Patriots suffer first loss on season
The New England Patriots are undefeated no more as they fell to Denver Broncos Sunday night in overtime by a score of 30-24.
It was a heart wrenching loss, and Tom Brady would agree. During his weekly Monday morning radio interview with WEEI he stated, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so pissed after a loss.”
People all over New England can relate. It shouldn’t hurt this much because when it comes down to it the Patriots are still 10-1 and sit atop of the AFC. However, the Patriots outplayed the Broncos in this game, but made some key mental mistake that lost them the game.
If you didn’t tune in until the fourth quarter, you did not miss much. Here is a brief summary of the first 45 minutes of the game.
The Patriots came out firing, and stopped the Broncos on the opening series and then managed to find Rob Gronkowski who stumbled his way into the end zone four plays into their first offensive series. The defense’s then exchanged blows until Jabaal Sheard came up with a big strip sack of Brock Osweiler batting the ball into the air, then like a power forward going up for a rebound Chandler Jones came down with the ball. Scott Chandler soon there after caught a bullet from Tom Brady in the corner of the end zone.
Towards the end of the first half Ronnie Hillman broke free for a 19-yard touchdown that got Denver on the board. The Patriots played it conservative at the end of the half and went into the break up 14-7.
The third quarter was simply a rock fight between the two defenses, and the score remained the same going into the fourth quarter. The Patriots offense struggled after their hot start to get anything going, and they were desperate for a big play. They got that big play on the first play of the fourth quarter when Tom Brady hit Brandon Bolden down the side line, he broke a tackle and was gone 63 yards for a touchdown putting the Patriots up 21-7.
The defense then answered and smacked Brock Osweiler in the mouth, forcing the Denver offense to go three and out. The Patriots offense was set to get the ball back with good field position with a chance to go up by three possessions. However, in very un-Patriot like fashion they let the game unravel. On the ensuing punt return, undrafted rookie Chris Harper opted not to call for a fair catch and it resulted in him muffing the punt, allowing Denver to recover. Four plays later CJ Anderson was in the end zone.
After the Patriots offense stalled, Denver took the ball right back down the field. Nevertheless, the Patriots defense came up with the stop inside the ten-yard line holding the Broncos offense to just three points. The Patriots had the ball with just under five minutes left, with the chance to put the game away with a scoring drive. On a key third down and five play, Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski open for the first down. However, the play was called back due to an egregious offensive pass interference call on Gronkowski. Faced with a third and fifteen the Patriots had to punt. The Patriots defense then came up with another great stop, and got the ball back with four minutes left with Denver only having one time out. On the second play of the drive Rob Gronkowski’s leg was swiped and it looked like 2013 all over again as he was carted off the field. Although, it has been reported by Ian Rapapport of the NFL Network that he may not even miss a game. There is always the next man up mentality in football, but after Rob Gronkowski was carted off, there was a clear emotional toll that was taken on the Patriots.
Sounds like #Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) is unlikely to miss more than one game, I’m told. In fact, he may not even miss that.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 30, 2015
The Patriots punted away to the Broncos, and Denver got the ball back at the New England 47 with 2:31 left in the game. After a droped Patrick Chung interception, Brock Osweiler hit Emmanuel Sanders 39 yards down the side line, the Broncos were in position to take the lead for the first time. The Patriots continued to make big plays however. Alan Branch made a huge sack putting the Broncos in a third and goal situation at the 19. Again though the referees had to play a factor as they called an absolutely atrocious holding call on Patrick Chung in the end zone, setting up Denver with first and goal at the four. That call essentially ended up costing the Patriots the game. The chances of Denver converting of third and goal from the 19 would have been very slim. On first and goal from the Patriots four, Brock found Andre Caldwell in the end zone to put Denver up 24-21 with 1:09 left in regulation.
The game seemed all but over for the Patriots. They forgot the fact that Tom Brady and Stephen Gostkowski have ice water in their veins. In five plays Tom Brady took the offense 51 yards down the field and put Stephen Gostkowski in position to tie the game with a 47-yard field goal, and in typical Gostkowski fashion he nailed it.
The lack of targets for Tom Brady on offense appeared to be evident in overtime as they looked lost when they received the ball to start overtime. On the third play of the Broncos first overtime possession, CJ Anderson broke free for a 48-yard walk off touchdown, ending the Patriots hope of an undefeated season.
In the end, the end of this game was extremely uncharacteristic for a Bill Belichick coached team. They were up by 14 points twice in the game, including the fourth quarter, and still managed to give it up. The defense has come through in every spot this year, but this time around the injuries in the line backing were too much to overcome.
If you are looking for positives out of this game, you can take the fact that both Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower don’t appear to have serious injuries.
Bill Belichick said of his team’s effort after the game; “I was really proud of the way our team fought tonight. I thought we gave tremendous effort and played really hard.”
The Patriots were down just about every significant player besides Tom Brady and they still only beat themselves. When it comes down to it, things have gone the Patriots way in game for the most part this year. In Denver that is never the case. In the Belichick-Brady era the Patriots are 2-6 at mile high. It will always be their house of horrors, and they need to make sure they can’t go there in January.
For now, it’s on to Philadelphia.