The Denver Broncos pulled off what very few talking heads around the NFL predicted, upsetting the New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium 18-12 on Sunday. The Broncos went 17 days between their last game and Sunday’s tilt at Foxborough, and the rust could be seen falling off in chunks, but this team was no worse for the wear.
Although the Broncos failed to score a touchdown, offensively, this team produced 299 total yards against a stingy Bill Belichick defense. On the other side of the ball, Vic Fangio’s defense held the Patriots’ league-leading rushing attack to 117 yards, most of which came in the fourth quarter when Cam Newton started playing backyard football in an effort to mount a comeback.
There are many winners to celebrate in Denver coming out of the team’s second straight win, and only a few losers to revile. Who’s who? Let’s dive in.
McManus continued to earn that four-year, $17.2 million extension he signed on the doorstep of the season. Without several clutch kicks from McManus, the Broncos don’t win this game.
All-in, the kicker went 6-for-6 on field-goal attempts, two of which were from 50-plus yards, setting a new single-game franchise record. McManus got the deserved game-ball from Coach Fangio.
Lock’s performance was inconsistent, especially in the fourth quarter, but without him back in the lineup, the Broncos don’t win this game. Lock was throwing dimes throughout most of this game and although his box score numbers, upon first glance, are ugly, if he didn’t have three sure-fire touchdown passes dropped by receivers, and one perfect bomb down the right sideline to DaeSean Hamilton in the second half, the QB’s numbers would look markedly different.
Lock was rusty but he was also aggressive and on-point for most of this game. His fourth-quarter interceptions, which came on back-to-back offensive snaps, were bad but without his swag and command throughout, the Broncos don’t roll into Gillette Stadium and upset the Patriots. The lesson? All things are possible for a team when it has its quarterback under center.
In what was his first action since the second quarter of the season-opener, Lindsay reclaimed his position as the man in the Broncos’ backfield with Melvin Gordon recovering from strep throat back in Denver. Lindsay provided an emotional spark to the team and the production the team needed on the field.
Lindsay carried the ball 23 times for 101 yards (4.39 avg). It was his sixth career 100-yard rushing game. The Broncos are 6-0 in those games in which Lindsay eclipses the century mark. There’s a lesson here somewhere.
Reed’s 2020 campaign got off to a slow start but he came on strong in Week 6, notching two sacks and five tackles (three solo), posting the first multi-sack game of his young career. With starter Jeremiah Attaochu missing his second straight game with a nagging quad injury, the Broncos needed Reed to step his game up and he did just that.
Once again, Harris affected the game by tipping multiple passes at the line of scrimmage, one of which was intercepted. He finished with three tackles as well, telegraphing to the Broncos’ front office that it would be wise to offer a multi-year extension now while the gettin’ might still be relatively team-friendly.
On Harris’ first tipped pass, it was the big fella, DeShawn Williams, who made the diving catch to intercept Newton. Credit to Williams, who finished with three assisted tackles and that pick in his first career start.
The rookie corner continues to produce in spades for the Broncos. Ojemudia was once again solid in coverage, breaking up a pass and forcing two fumbles.
This kid will only continue to improve as he learns how NFL QBs and receivers will attack him. Ojemudia couldn’t ask for a better collection of defensive coaches to mentor him, and steer him so quickly through his rookie learning curve. Read from source….