The Denver Broncos came out to play their first game in 17 days like a team who was very ready for it. The offense was great between the 20s early, and the defense forced turnovers as they built an 18-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
A game was made of it late as the New England Patriots scored the game’s first touchdown midway through the final quarter. Interceptions on back-to-back throws by Drew Lock breathed life into the Patriots offense, letting Cam Newton lead the first drive to a field goal. With less than two minutes to go, the Patriots needed to drive 37 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
It was here where Denver’s defense secured the win. A sack by Malik Reed forced a long third down that Denver would hold for the 18-12 win.
The Broncos received the ball to open up the game, and Drew Lock wasted no time going deep to Tim Patrick on the second play of the game. The gain was for 41 yards and set Denver up in scoring position.
The drive would stall, but it gave Denver an early 3-0 lead on the road.
The Broncos defense would do its part in the first quarter, keeping the Patriots out of scoring range. Shelby Harris would also deflect a Cam Newton pass up into the air where it was intercepted by DeShawn Williams.
That turnover would lead to another score for Denver where they would take a 6-0 lead into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, the Broncos offense continued to find success in moving the ball between the 20s. A big part of that came from Drew Lock finding rookie tight end and former Missouri teammate Albert Okwuegbunam.
There's no way Albert O is a healthy scratch again. pic.twitter.com/BV6hIItBWT— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 18, 2020
Unfortunately, every time Denver flirted with the red zone they would start misfiring. The Patriots held them to field goals on every single one of their drives. Meanwhile, the Patriots were able to get a field goal of their own in the second quarter.
With a 12-3 lead at halftime, Denver had to feel a bit disappointed that the score was as close as it is considering how much success they had on each of their drives in that first half.
Defense continued to impress as the Broncos continued to frustrate Cam Newton and the Patriots in the second half. Denver added a field goal on their first offensive possession, then Denver’s defense would setup another scoring opportunity with a key forced fumble by Michael Ojemudia that was scooped up by Justin Simmons.
O.J. with a nice punch to force the fumble. pic.twitter.com/hQXap2Fltn— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 18, 2020
Denver would go three and out, but the damage was done.
Then on the first play for the Patriots, Cam Newton would have his pass tipped by Justin Simmons where it fall into the waiting hands of Bryce Callahan at the 39-yard line to set Denver up nicely.
This sure ain't the Tom Brady Patriots anymore. pic.twitter.com/pJPbbc8jAV— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 18, 2020
With the fourth quarter coming up, the Broncos would take an 18-3 lead into the final 15 minutes and had the ball in Patriots territory.
The Broncos punted for the first time in the game early on in the fourth quarter, but the defense continued to stymie the Patriots offense.
However, after their second punt the Patriots offense woke up. Cam Newton threw on a deep in route for a big gain, then he took off for a 37-yard run to setup a first and goal. He ran away from Josey Jewell easily on the play.
Per @pfref, the Broncos have allowed more runs of 35+ yards by opposing quarterbacks in their last two games (2, one each for Sam Darnold and Cam Newton) than they did in the previous 25 years (1, by Michael Vick in 2004).— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) October 18, 2020
From the eight yard line, Newton would run on a designed QB draw down to the one yard line. Newton would get stuffed on a QB sneak, but he reached the ball out over the goal line for a touchdown to cut the lead to 18-9. Sylvester Williams would come up huge to stop Newton on the two-point try that kept Denver ahead by two scores with eight and half minutes to go in the game.
Drew Lock would get intercepted on the next drive and returned deep into Broncos territory.
On the Patriots first snap, Malik Reed broke through to sack Cam Newton for a five yard loss putting the Patriots back to the 30-yard line. A quick screen pass to Julian Edelman for a two yard loss brought up a third and 17. Cam Newton was almost sacked again, but got away for a gain down to the 20-yard line.
A Patriots field goal cut the lead to 18-12.
Drew Lock came out on first down on the Broncos next possession and threw another interception on a deep pass to Tim Patrick at the Patriots 30 yard line.
The Patriots used trickery to get down near the red zone with less than two minutes to go needing a touchdown to take the lead.
Julian Edelman on a throwback to Cam Newton. pic.twitter.com/F2y1z2TC0s— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 18, 2020
On second and 10, Malik Reed go to Newton again for a sack to force a third and 16. Newton found Julian Edelman for a six yard gain to bring up a 4th and 10. Needing a stop to get the win, Newton threw the ball incomplete to allow Denver to escape New England with a win.