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(Sunday, October 11th)
Final Score: Denver 20, New England 17 (OT)
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Matt Prater's 41-yard field goal less than five minutes into overtime sent the Denver Broncos past the New England Patriots, 20-17, in an AFC clash from Invesco Field at Mile High.
Kyle Orton finished 35-of-48 for 330 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the Broncos, (5-0), who hadn't started a season with five consecutive victories since beginning the 1998 campaign at 13-0 before finishing 14-2 and winning Super Bowl XXXIII.
Brandon Marshall caught eight balls for 64 yards and a pair of scores, including an 11-yarder with 5:21 left to tie the game, capping an incredible 12-play, 98-yard drive.
Eddie Royal added 10 receptions for 90 yards and Knowshon Moreno rolled for 88 yards on 21 carries in his first pro start.
It was also a monumental win for Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, who was part of three Super Bowl wins as an assistant under Bill Belichick with the Patriots from 2001-08. During his three years as offensive coordinator (2006-08), the Patriots scored an NFL-best 1,384 points.
"He taught me a lot. I owe him a tremendous amount of my success and will always be indebted to him," McDaniels said of Belichick. "He's a great friend and a great teacher of mine. I have great admiration for him and I don't think he would have expected anything less of me than to compete against him. The team that played the best as he said this week and I said this week, whoever's players executed best in pressure situations was going to win the game."
Tom Brady went 19-of-33 for 215 yards and two touchdowns for the Patriots (3-2), who had posted home wins over Atlanta and Baltimore the previous two weeks.
"Poor execution is what it comes down to," said Brady. "There were plays to be made all day and we didn't make them. We just didn't execute well. We didn't make the throws that were there. We had the opportunity to win at the end and we squandered that away. You can't win if you don't score any points in the second half and that's what it came down to."
Wes Welker recorded eight receptions for 86 yards and a score, Ben Watson added a TD catch and Sammy Morris rushed for 68 yards on 17 touches in defeat.
Denver got first crack with the football in the extra session and moved the ball consistently on the way to the winning score.
The Broncos were pinned at their two following a punt with 9:59 remaining. The big drive got rolling when Moreno rumbled 27 yards after a catch to the Pats' 42. Later in the series, a taunting penalty against Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather on an incompletion gave Denver the ball 1st-and-10 on the 11. On the next play Orton hit Marshall on the left side for the game-tying score with 5:21 on the clock.
"We knew that he had one-on-one coverage on the backside, and we figured that (New England's cornerback) had to respect his vertical, the fade," said Orton. "We thought that he could get off, so I was going to come back and get the ball to him as quick as possible. The corner didn't really have a lot of help at all for the tackle, and we thought that we would have a good chance to catch and run. That is exactly what we got, and he made a great move after the catch and scored."
Both sides traded three-and-outs, then the Patriots got the ball on their own 30 with 2:27 to go.
Morris gained 19 yards on the first play, but fumbled to teammate Nick Kaczur the next down after the two-minute warning. On second down, Brady was hit by Vonnie Holliday and lost the ball, with Elvis Dumervil coming up with it at the New England 45.
The Broncos failed to convert with Tully Banta-Cain bringing down Orton on 3rd-and-9 from the 44 with 15 seconds left for a six-yard loss. Following a punt, Brady took a knee to send the game to overtime.
Orton hit Marshall on the first play for 11 yards to the Broncos' 31, then connected with Royal for eight yards on 3rd-and-1 from the 48. Moreno followed with an 11-yard rush on first down to the Patriots 29. LaMont Jordan ran for two yards on 1st-and-10 then two incompletions and a five-yard offside penalty made it 3rd-and-3 from the 22. Orton's attempt in the end zone to Marshall was nearly picked off, and Prater was called on for a 41-yarder.
After a New England timeout, Prater split the uprights to close out the contest.
Prater pulled a 48-yard field goal wide right on Denver's opening possession, and New England turned that into the game's first touchdown.
Brady hit Welker for an eight-yard TD pass on the seventh play of the series, which was set up three plays earlier when Morris rumbled 35 yards on a screen pass to the Broncos' 15.
After hauling in an Orton pass, Moreno fumbled at his own 42. Brandon McGowan recovered at the 43, then a replay upheld the original call on the field after a Broncos challenge. Stephen Gostkowski nailed a career-best 53-yard field goal for a 10-0 contest to cap the set.
The Broncos finally got on track with 4:31 left in the half as Orton hit Marshall for an 11-yard score, but the Pats responded on a 74-yard drive ending on Watson's seven-yard TD catch with five seconds remaining to take a 17-7 lead to halftime.
Prater hit a 24-yarder to cap a 66-yard, 6 1/2 minute drive early in the third to bring Denver within 17-10, but the Patriots reached the Broncos' 22 on the ensuing drive. Gostkowski could have provided a 10-point edge to the visitors, but his 40-yard try was blown just wide of the left upright.
Denver has won 25 of the 41 all-time matchups, including 17 of 25 in the Mile High city, and five of the last seven overall against New England since 2001...Brady suffered his first career overtime loss, falling to 7-1...Broncos running back Correll Buckhalter was inactive for the contest...Patriots wide receiver Joey Galloway was also inactive as a healthy scratch.
10/11 21:49:52 ET