DENVER — If it wasn’t clear already, the New England Patriots proved Sunday they’re the class of the AFC by beating the Denver Broncos 16-3 on the road.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High plagued the Patriots last season, but the venue didn’t create many issues for New England as they dominated the Broncos, increasing the chances Denver gets booted from the postseason. The Patriots clinched the AFC East and a first-round bye. Ho hum.
Here are the Patriots’ standouts in the game.
RB DION LEWIS
Lewis set career highs with 18 carries for 95 yards. Many expected LeGarrette Blount to continue to pile up yards against a relatively weak Broncos run defense, but instead it was Lewis who did most of the Patriots’ damage on the ground.
He also added two catches for 9 yards.
WR JULIAN EDELMAN
Edelman has been a different player since the bye week, and he continued his tear Sunday with six catches for 75 yards.
Edelman had 41 catches for 358 yards in his first eight games and now has 44 receptions for 508 yards in his last six.
OT MARCUS CANNON
Cannon had help, but Von Miller was held sack-less, which is no small feat. That’s especially true for Cannon, who was dominated by Miller in last season’s AFC Championship Game loss.
The Patriots allowed two sacks, both of which were given up by rookie left guard Joe Thuney, one by Shane Ray and one by Jared Crick.
DE TREY FLOWERS
Flowers picked up two sacks, giving him three in his last two games. Flowers has all seven of his sacks in his last seven games as the second-year pro has done most of his damage in the second half of the season.
Jon Gruden said Flowers might be the Patriots’ best defender last week. He’s getting there. He also helped create a fourth-quarter Malcom Brown sack by bringing initial pressure.
CB LOGAN RYAN
Ryan picked off his first interception of the season with a key play to start the second quarter. He returned it 46 yards and put the Patriots in position to score their first touchdown of the game, a 1-yard run by LeGarrette Blount.
Ryan allowed four catches for 43 yards on five targets with the interception. He’s turned his game around in a big way since moving over to the slot.
CB MALCOLM BUTLER
Butler matched up with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for most of the game and personally held him catchless. Butler was targeted twice without giving up a reception. Sanders had just three catches for 48 yards on six targets.
Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images