Patriots Use Running Game to Beat Broncos
New England utilized its vaunted running game to offset Peyton Manning's 345-yard passing performance, scoring three touchdowns en route to a 31-21 victory over the Denver Broncos Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Running back Stevan Ridley rushed for a season-high 151 yards on 28 carries with a touchdown, Brandon Bolden had 54 yards on 14 carries and Shane Vereen had a one-yard scoring rush as the Patriots garnered 251 ground yards, outplaying their Broncos counterparts who managed just 70 on 20 carries without a score.
Tom Brady, who was named AFC Player of the Week, added a rushing touchdown while completing 23 of 31 passes for 223 yards and a passing score for the Patriots, who clinched their third win in five games.
The Broncos (2-3) thrived under Manning, who completed 31 of 44 passes for a season-high 345 yards and three touchdown passes but a fumble by running back Willis McGahee in the fourth period spoiled their comeback bid.
McGahee was the only Broncos rushing in double digits with 51 yards on 14 carries. He also had 51 receiving yards on five catches, second behind Demaryius Thomas, who had 188 yards on nine catches but no touchdown.
Brady engineered four scoring drives, including one that put the Patriots on the board after he found wide receiver Wes Welker for an eight-yard touchdown pass.
The Broncos responded with a one-yard scoring strike from quarterback Peyton Manning to tight end Joel Dreessen. The Patriots then scored the last 10 points of the first half to grab a 17-7 lead.
In the third period, Brady led the Patriots to a 16-play, 80-yard attack that he ended with one-yard scoring rush before Ridley added an eight-yard touchdown run for a 31-7 New England lead.
Denver cut the lead to 31-21 on a pair of short touchdown completions by Manning, who hooked up with wide receiver Eric Decker from two yards out and wideout Brandon Stokley from five yards to cut the lead to 10 points.
Ninkovich steps up with big performance against the Broncos
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