Tom Brady and the New England Patriots took on the Denver Broncos where they are most vulnerable—on the ground. And despite the fact that Denver’s Peyton Manning went 31 of 44, tossed 3 TDs and had a total of 345 yards in the air, it was the Pats who were victorious. Stevan Ridley ran for 154 yards and 1 TD, while Brady tossed a score and also ran for one.
I thought that New England would run the ball a lot and successfully, and they did just that. Ridley was the main man on the ground with Brandon Bolden and Donny Woodhead each gaining about 50 yards each for the day. The Broncos offense racked up 402 yards while the Pats had 440 yards.
Denver dominated the air game, but they pretty much had to in order to keep it close in the second half. At 5:00 of the third quarter, the Patriots led 24-7. That meant that Denver pretty much had to pass and they did. Manning had 332 yards passing. They had 16 first downs in the air and just 5 on the ground.
On the other hand, New England tossed for 193 yards and had 16 first downs via the pass and 18 running. They rushed for a total of 251 yards while the Broncos totaled 70 yards running.
The game came down to the fact that the Patriots broke it open in then third, going on top 31-7 at 4:42 of the third. With the Broncos in a major hole, Manning had to pass, pass and pass more. He did well, bring the team back to within 10 points. But it was a fruitless effort as the Patriot game plan and execution, which included a hefty dose of running, sealed Manning and his team’s fate.
The win put New England at 3-2 and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East with the Jets still needing to pay the Houston Texans tonight. If the Jets win, they will be toed with the Pats. The Broncos are now 2-3 and second to San Diego (3-2) in the AFC West. Last night, the Chargers lost to New Orleans, which means if Denver had won they would have been tied for first in their division.
New England travels to Seattle next week to play the 3-2 Seahawks. Former Patriot and USC coach Pete Carroll coach Seattle. It will be a huge game for both teams.