The Denver Broncos’ only chance to beat the New England Patriots was to hit on big plays and completely limit mistakes.
The Broncos had some big plays in the first half of Sunday’s game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High — though not enough to put real fear in the Patriots’ heads — and they certainly didn’t play mistake-free football with three turnovers.
Check out this week’s takeaways for coverage, pass rush, pass protection and accuracy stats from New England’s 16-3 win.
Kyle Van Noy: 6-8, 76 yards
Eric Rowe: 3-6, 35 yards, PBU
Elandon Roberts: 1-1, 23 yards
Malcolm Butler: 1-3, 21 yards
Jonathan Jones: 2-2, 14 yards
Logan Ryan: 2-4, 14 yard, INT
Dont’a Hightower: 1-1, 12 yards
Chris Long: 1-1, 9 yards
Jabaal Sheard: 1-1, 7 yards
Devin McCourty: 1-3, 6 yards, PBU
Patrick Chung: 1-2, 2 yards, PBU
Trey Flowers: 0-1
Alan Branch: PBU
— All Patriots defensive backs had strong outings. That includes Rowe, who started slow but recovered with a pass breakup.
— Ryan hauled in his first interception of the season.
— Van Noy continued to have tackling issues.
— Neither Denver receivers Demaryius Thomas nor Emmanuel Sanders broke 100 yards. Thomas had seven catches on 11 targets for 91 yards while Sanders had three catches on six targets for 48 yards. New England mixed man and zone coverage against the Broncos, who seemed to find their most success targeting the wideouts when the Patriots were in zone.
Trey Flowers: two sacks, QB hit, three hurries
Chris Long: five hurries
Jabaal Sheard: sack, QB hit, two hurries
Kyle Van Noy: hurry
Alan Branch: two hurries
Malcom Brown: sack
Dont’a Hightower: hurry
Logan Ryan: hurry
Shea McClellin: hurry
Rob Ninkovich: QB hit, hurry
— Flowers has turned into one of the best interior rushing threats in the NFL. He’s beginning to make Patriots fans forget about Chandler Jones and Dominique Easley.
— Sheard has been much better since New England made him a healthy scratch against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11.
— Long is great at bringing pressure but has trouble closing with sacks this season.
Joe Thuney: two sacks, QB hit, three hurries
Nate Solder: QB hit, two hurries
Shaq Mason: QB hit, hurry
Marcus Cannon: QB hit, hurry
David Andrews: two hurries
Martellus Bennett: QB hit
— Thuney was the only Patriots offensive lineman who had real trouble in pass protection against a stout Broncos front seven.
— Solder fared well against Shane Ray and DeMarcus Ware, while Cannon more than held his own against Von Miller.
PASS ACCURACY — INCOMPLETIONS
1. Batted down at the line of scrimmage
2. Grounded to James White
3. Dropped by White
4. Dropped by White
5. Grounded to Martellus Bennett
6. Thrown behind White
7. Thrown behind Julian Edelman
8. Overthrown to Dion Lewis
9. Thrown out in front of Bennnett
10. Pass broken up to Edelman
11. Snap fumbled, thrown in front of Edelman
12. Dropped by Chris Hogan
13. Thrown out of bounds under pressure
14. Grounded to White
15. Thrown out of end zone under pressure
16. Dropped by Edelman
— Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw one incomplete pass that was batted down at the line of scrimmage, four passed that were dropped, nine passes incomplete due to inaccuracy and two because he was under pressure.
— Brady was just 1 of 2 for 18 yards on deep passes.
— It was Brady’s worst outing this season, but Patriots fans have to be ecstatic he came out of Denver with a win.
Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images