The Patriots 43-21 win over the Denver Broncos wasn't just a victory in a 16-game season -- it was a statement. In his most recent column in the Boston Globe, Dan Shaughnessy explains that the Patriots are "kings of New England" once again and are in the drivers seat to secure homefield advantage.
"Sunday's beatdown demonstrates that Manning and Denver simply cannot win here," writes Shaughnessy. "Sorry, Broncos. You had your chance. This was the year when the Patriots were vulnerable. Denver 'loaded up,' during the offseason, spending money and acquiring big-name players. The Broncos were 'all in.'"
Boston.com*'s Jeremy Gottlieb outlined five takeways from the Patriots big win over the Denver Broncos. He says that the Patriots defense was tremendous against the prolific Broncos offense. Additionally, Gottlieb highlighted Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski's big performances on Sunday. Edelman finished with two touchdowns, while Gronk tallied 9 catches for 105 yards as well as a touchdown and possibly the best catch we'll see all season.
Lee Schechter provided his latest report card based on the Patriots performance on Sunday. In his article on ESPNBoston.com, Schechter gave Tom Brady an A, the tight ends an A , and the secondary an A-.
"Manning may have thrown for 429 yards, but it was a quiet 429 yards if that's possible," says Schechter. "When Manning throws 57 times, he is going to pick up yardage. The Patriots' secondary rose to the occasion with a great performance."
Over the past two weeks, the Patriots have racked up 94 points, which is why Adam Kaufman says the team's offense is even better than advertised. In the Boston.com article, he admits that Rob Gronkowski is the key to the offense, but more importantly the complementary pieces have proven to be much better than in past years. Over the past five weeks, the Patriots have averaged 40.2 points per game.
As good as the offense was against Denver, the defense's performance against Peyton Manning was arguably even more impressive. ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss explains it was all because of the Patriots "interchangeable defense". On Rob Ninkovich's second-quarter interception, Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower rushed up the middle while Ninkovich and Akeem Ayers dropped back into coverage.
Dont'a Hightower joined Comcast SportsNet's Patriots Postgame Show to talk about how the Patriots defense was able to slow down Manning's offense. He said that their game plan was 'spot on' and the players did a great job at executing on the field.
CSNNE.com's Tom Curran believes that Peyton Manning knew what the Patriots were doing on defense and he knew what he needed to do to beat it, but he couldn't pull it off. Curran says that Manning didn't have the arm strength to fit the ball into the tight windows that were available. The Patriots secondary played physical and made things difficult for the Broncos receivers, but ultimately it came down to Manning's inability to zip the ball through the wind.
"There was plenty of need for throws that had both velocity and precision. Brady's got more than enough pop in his arm to throw windcutters into tight windows. Manning doesn't," says Curran.
After beating the Denver Broncos, the Patriots now sit atop the AFC at 7-2 as they enter the bye week. But what lies ahead for the Patriots after the bye? Boston.com's Erik Frenz explains what the Patriots have on tap for their final seven games of the season. He believes the toughest opponent still on the schedule are the Miami Dolphins.
"The Patriots are a much different team now than they were in Week 1, but the Dolphins have also started to hit their stride lately with a three-game winning streak," explains Frenz.
- Stock Watch: Brady's Patriots send Peyton's Broncos packing
- Matchup Winners: Gronk continues his assault
- Broncos-Patriots analysis: A complete win for New England
- Breaking down the Patriots victory over Denver
- Brady 11/02: Gronk is a tough matchup for everyone
- Belichick 11/2: Really proud of the way we played
- Game Notes: Patriots have won 72 straight home games when leading at half
- Game Recap: Brady outduels Manning, Patriots romp 43-21