How the Patriots’ unreal, 34-31, OT victory over Denver played out in real time Sunday night on NBC:
8:28 p.m. EDT–A frigid night like this is when I’m more than happy not to be at Gillette freezing my life away. The older you get, the less appealing it is to deal with the cold at football games.
8:33-Wes Welker’s first catch is for five yards but not a first down, two yards short on 3rd down. So there, the Patriots totally made the right move to not pay him.
8:40-Pats were moving it (slowly) on their first drive then Stevan Ridley promptly fumbled and Von Miller returned it 60 yards for a TD. Off the top of my head, that gives him 20 fumbles on the season. This can’t continue, time to sit him. 7-0 Broncos. At least he slammed his helmet on the sideline, that makes us feel better about his fragile confidence.
8:48-Miller must have gotten a fresh shipment of PEDs this week, he’s all over the place. Unblocked, he blows by Nate Solder and helps cause a fumble by Brady. Broncos recover it at New England’s 10. Two plays later, 2-yard TD run by Knowshon Moreno. 14-0 Broncos, yeesh.
8:54-LeGarrette Blount fumbles, really. I can’t remember a worse start by the Patriots offense in the past decade.
9:00-Manning’s ankle is wrapped up so much it looks like he’s wearing moon boots.
9:06-Chandler Jones sacks Manning, Broncos settle for a 27-yard field goal by Matt Prater but they still lead by three scores-17-0 in the first quarter.
9:08-The play-clock stopped working and Marcus Cannon is questionable to return, other than that things are going great in Foxboro.
9:15-Patriots trail Broncos 17-0 after the first quarter, they are on pace to lose 68-0, which seems a little low at this point.
9:23-Julian Edelman fumbles on a kickoff return but Michael Buchanan recovers it. We call that progress.
9:26-33-yard run by Brandon Bolden. Next play, Brady fumbles but recovers in time to complete a pass. This is impossible to explain.
9:28-Denver safety Duke Ihenacho goes out after teammate Wesley Woodyard run helmet first into him. Is there a better name in the NFL these days?
9:30-4th and 5, Patriots go for it but Danny Amendola drops a catch that wouldn’t have been a first down anyway.
9:33-History in the making-cornerback Justin Green’s NFL debut. The Patriots signed him off the practice squad yesterday, no big deal.
9:36-3rd and 20, Broncos get 31 yards on a screen pass to Montee Ball. This is an embarrassing effort by the Patriots.
9:39-Ten-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Jacob Tamme, 24-0 Broncos. Do we really need to play a second half?
9:46-Another sack for Miller, Nate Solder is making him look like Lawrence Taylor in his prime.
9:49-Moreno has run for over 100 yards in the 1st half. I got nothing.
10:01-Hooray, something went New England’s way! Trindon Holliday fumbled and Marquice Cole recovered it at Denver’s 41. Luckily the wind was too hard to try a field goal and there were only six seconds left so after one incompletion by Brady, it was halftime. 24-0 Broncos. This is stunning.
10:17-Kenbrell Thompkins goes out with an injury after a short catch.
10:20-33-yard catch and run by Rob Gronkowski.
10:23-There we go, Patriots go 80 yards in 8 plays culminating in a 5-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman. New England cuts it to 24-7.
10:30-Hold the phone, Ball fumbles on a screen pass and after it comically bounces around for about 10 minutes Brandon Spikes recovers it at Denver’s 31.
10:35-After Gronk gets it down to the 1 with a beastly run after the catch, Bolden runs it up the gut two plays later for a TD. Game on, Patriots are only down 10 now (24-14).
10:42-17-yard catch by Welker on 3rd and 5, I think the few frozen people left at Gillette booed him. I’d like to give them a pass but come on, seriously?
10:48-A bunch of injuries in Denver’s secondary have caught up with them, Brady finds Edelman for a 44-yard gain down to the Broncos’ 10.
10:51-6-yard touchdown catch by Gronk, 21 unanswered points by the Pats cut it to 24-21. Some classic shots of Peyton Manning on the bench all bundled up like a child and Jack Del Rio on the sideline looking like the overmatched clown he is.
10:55-End of 3rd quarter, I’ve never seen a game turn so dramatically in one quarter. Patriots have all the momentum and only trail 24-21.
10:58-Interception by Logan Ryan on a terrible throw by Manning.
11:00-15-yard catch by Gronk.
11:01-14-yard touchdown catch and run by Edelman, holy smokes. Patriots lead 28-24 with 13:13 left in 4th quarter.
11:09-Nice montage of Brady and Manning: Tom had 20 different haircuts while Peyton is always the same goober with a huge forehead.
11:10-Patriots are getting all the bounces now. Vereen dropped a pass and Wesley Woodyard should have picked it off but it slipped through his hands. The football must feel like a brick tonight with all these fumbles and drops.
11:17-31-yard field goal by Gostkowski, big stop by the Broncos defense to keep it a one score game (31-24).
11:21-A holding penalty on Aqib Talib wipes out a horrific interception thrown by Manning to him.
11:24-18-yard run by Moreno gives him 164 yards rushing, seriously.
11:25-Welker drops an easy catch. I have too much respect for him to make the easy Super Bowl jokes.
11:27-It’s taken all night, but Manning is finally feeling it.
11:28-Career-high 167 rushing yards for Moreno, something the Patriots can be proud about.
11:31-Denver is aided by two penalties on the drive but Manning ties it with a pretty 11-yard touchdown pass to DeMaryius Thomas. 3:06 left in regulation, talk about a ratings bonanza for NBC-assuming many people didn’t change the channel at halftime or even in the first half when it was 24-0.
11:44-Patriots force a punt but get the ball back at their own 11 with only 28 seconds left.
11:46-At halftime, who didn’t know this was headed for overtime?
11:47-Broncos lost the coin toss but Patriots chose to take the wind instead of the ball, um ok?
11:56-Big play by Talib to deflect away a pass intended for Thomas on 3rd down. Patriots get a stop on Denver’s first drive, meaning now they can win it with either a field goal or TD.
11:59-Wow, no pass interference on Quentin Jammer even though he was all over Thompkins.
12:00-3rd and 4, Brady throws it out of bounds down the sideline to Edelman. That’s the best they could muster? Thanks Josh McDaniels.
12:04-202 rushing yards for Moreno. Is this Earth?
12:06-18-yard run by Moreno who hobbles off. Talib is shaken up too. Will anyone be left by the time this game ends?
12:08-Clutch 12-yard catch by Tamme on 3rd down.
12:10-Great job by rookie linebacker Jamie Collins to knock the ball out of Welker’s hands on a possible 3rd down catch. Patriots will get the ball back, again.
12:13-17-yard catch by Edelman, he has nine catches in his best performance in months.
12:16-Haha wow! Pats punted it but the ball hit Tony Carter, recovered by Nate Ebner at Denver’s 13.
12:22-Unbelievable. Gostkowski hits a 31-yard field goal to win it. Patriots somehow come out on top 34-31 in the best game of the year in the NFL. What else can you say? Incredible comeback by New England and that win could go a long way in determining home field in the playoffs.
12:26-That is the largest comeback in Patriots history, so there’s that.