The Broncos were forced to wait 17 days after their first win to try to earn another. They did that Sunday, but Broncos fans had to wait quite a while for the team to wrap up a game that they had the chance to run away with.
In New England on Sunday, the Broncos scored on their first six possessions but failed to score a touchdown on any of those drives. So while the Broncos held a 15-point fourth-quarter lead over the Patriots, they had to cling to a six-point lead to improve to 2-3 on the season.
The game got tight as Drew Lock threw a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions, but just as the Broncos survived mistakes against the Jets in Week 4, they were able to hold on against the Patriots.
The Broncos improved to 4-0 all-time against Cam Newton, while Denver moved within a game of .500 on the season.
These were the players and plays that mattered in a down-to-the-wire win against the Patriots.
The Broncos had several chances to put the game away in the third quarter, as they increased their nine-point halftime lead to a 15-point advantage. Unfortunately for Denver, the team wasn’t able to take advantage of a pair of turnovers and allowed the Patriots to remain within two possessions of the lead. The Patriots cut the lead to 18-12 with 3:23 to play and got the ball back again with a chance to earn the win. The Pats moved the ball all the way to the 24-yard line, but Vic Fangio dialed up a blitz on fourth-and-10, and Newton threw incomplete to end the game.
The Broncos had forced just two turnovers all season, but they earned three takeaways on Sunday as DeShawn Williams and Bryce Callahan snagged interceptions and Justin Simmons scooped up a fumble that Michael Ojemudia. They nearly had another, as Bradley Chubb strip-sacked Newton, but the Patriots recovered. In a tight game in which the Broncos were unable to score a touchdown, the Broncos’ ability to force turnovers helped make the difference.
Chubb entered the Broncos’ Week 4 game against the Jets without a sack. In the last two games, though, he has posted 3.5 quarterback takedowns and now owns his first forced fumble of the season. His third-quarter sack of Newton showed off Chubb’s raw power that made him an alluring prospect in 2018, and it was reminiscent of some of Von Miller’s forced fumbles in Super Bowl 50.
Brandon McManus made six field goals on Sunday, which is the most by any kicker in a single game in Broncos history. With a 52-yarder and 54-yarder, he also tied Justin Tucker for the most games in NFL history with multiple 50-plus yarders. After being named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after Week 4, it seems that McManus should have a good chance to win the award again in Week 6.
Bradley Chubb recorded his first strip-sack of the season to end a New England possession.
Shelby Harris had multiple pass breakups and four tackles.
Michael Ojemudia forced a pair of fumbles, one of which was recovered by the Broncos.
Bryce Callahan recorded his first interception of the season, while DeShawn Williams also grabbed a pick.
Tim Patrick led the team with four catches for 101 yards, while Albert Okwuegbunam caught two passes for 45 yards in his first action of his career.
In his return to the field, Phillip Lindsay carried the ball 23 times for 78 yards.
Malik Reed tallied two sacks, including one on the final New England drive of the game to set up a third-and-16.