Patriots manhandle Broncos for their fifth straight win

Denver CO 11/10/17 New England Patriots Rex Burkhead (34) is swarmed by teammates Nate Ebner and Jordan Richards (37) after he blocked a Denver Broncos punt during second quarter action at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium . (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff) topic reporter:
Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Rex Burkhead (34) scored a touchdown and blocked a punt in the Patriots’ win.

It was a resounding, complete victory for the Patriots.

On the first leg of a road trip that will span two games and 10 days, New England manhandled the Denver Broncos from the start and eventually captured a 41-16 victory at Sports Authority Field on Sunday night. It was the Patriots’ fifth straight win, which moved them to 7-2 on the season, and their 12th consecutive road win.

The Patriots got their scoring fest started by pouncing on a muffed punt by Isaiah McKenzie and finding the end zone two plays later on a 14-yard pass from Tom Brady to Rex Burkhead.


After forcing the Broncos to settle for a field goal on their first possession, Dion Lewis returned the ensuing kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown. Another special teams miscue by the Broncos, but certainly not the last as Burkhead blocked a second-quarter punt that led to a Patriots’ field goal.

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Brady and the offense moved the ball well, finishing with nearly 400 yards as Brady completed 25 passes to nine different receivers for 266 yards, three touchdowns, and a 125.4 rating. The offensive line kept the Broncos’ pass rush largely at bay, giving up just one sack and four quarterback hits. The offense also scored on seven straight drives in the contest, the first team in the last two seasons to achieve that feat.

“I think they were locked in all week,” Brady said of the offensive line. “They came ready to play and they did, they did a great job, both in the run game and the pass game.”

This was the first time the Patriots won in Denver in consecutive years since 1964-66. It was also Brady’s 86th road victory, breaking a tie with Peyton Manning for most all-time. The win was Bill Belichick’s 270th, tying him with Tom Landry for third-most all-time.

The Patriots will spend the upcoming week practicing at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs before facing the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City in a week.

Here is the box score.

Here is the play-by-play.

Chung with the interception


Brock Osweiler was intercepted by safety Patrick Chung, who returned it 30 yards to the Denver 32-yard line.

It was Chung’s first interception of the season and the 10th of his career.

4th quarter: Patriots 41, Broncos 16

The Patriots used their longest drive of the game — 94 yards — to punctuate a resounding performance against the Broncos.

Tom Brady completed a 6-yard pass to James White for the touchdown.

Brady has distributed his 25 completions to nine different receivers for 266 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 132.6 rating.

Umpire gets carted off


DENVER — The officiating crew for Patriots-Broncos finished the game down a man after umpire Jeff Rice was injured in the third quarter Sunday. Rice was flipped up in the air and fell on his back and head after he collided with Patriots linebacker Trevor Reilly on a play.

It appeared that the fall knocked Rice unconscious, and he lay motionless on the field while Reilly picked up his hand, checked on his pulse and motioned for help.

Rice came to and was talking, even laughing for a moment, as the medical staff brought out the cart to take him off the field. He looked wobbly and disoriented, but he stood to get on the cart and acknowledged Reilly, who came back over to check on him before he left the field.

— Nora Princiotti, Globe Staff

3rd quarter: Patriots 34, Broncos 16

It didn’t take long. New England responded to Denver’s first touchdown of the game with a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive of their own. Dion Lewis used an 8-yard run up the middle to get into the end zone.

The Patriots have scored on six straight drives.

3rd quarter: Patriots 27, Broncos 16

Finally, the Broncos converted a red zone trip into a touchdown.

Brock Osweiler hit Demaryius Thomas for a 7-yard score that capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive.


Some stats at the break:

Total yards: NE 184, DEN 189

Total plays: NE 31, DEN 31

Yards per play: NE 5.9, DEN 6.1

Third down: NE 1 for 5, DEN 4 for 8

Red zone: NE 2 for 4, DEN 0 for 2

First downs: NE 14, DEN 8

Time of possession: NE 13:21, DEN 16:39

Tom Brady: 12-of-16 passing, 136 yards, 139.6 rating

Brock Osweiler: 9-of-15 passing, 128 yards, 87.6 rating

NE receiving: Rob Gronkowski 2 catches on 4 targets, 34 yards; Martellus Bennett 2 catches on 2 targets, 32 yards; Rex Burkhead 3 catches on 3 targets, 27 yards, TD; Dwayne Allen 1 catch on 2 targets, 11 yards, TD; Phillip Dorsett 1 catch on 1 target, 11 yards; James White 1 catch on 1 target, 8 yards; Danny Amendola 1 catch on 1 target, 6 yards; Brandin Cooks 1 catch on 2 targets, 7 yards.

DEN receiving: Emmanuel Sanders 5 catches on 7 targets, 114 yards; Demaryius Thomas 2 catches on 4 targets, 11 yards; A.J. Derby 1 catch on 1 target, 2 yards; C.J. Anderson 1 catch on 1 target, 1 yard.

2nd quarter: Patriots 27, Broncos 9

Make that 1 for 8.

