FOXBORO, Mass. — Another Snow Bowl? Hardly.
Though the white stuff swirled Sunday morning, the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos kicked off their 4:25 p.m. matchup under sunny skies.
That’s not to say it was a beautiful fall day at Gillette Stadium — temperatures dipped into the low 40s, with steady winds — but the elements ultimately played a rather minor role in the Patriots’ 43-21 win.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 438 yards in a losing effort, and while he was critical of his performance after the game, he said the wind was not much of an issue.
“I didn’t feel like it,” said Manning, who traditionally has struggled in colder climates. “I felt like I kind of was throwing it where I wanted to, so I couldn’t say that.”
Bill Belichick’s Patriots teams have been renowned for their success in cold-weather games, something his players attribute to a lack of time spent in the team’s climate-controlled practice bubble.
“We prepare for everything,” defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “I think Bill does a really good job of just practicing through whatever we get. Sometimes we’ll be upset going in snow on the practice field: ‘Why can’t we go in the bubble where it’s nice and warm?’ But it pays off for us.”
Quarterback Tom Brady echoed the big man’s sentiments and mentioned how the team’s routine benefits kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Gostkowski was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goal attempts Sunday, while Denver’s Brandon McManus plunked the right upright from 41 yards out in his only try.
“We’re not in the bubble very often,” Brady said. “I think we’ve had, like, one practice in there all year. I think we just get used to playing in the cold and the wind. Our stadium has a pretty consistent wind to it. A guy like Stephen Gostkowski, who’s one of the best kickers in the league, to kick in these conditions is pretty tough. We never know what the forecast will be, and Coach says, ‘Just dress for it and we’ll deal with it.’ ”
Photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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