NFL Game Summary - Denver at New England
(Sunday, October 7th)
Final Score: New England 31, Denver 21
Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - In a matchup of two of the game's marquee
quarterbacks, the New England Patriots' ground attack proved to be the
Second-year running back Stevan Ridley rushed for a career-high 151 yards and
one touchdown, helping New England beat the Denver Broncos, 31-21, at Gillette
One hiccup for Ridley was a fumble he lost with 5:19 to play in the fourth
quarter. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, who threw three touchdown passes
to Tom Brady's one score through the air and outgained his New England
counterpart, 345-223, led his club into the red zone, looking to make it a
On 2nd-and-10 from the 14-yard line, Manning handed the ball off to Willis
McGahee and New England's Rob Ninkovich forced his second fumble of the game
to hinder the rally.
Brady, who did run for a touchdown, then completed a 9-yard pass to Wes
Welker, the last of his game-high 13 receptions, on 3rd-and-3, and the
Patriots ran out the clock.
Welker finished with 104 receiving yards and caught a touchdown pass for New
England (3-2), which has won two in a row after a two-game-skid. The losing
streak began with a setback in its home opener to Arizona in Week 2. The
Patriots followed up a loss at Baltimore by routing the Bills in Buffalo last
The last time the Patriots dropped consecutive home games came in 2008, when
they lost in overtime to the New York Jets on Nov. 13 and then Pittsburgh on
Even though Manning's stats were more gaudy for fantasy owners, the win upped
Brady's record in the head-to-head meetings between the two quarterbacks to
"It's a good win against a very good team," Brady said. "The Broncos have a
hell of a team in all three phases and I thought we really stood up to them,
so it's a good win for us."
Demaryius Thomas was Manning's favorite target, making nine grabs for a game-
high 188 yards. McGahee had 51 yards on 14 carries and totaled the same amount
of yards on five catches for Denver (2-3).
Trailing 31-7 late in the third quarter, Broncos wideout Eric Decker capped a
10-play, 90-yard drive with 2-yard touchdown catch.
Denver turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, however, as a
wide-open McGahee dropped a pass that would have certainly prolonged the
Brady then fumbled while being sacked on fourth down. Offensive lineman Nate
Solder recovered the ball at his own 43-yard line.
Given a short field with which to work, Manning carved up New England's
defense and trimmed Denver's deficit to 10 with a 5-yard TD pass to Brandon
Stokley with 6:43 left.
The first big play of the game belonged to Manning, who connected with Thomas
on a downfield strike. Patriots safety Sterling Moore punched the ball out of
Thomas' hands from behind, however, and returned the fumble 14 yards to the
New England 17-yard line.
The Patriots wound up punting, but Brady capped the next offensive series, a
12-play, 84-yard march, with an 8-yard TD toss to Welker.
Denver answered by moving the ball 80 yards in 10 plays. New England
cornerback Devin McCourty was flagged for pass interference on third down in
the end zone, and the penalty set up Joel Dreessen's short TD catch 55 seconds
into the second quarter.
New England produced 10 points on its next two possessions, both of which
featured at least 14 plays and included key third-down conversions early in
Brady moved the chains with a 14-yard completion to Welker on 3rd-and-10 at
the New England 20-yard line, and Danny Woodhead ran around the left guard to
convert a 3rd-and-3 from near midfield.
The Patriots wound up regaining the lead on Shane Vereen's 1-yard touchdown
run with 7:57 left in the half.
After a Denver punt, New England faced a 3rd-and-14 from its own 11. Woodhead
caught a short toss from Brady and turned upfield for 25 yards, but the
Broncos' defense ultimately made a goal-line stand as linebacker Von Miller
wrapped up Brandon Bolden for a loss on third down.
Stephen Gostkowski then kicked a 23-yard field goal to put New England up 17-7
The Patriots further extended their lead by scoring two touchdowns in an 18-
second span during the third quarter.
Brady finished off another lengthy drive with a 1-yard plunge, and Manning
fumbled on the first play of the ensuing series. Ninkovich stripped the ball
on a sack and Vince Wilfork recovered at the Denver 14.
The turnover led to an 8-yard TD run by Ridley with 4:42 remaining in the
"I think any time you turn the ball over, it hurts you. That is a proven fact
and we were minus-two tonight," Denver head coach John Fox said. "Our guys
hung in there and fought back, but at the end of the day, it is still minus-
two. That usually relates in a point differential."
New England set a new franchise record with 35 first downs... The game marked
the first time in NFL history both starting QB's entered with more than 300
career touchdown passes. It also marked only the second time in league history
that two QB's with at least 125 career regular-season wins met in a game. The
previous matchup featured Miami's Dan Marino against Denver's John Elway on
Dec. 21, 1998 ... Brady extended his streak to 37 straight games with at least
one TD pass, the third-longest in NFL history. He had been tied with Brett
Favre ... New England finished with 251 yards on the ground. It's the first
time since 1978 the Patriots have recorded back-to-back 200-yard rushing
games. They finished with 247 against the Bills ... Dreessen has caught a TD
pass in three consecutive games.
10/07 21:16:08 ET
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