Broncos dominated most of game in building 18-3 lead, then held on. Denver D forced three turnovers as Pats coach Belichick bemoans lack of practice.
Sorry, guys. Practice does matter. It is important.
Exhibit A: The Broncos-Patriots game Sunday at empty Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
With no fans in the stands, the Broncos looked sharp for three quarters, then held on for an 18-12 win against the heavily favored but error-filled Patriots. Broncos placekicker Brandon McManus continued his career-best season by making 6 of 6 field goals, including one from 52 yards with 19 seconds left in the half and 54 yards with 37 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
It was McManus’ NFL-record sixth game with multiple 50-yard-plus field goals.
“This was definitely a special one,” McManus said when asked if it was best-ever game. “Especially for me coming back here — it’s been seven years since I came back in 2014. This kind of started the run, I guess, when the Broncos cut me. I hit a 41-yarder off the right upright, then a week or two later after the Dolphins game they ended up cutting me. This place is special for me to kind of come back and perform like that. It’s always difficult to kick here in a stadium like this.”
The Patriots entered the game as 9-point favorites but it was the Broncos who were up 9 at the intermission. And the Broncos were up 18-3 early in the fourth quarter before the Patriots’ Cam Newton finally put together a touchdown drive with a long completion, long run, and 1-yard scoring plunge-and-reach.
Broncos quarterback Drew Lock was then intercepted on back-to-back pass attempts in the fourth quarter. The first led to a Patriot field goal that closed the gap to within 6 points.
The second led to the Patriots turning the ball over on downs at the Broncos’ 24 with 1 minute remaining.
“Very, very anxious,” Lock said after his second pick that came on a deep pass attempt into double coverage on first down. “That’s our offense, though. We’re going to take shots. The first one was 100% on me. … If I just throw it the way I’ve been throwing it the whole game … it would have been fine. Wouldn’t have been able to throw the second pick. Possibly scored, get other field goal. I would have been sipping Gatorade on the sidelines instead of biting my nails.”