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Broncos vs Patriots: Blast from the past

Looking at the best and worst games versus each of Denver's 2014 opponents. This week: the 6-2 New England Patriots.

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Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Week 9 sees us starting the second half of the 2014 NFL season with another in a series of short articles which will hold up up what I see as Denver's best (and worst) game against each of the Broncos' 2014 opponents. Feel free to disagree with my choices and share your own views in the comments section. Let's lift up Denver's great (and "bummer") moments to keep the history, traditions and rivalries stoked. It should be noted that in many cases the choice was made based upon the final margin of victory (or defeat).

Denver vs the New England Patriots

Best Game: November 11, 1979

Score: Denver 45, New England 10

What makes this game great: This was a game that could be described in a single word: domination. The Broncos overpowered the Patriots in nearly every way possible -- First downs 21-8, Yards 289-92, etc. Denver scored six touchdowns in the game -- 2 by passing, 2 by rushing, 2 from returns (one was from a Patriots' fumble, the other followed a blocked punt attempt). Denver put up 24 points in the first quarter alone. Tom Jackson forced a fumble on the Patriots' opening drive and Reuben Carter recovered it and returned it for the touchdown. Jim Turner added a field goal following a New England punt. A second forced fumble gave the Broncos the ball at the Patriots 2-yard line. One play later, Denver led 17-0. Another New England punt was followed by a Denver touchdown drive and a 24-0 first quarter lead. The Broncos outscored the Patriots 14-7 in the second quarter then simply held on to win 45-10.

Worst Game: January 14, 2011

Score: New England 45, Denver 10

What makes this game horrible: This was a game that could be described in a single word: domination. Worse yet, it came in an AFC Divisional playoff game. The Broncos had entered the game riding high on the Tebow magic. They had watched Tebow lead them on a 6-game winning streak that gave the Broncos an 8-5 record. A loss to New England (41-23) had dampened that euphoria as it started a 3-game losing streak to close out the regular season. Still, the Broncos won their division at 8-8-0, then defeated Pittsburgh on the first play from scrimmage in an overtime period in the Wild Card round. They went to New England believing they could win. The Patriots, unfortunately, brought Denver crashing back to earth as New England amassed over 500 yards from scrimmage, scored six touchdowns and sacked Tebow five times. The Patriots led 14-0 after one quarter and 35-7 at the half. Denver's eight first half possessions led to a fumble, a touchdown, then four straight punts and closed out the half with a kneel-down. By way of comparison, New England's eight first half drives resulted in five touchdowns, two punts and one interception.

This is another rivalry that stretches back to the beginning of the American Football League but which has become more sharply focused during the Tom Brady era -- more specifically in the seasons of 2011 (they beat the Broncos in the regular season then again in the playoffs), 2012 and 2013. Denver's 26-16 defeat of the Patriots in the 2013 playoffs brought a measure of revenge, but the Broncos and their fans would like to see their team make a statement that says "We will not be denied!."

Go Broncos!!!!!!

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