Final Score: Patriots 43, Broncos 21 (Updated)

Last updated: Nov 3, 2014 8:56 AM

Special teams mistakes, interceptions, and penalties doomed the Broncos (6-2) in a 43-21 (Game Book) beating at the hands of the host Patriots (7-2).

Peyton Manning threw a pair of touchdowns passes, but each of his two interceptions led to a short touchdown drive for New England.

Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes, while his one pick occurred with the Pats already ahead by 20 points.

The Broncos allowed a punt return touchdown, missed a field goal attempt, and committed ten penalties.

And while Denver outgained New England 472-398, they lost the field position battle in a big way.

Excepting their kneeldown before halftime, the Broncos' average start on 13 possessions was their own 22.4-yard line.

In sharp contrast, the Pats' average start was their 41.9-yard line, including the PR score (it was still the 37.4-yard line without it).

On third and fourth downs, Denver was a pathetic 3/15, while New England was a far superior 7/16.

Denver is now 1-5 against New England during the John Fox era, including 1-3 with Manning at quarterback.

As with the rest of those losses, the Broncos were sloppy and flat, while the Patriots were crisper and appeared more prepared in every regard.

Of course, four of those losses have taken place at Foxboro, and Denver's lone win came at home in last year's AFC title match.

The teams' meetings over the next three regular seasons will take place in Denver, if they continue to match finishes within their divisions.

But if they're to meet in this year's playoffs, then the Broncos will be going back to their familiar stomped grounds, unless they can overtake the Pats in overall record.

Denver lost the early field position battle, as Britton Colquitt’s second punt traveled just 35 yards into the wind, and Kayvon Webster was penalized 15 yards for interfering with the returner.

The Broncos defense held the Pats to just eight yards though, and New England took a 3-0 lead on Stephen Gostkowski’s 49-yarder.

After a pair of mostly cautious possessions, Manning started chucking on the third, leading Denver to an 80-yard touchdown drive in relatively short order.

Peyton threw on eight of ten snaps, including a key PI call on Brandon Browner that put the ball at the Pats one-yard line.

Ronnie Hillman walked in around left end on the next play, for the easiest of his five career touchdowns, and a 7-3 Denver lead (video).

New England came right back with a 12-play march, but Brandon LaFell was unable to hold onto Tom Brady’s third down pass in the back of the end zone, and the Pats settled for a 29-yarder to make it 7-6.

Manning hit Wes Welker for a 14-yard pass on first down, but was intercepted a play later by Rob Ninkovich, who set the Pats up at the Denver 34 (video). It was Denver’s first giveaway since Arizona picked Manning off twice in Week 5.

Emmanuel Sanders was shaken on the tackle of Ninkovich, but would return on Denver’s next drive.

New England made short work of the short field, and Brady hit Julian Edelman for a five-yard score to pull ahead 13-7 (video).

Two penalties against the penalty-prone Broncos thwarted whatever chance they had of responding, and the highest paid punter in the NFL bobbled the ball as he went to punt it away.

Colquitt recovered well enough to blast a 53-yarder with the wind, but by then, his coverage was out of place, and Edelman took it back 84 yards for a 20-7 Patriots lead (GIF).

A few long completions to Sanders moved Denver as far as the New England 23, but three incompletions followed. Brandon McManus continued the special teams disaster by clanging his 41-yard attempt off the right upright.

After the defense forced a three-and-out, Denver then made it to the Pats 34, but Manning was sacked by Akeem Ayers on 4th-and-6 (video).

One has to wonder whether McManus’s miss from 41 prompted Fox to eschew a 52-yard attempt there.

That gave New England the ball at their own 43, and they covered the remaining 57 yards in nine plays, with Brady connecting with Shane Vereen for a five-yard touchdown (video).

The Pats took a 27-7 lead into halftime, buoyed by an average starting field position of the 50.4-yard line, to Denver’s 21.

A touchback by McManus on the second-half kickoff handed New England their worst field position, and an interception by Bradley Roby at the Denver 43 gave the Broncos their best to that point.

Manning threw incomplete on first down, but his next four throws landed in the right hands, including Julius Thomas's on an 18-yard touchdown to draw within 27-14 (video).

But New England came right back with a 12-yard, 53-yard drive, and Gostkowski was pure from 45.

On 1st-and-10 from the 20, Manning's pass was a touch behind Wes Welker, and the ball bounced off his chest (GIF). Browner took the interception back 30 yards to the Denver 10, and Brady did the rest with a throw to LaFell for a 37-14 lead (video).

Four ensuing Patriots penalties helped Denver to a 72-yard scoring drive, and Hillman took a pass from Manning for a 15-yard touchdown to make it 37-21 (video).

New England came back with a clock-killing and soul-crushing 14-play, 80-yard drive, converting three third downs along the way.

Rob Gronkowski caught the simplest of one-yard passes from Brady (video), and a failed two-point attempt left it 43-21.

In their attempts to make a game of it in the fourth quarter, Denver turned the ball over on downs on their next three possessions.

The Broncos now have just a one-game lead over the Chiefs, whom they beat in Week 2 and will visit in Week 13.

Denver travels to face the 0-8 Raiders next Sunday, while New England has a bye before heading to Indy in Week 11.


Videos: Highlights from BTV and NFLN; John Fox and Peyton Manning (Part 1, Part 2) speak after the game

In his postgame comments, Manning claimed much of the blame for himself

Denver recaps: Troy Renck, Mike Klis, Paul KleeAndrew Mason (three keys), Jeff Legwold, Mark Kiszla, Woody Paige

New England recaps: Jeff Howe, Erik Frenz, Jeremy GottliebMike Reiss

National recaps: Chris Wesseling, Jarrett BellDon BanksAPPFT, Shutdown Corner, NYT

Legwold says the Broncos seem to always let their mistakes pile up at Foxboro

Making matters worse, this was the game during which Tom Brady passed John Elway on the all-time passing yardage list.

Dan Wetzel thinks a healthy Rob Gronkowski is New England's key to taking down Denver and getting back to the Super Bowl.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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