New England Victorious, But Will Pats and Broncos Rematch in the Playoffs?
Sunday night brought a cold November evening to Gilette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, but it also brought an adversary to the New England Patriots that many slated would make one of the best games of the season. The Denver Broncos, standing with only one loss, were coming to New England, complete with Peyton Manning — arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the league over the past years. The game didn’t disappoint.
It started out with a series of costly mistakes by New England that led to a quick 17-0 lead for the Broncos. With conditions being very cold and windy — gusts were regularly clocked at 20 miles per hour — even the most routine of throws, tackles, hand offs, and kicks became tests of endurance and strength. Before long, Tom Brady and the Patriots found themselves down 24-0 at the half.
However, the game would embody the fact that any half can undo the effects of the first portion of the game. At first it was one touchdown for the Patriots, then another, while the Broncos’ offense faltered. Before anyone knew what was happening, the Patriots had soared into the lead. Tacking on a field goal, the Patriots found themselves up by 7 points as time in the game began to wind down. Manning would have none of that, though, leading his team in a game-tying drive before time expired.
Winning the coin toss, the Patriots unusually elected to play with the wind at their backs, allowing the Broncos to receive the ball first. The move paid dividends; when the Broncos were faced with a fourth down and a potential 54-yard field goal kick in overtime, the team elected to go for it — as a kick into the wind was simply not an option. They came up short, and the Patriots were able to muster together a game winning drive, capping it off with a field goal late in the overtime period.
In a Sunday night thriller, the Patriots came out on top of the Broncos, 34-31. Will the two teams meet again in the playoffs? Only time will tell, though they are two of the front runners in the league and, with two veteran quarterbacks at the helm, they are both teams that are sure to put up numbers during the NFL postseason.
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