Every year there is an NFL matchup that is hyped up to epic proportions, and this weekends Patriots versus Broncos offering was such an event. It was a game whose coming was marked off on many a calendar, carved into the bark of several trees and probably cut into stone a couple times as well. The last match up between future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady ended in Manning's Broncos losing to the New England Patriots by the score of 31-21 in October 2012. Tom Terrific has been struggling by his own gaudy standards thus far in the season, and after losing to the Carolina Panthers last week it appeared as though a prideful Patriots organization would be raring to go from the coin flip. But a funny thing happened on their way to victory. Brady and the New England Patriots' offense struggled, and the defense didn't do much better, as the Denver Broncos stormed out to a 24-0 lead at halftime.
Can you imagine the type of paint-peeling, eardrum splitting histrionics that Brady must have thrown in the locker room at the half? Couple that with the intimidating Sith Lord stare from head coach Bill Belichick and you get a New England team that was primed for a comeback of epic proportions. Denver's early lead was due in large part to the career rushing day of running back Knowshon Moreno, who finished the game with 224 rushing yards. Peyton Manning threw for a rather pedestrian 150 yards and two touchdowns. But Manning and the offense weren't really the problem. It was Denver's injury-depleted defensive secondary.
Denver forced the Patriots to punt the ball in overtime. However, instead of putting the ball back in the hands of Peyton Manning and the offense, a special teams fielding blunder by Wes Welker, who also dropped several critical passes during regulation, caused a turnover that allowed the Pats to end it with a late field goal. The final score was 34-31 Pats, but it really shouldn't have even been that close. Brady threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns in the comeback victory. NE receiver Julian Edelman would finish with 110 yards and two touchdowns while TE Rob Gronkowski had 90 yards and a touchdown.