Tom Brady finally connected with tight end Dwayne Allen to score an 11-yard touchdown just before halftime. It was the first time Brady completed a pass to Allen this season, going 0 for 7 prior to the touchdown.

Slater leaves the game

Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater is doubtful to return with a hamstring injury. Midway through the third quarter, Slater was downgraded to out. He changed out of his uniform, put on street clothes, and rejoined his teammates on the sideline.

2nd quarter: Patriots 20, Broncos 9

More red zone struggles forced Denver to settle for a 36-yard by Brandon McManus after going 63 yards in 12 plays.

The Broncos are now 0 for 2 in the red zone. Through this point, the Broncos are outgaining the Patriots, 190-114, and hold a 16:14 to 11:10 edge in time of possession. Mistakes by their special teams units have sunk them thus far.

2nd quarter: Patriots 20, Broncos 6

The Patriots turned another Broncos’ special teams miscue into three points.

Stephen Gostkowski booted through a 28-yard field goal to extend the Patriots lead.

Two plays after Rex Burkhead’s blocked punt gave the ball back to the Patriots, Tom Brady targeted Rob Gronkowski down the middle. Officials ruled the pass incomplete, and Bill Belichick threw the challenge flag. After the review, the call of an imcomplete pass was upheld, and New England went on to kick the field goal.

New England has made three trips to the red zone so far and has converted just one into a touchdown, kicking field goals the other two trips.

Another special teams turnover

Talk about filling out the stat sheet.

Running back Rex Burkhead, who scored on a pass from Tom Brady in the first quarter, blocked a Riley Dixon punt to give New England the ball at the Denver 30-yard line.

It was the first blocked punt by the Patriots since Brandon Bolden came up with one against the Chargers in 2014.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

2nd quarter: Patriots 17, Broncos 6

The Patriots marched 68 yards in 14 plays, but struggled in the red zone.

After a defensive pass interference call gave the Patriots a new set of downs and moved them from the 5-yard line to the 2-yard line, Rex Burkhead gained 1 yard on first down, Tom Brady and Dwayne Allen couldn’t connect on second down, and Brady was sacked on third down for a 6-yard loss.

Stephen Gostkowski made a 25-yard field goal to extend the Patriots’ lead.

Brady is now 0-for-7 passing when targeting Allen this season.

1st quarter: Patriots 14, Broncos 6

Another Denver drive stalled deep in New England territory.

On the Broncos’ second possession, they drove 64 yards in eight plays to the Patriots’ 15-yard line. But back-to-back incomplete passes set up Brandon McManus for his second field goal make, this one from 33 yards.

1st quarter: Patriots 14, Broncos 3

On the ensuing kickoff after the Broncos’ field goal, Dion Lewis burned the field to return it 103 yards for a touchdown.

Now, special teams has forced a turnover that led to a touchdown and produced a touchdown.

The Patriots have 29 yards of total offense.

1st quarter: Patriots 7, Broncos 3

Denver drove 58 yards in eight plays on its first possession, but stalled at the New England 21-yard line. Brock Osweiler threw behind Demaryius Thomas on third and 2, allowing Stephon Gilmore to break up the pass.

Brandon McManus made a 39-yard field goal to get the Broncos on the board.

1st quarter: Patriots 7, Broncos 0

After forcing the Patriots into a three-and-out, the Broncos coughed up the ball on a punt return, leading to New England’s first score of the game.

Ryan Allen booted it 46 yards to return man Isaiah McKenzie, who muffed it with help from Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones. Jacob Hollister recovered it.

Jonathan Jones prevents Isaiah McKenzie from recovering his fumbled punt.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
Jonathan Jones prevents Isaiah McKenzie from recovering his fumbled punt.

Brandon King slaps teammate Jacob Hollister on the helmet after Hollister recovered the fumble.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
Brandon King slaps teammate Jacob Hollister on the helmet after Hollister recovered the fumble.

The Patriots took over at the Denver 24-yard line and scored two plays later on a 14-yard pass from Tom Brady to Rex Burkhead on a slant route.

It was Burkhead’s second receiving touchdown of the season and third of his career. It was Brady’s 17th touchdown pass of the year.

Coin toss

The Patriots called heads. The coin turned up tails. The Broncos deferred. The Patriots will receive the ball to open the game.

Warming it up

A few photos from warmups at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium:

Tom Brady yells to fans as he arrives onto the field.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Tom Brady yells to fans as he arrives onto the field.
Rob Gronkowski runs onto the field prior to kickoff.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Rob Gronkowski runs onto the field prior to kickoff.

Drew Bledsoe (left) talks to Brady before the game.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
Drew Bledsoe (left) talks to Brady before the game.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
Cornerback Johnson Bademosi takes a selfie with Cristal Enriquez, from Alamosa, Colo., while on the field for warmups.

Receiver Danny Amendola tosses a ball during warmups.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
Receiver Danny Amendola tosses a ball during warmups.

Cornerback Malcolm Butler makes a catch as he warms up.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
Cornerback Malcolm Butler makes a catch as he warms up.

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Marty B active in the Mile High

DENVER — Martellus Bennett wasn’t sure if he’d play another game as a Packer, but he’ll at least suit up for one as a Patriot.

