed 23 of 31 passes for 223 yards and one touchdown and ran for another while opening a 31-7 lead in the third quarter.
''This is not a team you want to fall behind to,'' said Manning, who was 31 of 44 while falling to 4-9 in his career against the Patriots. ''We had a couple of chances in the first half to score some points. ... You have to be able to convert opportunities when they present themselves.''
Manning's fumble led to
's 8-yard run that put the Patriots (3-2) ahead 31-7 with about five minutes left in the third quarter. Ridley led the Patriots with a career-high 151 yards rushing.
Manning then threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to
and 5 yards to Brandon Stokley but Denver (2-3) lost the ball on McGahee's fumble with 3:42 remaining.
The Patriots set a franchise record with 35 first downs as they kept their offense rolling one week after gaining 580 yards, 247 on the ground, in a 52-28 rout of the
. The Broncos sputtered after beating the
Brady and Manning first faced each other in the third game of the 2001 season. The Patriots won 44-13 in Brady's first career start.
There were plenty of close games in subsequent regular-season matchups with six of the previous seven decided by seven points or less. Sunday's outcome was different, although Manning brought the Broncos back from a 24-point deficit in the second half.
His scoring pass to Stokley followed a fumble by Brady on a sack.
Ridley then lost a fumble on New England's next possession and Manning seemed poised to keep the comeback going. A 28-yard completion to Demaryius Thomas put the ball at the Patriots' 14 but two plays later McGahee fumbled and
recovered at the New England 11.
The Patriots led 17-7 at halftime and 31-7 after three quarters. Brady and his runners kept slicing through the Denver defense with a balanced attack. They went ahead to stay, 14-7, midway through the second quarter on a 14-play drive (seven pass plays and seven runs) capped by Shane Vereen's 1-yard run.
Ridley had the third 100-yard rushing game of his career, all this season.
, the NFL's leading receiver last year with 122 catches, had 13 for 104 yards.
The Broncos wasted an excellent opportunity on their first series. Manning hit Thomas with a 43-yard completion to the Patriots 10-yard line, but
stripped the ball and recovered the fumble. The Patriots went four-and-out on the ensuing possession then the Patriots scored on their next three possessions - 84 yards to Brady's 8-yard pass to Welker, 80 yards to Vereen's touchdown and 93 yards to Stephen Gostkowski's 23-yard field goal.
Denver did tie the game 7-7 on Manning's 1-yard pass to
but didn't reach the end zone again until Manning hit Decker to end a 90-yard march, cutting the lead to 31-14 with 1:08 left in the third.
The Patriot even got key plays from their backup running backs.
had a 24-yard gain on the series leading to Gostkowski's field goal. On that same drive,
gained 25 yards on a pass from Brady on a third-and-14 play from the Broncos' 11.
Woodhead kept another drive going in the third quarter with a 19-yard rush on third-and-17 at the Patriots 43. That series ended with Brady's touchdown dive.
Welker, Mayo Beat Out Some Deserving Pros
Dec 27, 2012
John Fox admits 'shock value' in defeat
Jan 15, 2013
Seau Honored A Final Time In San Diego
May 12, 2012
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