Beating the New England Patriots is always a good win, but doing it while they were defending Super Bowl champions and an undefeated 10-0 is even better. The Denver Broncos move to 9-2, just one game back in the hunt for AFC homefield advantage.
As mentioned, there are more game ball worthy players from Sunday's game than we have staffers available to give them. Definitely let us know who gets your game ball in the comments below.
What a game. What a win. What a team!
We missed you, CJ! What a statement game for CJ Anderson on the biggest regular season stage against the AFC's goliath and a very stout run defense. Anderson ran for 113 yards on 15 carries (7.5 ypc for those of you who don't math) with 2 TDs. He truly amazed me in how much lateral movement he was able to make on a snowy field. Jump steps in snow usually result in a guy falling on his hip, but not this cat. He always lands on his feet and his low center of gravity allowed him to have the burst and quickness needed to make defenders look silly in the open field...in overtime...to win the game with a walk off TD. Everything you want to see from a RB was there on display from CJ: power, burst, speed, quickness, elusiveness, blocking (big time blitz pick ups), and soft hands in the pass game. Broncos Country gives CJ a big time Mile High Salute for one hell of an impressive game of football played and I give you my game ball this week. - Sadaraine
Derek Wolfe was a monster last night with his six solo tackles, including two for a loss. But it was his sack late in the first quarter that helped set a tone for Tom Brady all night - the Broncos were coming for him...and eventually they'd get to No. 12. Since Wolfe has returned from his four-game suspension at the beginning of the season, he has been a major force in stopping the run game of Broncos' opponents as well as taking out the QB when the opportunity is there.
Also an honorable mention to Andre Caldwell who caught a clutch go-ahead touchdown pass with a minute to go. While our $70 million-dollar receiver was struggling all night (to say the least with a 1/13 production), Bubba's TD on a big drive was perhaps as impressive for the score as it was for who was catching it. Though Broncos Country has had little patience over the years with Caldwell, he earned his spot on the roster with that touchdown last night. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Von Miller was a force on Sunday Night Football. His relentlessness finally paid off with two huge penalties called against guys he was rushing against. The penalties sent Tom Brady ballistic, but they were penalties that have been long overdue for a guy who has been held, tackled and cut by opposing lineman all season long with no yellow flags thrown in punishment.
Those calls finally forced the offensive line to play Miller straight up, which gave Miller the biggest defensive play of the game on second down in overtime. After the third down mayhem that almost resulted in a second straight sack, the Patriots would punt the ball away, setting Brock Osweiler and the Broncos reborn rushing attack up with the chance they needed to win the football game. And win they did.
In what was a total team win, Broncos fans have finally seen just how good this team can be when totally balanced on both sides of the ball. - Tim Lynch
Darian Stewart quietly the actual Broncos defensive most valuable player this season. Stewart is the only new starter in an entire scheme and philosophy that have changed, as we head into week 13 leads the NFL in total defense (making them the best defense in yards per game (285.8, the next closest team are the Carolina Panthers at 312.5)) and passing defense while tying for 2nd best with the Carolina Panthers in run defense. The team had all of the pieces except for one and whether it is rallying the secondary, leading by example or making a play that wins the game Stewart is that guy. With T.J. Ward out with a high ankle sprain Stewart was left to quarterback the secondary and he turned in his best game of the season (4 tackles and 3 pass defenses). - Ian Henson
The stat line says.... you know what? Who cares about the stat line. Our QB kicked your QB in the ding ding. I mean, that's all I can assume happened with how much crying I saw out of Tom Bra*y (sorry, but he has no D). Here we go, we know the stats. A QB making their first or second career start is 1-8 against the Pats. The all time Pats record for 4th Q leads is 146-7. Vegas said the Patriots were 6 points better than Denver (3pt spread, but home field is 3 pts). Football "experts" said that Brady was going to curb stomp the Broncos. But our team apparently didn't get that message. The Pats are now 8-2 against 2nd start QBs and they are 146-8 when leading. Our quarterback out dueled Tom Brady.
Our QB threw for 270 yards and a TD. His pick? Yeah, that was a pop fly batted ball that hung in the air so long, I'm amazed our very own Kyle Montgomery didn't have time to get out of his seat, jump out of the stands, run through security, and catch that interception. What I'm trying to say is that unlike earlier in the season, that interception was truly a "fluky" play.
So how did Brock progress? Is he growing as a player? You betcha! He's already cleaned up his sack issue and his decision making. He's making check downs, audibles, and changing plays. Not only that, he's beating the blitz consistently and for good chunks of yardage. His stats against the blitz is 6-10 for 117 and a TD. Holy moly, those are Brady and Manning numbers! He was also 5-7 for 52 yards on play action. That means playing under center with effective bootlegs is keeping the defense honest and biting on the improved running game (again, the run game got instantly better the second defenses had to actually respect the vertical pass and potential to run).
What does this all add up to? It adds up to Brock having stones! He has ice in his veins. I think as we all need to take a moment and realize that young QB play like this, and on this talented of a team, isn't common. Lets all start taking it all in and really enjoy watching our team take the field and play. In the 4th Quarter, I turned to my wife and said "Am I an idiot for beginning to have faith that Brock will bring us back and we get the win? Am I setting myself up for hurt?" well, we all know the answer to that. Brock, you beat the Patriots and you get my game ball. You've earned the starting spot for the rest of the season. - Pete Baron
Emmanuel (He-Mannuel) Sanders gets my game ball. In a game where Demaryius Thomas almost failed to show up, ES balled out. He led the team with 6 catches on 9 targets and three of those catches were huge. The first was the catch for 16 on 3rd and 10 where he got lit up by Chung after the catch. He knew he was going to get hit, but he made the catch anyway. That's balling. His catch extended the drive that should have ended in points (missed FG). The second was the catch for 17 yards on 3rd and 6. Again this catch extended the drive and on this drive we would score the TD to cut the lead to 21-14. The third was the big catch to set up the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth. That catch for 39 yards was a thing of beauty. The ball was almost perfectly thrown by Brock and that's not an easy thing to do in the snow and cold with game-on-the-line pressure. - Joe Mahoney
Broncos Country represented Sunday night. I already wrote at-length of how impressive Mile High was on Sunday, but Denver's crowd deserves Game Ball recognition for the impact they had on the game. Way to go, Broncos fam. - Kyle Montgomery
Who gets your game ball, Broncos Country?