The tight end was listed on the active roster for New England’s Sunday night game against the Broncos in Denver, just four days after the Patriots claimed him off waivers. The shoulder injury that had him considering retirement is apparently healthy enough to play.

Bennett was cut by the Packers on Wednesday with the designation that he’d failed to report a medical condition. Bennett is suffering from a torn rotator cuff, according to the NFL Network, and wrote on Instagram earlier this week that he had been considering season-ending surgery.

Bennett was highly critical of the Packers medical staff in his social media posts. After Bennett claimed team physician Dr. Patrick McKenzie pushed him to play through pain in his shoulder, multiple Packers players, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, rushed to the notoriously conservative doctor’s defense.

Bennett running onto the field in Denver prior to kickoff.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
Bennett running onto the field in Denver prior to kickoff.

Bennett had already been ruled out of the Packers-Bears game early in the week while he was still in Green Bay, but was at practice with the Patriots Friday and listed as limited on that day’s injury report. The Patriots had him listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

That sequence of events led to speculation that Bennett, who won a Super Bowl on a one-year deal in New England last season, was willing to play through pain for a contender but not for the flailing Packers, who lost Rodgers for the season.

The Packers are reportedly planning to try and get back some or all of Bennett’s signing bonus by claiming he wasn’t forthcoming about the extent to which his shoulder was damaged when they signed him in March.

Whatever Bennett’s role in his departure from Green Bay, the Patriots are surely pleased with the addition. Bennett was a valuable contributor who played all 19 games, despite multiple injuries, in 2016 and filled in well for Rob Gronkowski when the team’s primary tight end was injured.

— Nora Princiotti, Globe Staff

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For the Patriots, running back Mike Gillislee, receiver Chris Hogan, defensive lineman Malcom Brown, cornerback Eric Rowe, offensive linemen Cole Croston and Marcus Cannon, and defensive end Cassius Marsh.

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore is active after having not played since Week 5. Rowe is out for his fifth straight game. Tight end Martellus Bennett is active.

For the Broncos, quarterback Paxton Lynch, running back De’Angelo Henderson, defensive back Lorenzo Doss, linebackers Joseph Jones and DeMarcus Walker, offensive lineman Donald Stephenson, and receiver Jordan Taylor.

Receiver Emanuel Sanders is active after being listed on the injurt report as questionable with an ankle injury. He fully participated in practice Thursday and Friday after being limited on Wednesday.

Welcome to Gameday

It’s Week 10 and the Patriots are on the first leg of a 10-day road trip that spans two games, three different places, and two countries.

New England squares off against Denver at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday night, and aims to extend its winning streak to five games. Meanwhile, the Broncos are on a four-game losing streak after a 3-1 start to the season.

Follow along here as we update this post throughout the game.

And we’ll have a feed of Globe reporter tweets and the Globe sports Instagram posts during the game.

Here is Jim McBride’s thorough scouting report, which includes keys to victory and players to watch.

Game details:

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: NBC / WBZ 98.5.

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A few notes on the Patriots

■ Receiver Chris Hogan, who hurt his right shoulder during the team’s Week 8 game against the Chargers, was ruled out of Sunday night’s contest along with defensive tackle Malcom Brown and right tackle Marcus Cannon, both dealing with ankle injuries.

Without Hogan, quarterback Tom Brady will have to rely largely on tight end Rob Gronkowski, receiver Brandin Cooks, and the team’s stable of running backs. Hogan had been the Patriots’ best wide receiver in the red zone, an area in which New England needs to improve.

— Nora Princiotti, Globe Staff

■ LaAdrian Waddle has spent a lot of time watching his Patriots teammates over the last two-plus seasons.

The sturdy swing tackle often has been the odd man out — caught in a depth-chart numbers game behind established veterans Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, and Marcus Cannon — and winding up on the game-day inactive list.

That won’t be the case Sunday night in Denver when the 6-foot-6-inch, 315-pounder figures to be among the more active Patriots as he steps in at right tackle for Cannon, who is out with an ankle injury. Waddle will be butting heads with Broncos pass rusher extraordinaire Von Miller in what the fifth-year veteran last week called a “hell of a challenge.”

Read more about Waddle here.

■ The Patriots are 27-18 overall on “Sunday Night Football” and are 8-2 in their last 10. They lost their last “SNF” game in Denver in 2015, 30-24, in the snow in overtime.

■ Tom Brady is 18-10 on SNF, including a 23-7 victory over the Falcons in the Fog Bowl last month.

■ Since 1984, the Patriots lead the NFL with 359 overall victories with the Broncos right behind with 346.

■ The Broncos are 30-22 overall against the Patriots, which includes a 21-10 mark in the Mile High City.

■ Did you know that in Bill Belichick’s first two wins in Denver he took intentional safeties in both games (Oct. 1, 2000 and Nov. 3, 2003)?

Jim McBride, Globe Staff

For your listening

Michele Tafoya, the sideline reporter for NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcasts, discusses the NFL season, the Patriots-Broncos game, and what being a sideline reporter entails.

Globe reporter tweets

Follow Rachel G. Bowers on Twitter @RachelGBowers.