Living in New England has been an interesting experience for me. I find that they are some of the kindest, giving, caring people I’ve encountered. However, there is just one big character flaw: They root for the Patriots. It’s an experience not unlike finding out that the gentle old man down the street eats live rabbits. While there is much for my neighbors to celebrate with their team, I am always quick to point out that their NFL dominance extends to all but one team, mine.
All time, the Denver Broncos are 31-23 against first the Boston and then the New England Patriots. In the very first American Football League game of all time, played back in September of 1960, Denver beat Boston 13-10 and the rivalry was born.
In the Belichick era, with Sunday’s win, the Broncos move to 10-10 including playoffs against the Patriots. With all the postseason success the Belichick era has enjoyed, Denver owns a 3-1 lead, each win a classic in the archives of Broncos football.
On Sunday, Denver’s young quarterback Drew Lock joined an elite group of quarterbacks to have beaten Bill Belichick’s Patriots. It was his 10 completions on 24 attempts for 189 yards and back-to-back interceptions (and a stout performance from the defense and Brandon McManus’ golden leg) that got it done.
So who are the others in orange and blue who have broken the hearts of Patriots fans during the Belichick era?
It all began with Brian Griese on October 28, 2001 with his 31-20 victory over the eventual Super Bowl champions. The following year, on October 27th, Griese got over again, 24-16.
Of those on this lengthy list, none of the quarterbacks have enjoyed as much success against the Patriots like Jake Plummer has. On October 16, 2005, Jake mustered a 28-20 win. A year later, New England fell 17-1 in September. However, the biggest win against the Patriots came on January 14, 2006, the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.
On October 11th, 2009 even hapless Kyle Orton beat the Patriots in overtime, 30-24. This was win number 5 of 6 in a row to open the season under known cheater and awful head coach, Josh McDaniels. Despite starting the year at 6-0, McDaniels would crash the team headlong into a tree to finish the season, 8-8.
Of all the storied matchups between the Broncos and Patriots, nothing elevated this rivalry more than the arrival of Peyton Manning. Although, Manning never beat the Patriots during the regular season while in Denver, he never lost to them in AFC Championship games. On January 19, 2014, Manning’s Broncos beat Belichick’s Pats 26-16 and again on January 24, 2016, 20-18. Both of Manning’s wins took Denver to the Super Bowl and robbed Belichick and Brady of even more trophy case hardware.
The most important win within this rivalry? That was Brock Osweiler’s overtime victory in the snow on November 29, 2015. It was this win that ensured that the Patriots would come to Denver for the AFC Championship that they would lose to Peyton Manning later in the postseason. Without this 30-24 win, Denver’s road to Super Bowl 50 would have gone through Foxborough and would have been much tougher.
So, let it be written that on October 18, 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Drew Lock, in just his 8th start in in young NFL career, vanquished Belichick’s Patriots like so many Broncos quarterbacks before him. Well done, son. Just stop chucking those picks.
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