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With Peyton Manning injured, Brock Osweiler, making his second start of the season, faced the challenge of trying to pin the season’s first loss on the New England Patriots. The young quarterback made a couple of crucial errors early, but recovered late in the game to lead Denver to a 30-24 overtime victory over the defending Super Bowl champions.
Denver’s C.J. Anderson ran 48 yards for the game’s final score, capping a 113 yard rushing performance.
New England may have suffered its most serious injury of the season when Rob Gronkowski was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a knee injury.
New England came to Denver with a number of key pieces missing from their formidable offensive arsenal; it didn’t faze them at all.
New England stuffed the Broncos on the game’s opening possession forcing Denver into a poor punt, which gave the Patriots the ball on the Bronco’s side of the 50-yard line.
Brady wasted little time in leading the Patriots on a four-play scoring drive giving the Patriots a 7-0 lead five minutes into the game. Gronkowski caught the touchdown pass from Brady.
Following another three-and-out by the Bronco offense the defense stepped up and forced two Brady incomplete passes and got the ball back.
Denver mixed the run and pass very effectively in their third possession driving the ball to the Patriots’ 31-yard line. Facing a fourth and inches quarterback Brock Osweiler dove across the line for a first down. From there the young quarterback took an ill-advised sack, putting the Broncos out of field goal range. The 12 play drive resulted in no points for Denver.
Osweiler committed the games first turnover on a batted ball interception at the Denver 15 yard line.
Brady again wasted little time throwing a TD pass to tight end Scott Chandler to give New England a 14-0 advantage with 10:45 in the second quarter.
Denver mounted a 10-play, 77 yard drive that resulted in a Ronnie Hillman 19-yard touchdown run that cut the Patriots lead to 14-7. Osweiler completed three-of-three passes for 33 yards in the drive.
Denver missed a 48-yard field goal attempt at the 7:08 mark of the third quarter giving the Patriots the ball at the 30 yard line.
New England took a 21-7 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 63 yard pass from Brady to Brandon Bolden.
A Chris Harper muffed punt, recovered by the Broncos at the Patriots 36-yard line, set up a 15-yard touchdown run by C.J. Anderson, cutting the lead to 21-14.
After another New England punt Denver used nine plays to march to the Patriots three yard line before they settled for a field goal and a 21-17 deficit.
The final five minutes of regulation moved at a frenetic pace. Denver took a 24-17 lead with 1:09 on the clock after Osweiler led them on a five play, 83-yard march that ended in a 15-yard TD toss to Andre Caldwell.
The 24-21 lead was the Broncos’ first of the game. It didn’t last long.
Brady needed five plays to put the Pat’s in position for Stephen Gostkowski’s 47 yard field goal which sent the game to overtime tied at 24.
Denver forced another New England punt on the overtime’s first possession before they’re drive to victory.
On the third play of the possession C.J. Anderson broke away from the Denver defense to score the game winning touchdown and end the Patriots undefeated season.
Osweiler calmed down and finished the game with 254 yards passing on23 of 45 completions; he had one interception and one touchdown.
The win puts Denver one game behind New England for the best record in the AFC, the Broncos are tied with the Bengals but own the tie breaker with New England.
The other big question in Denver is what will happen when Manning is healthy enough to return?