Coin toss: The Patriots have won the toss and elected to defer to the second half. The Broncos will receive and defend the north goal.
Q1 – 14:43: Stephen Gostkowski’s kickoff is picked up by Kenny McKinley in the end zone and downed for a touchback. The Broncos start in a wildcat formation, with Knowshon Moreno taking the direct snap for a 12-yard gain and a first down.
Q1 – 14:16: Starting on offense for the Broncos – the line of Ryan Clady, Ben Hamilton, Casey Wiegmann, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris. Hillis lines up at fullback, with Moreno behind him. Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Marshall were at receiver, with Daniel Graham at tight end. After a short two-yard out to Marshall on the left side, Orton found him on the other end of the field for a 13-yard catch and a first down.
Q1 – 13:06: A five yard run by Moreno propels the Broncos into Boston territory. That set up a wide open pass from Orton to Tony Scheffler for 14 yards. Scheffler leaped over Leigh Bodden, rumbling past the marker.
Q1 – 11:00: Again lining up in the wildcat, Moreno took a carry up the middle for five yards. The flurry of offensive plays prompts Boston to call its first timeout. After the timeout, Orton fired two incompletions. Matt Prater came in to attempt a 48-yard field goal, but missed it wide right. The Patriots will start on their own 38-yard line.
Q1 – 9:26: Tom Brady’s first handoff goes to Sammy Morris for six yards. Starting on defense for the Broncos – Kenny Peterson, Ronald Fields and Ryan McBean up front. D.J. Williams, Andra Davis, Elvis Dumervil and Mario Haggan are the linebackers. In the secondary are Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill at safety, and Andre’ Goodman and Champ Bailey at cornerback. After a 1-yard gain by Morris, Brady hit Julian Edelman on a short crossing route for the first down.
Q1 – 8:31: The Patriots picked up the first down at midfield. Flushed out of the pocket by Ronald Fields, Brady finds Sammy Morris on a screen play. Morris rumbled downfield 35 yards, putting the Patriots in the red zone.
Q1 – 6:44: After no gain by Morris on first down, he rumbled up the middle, passing the 10-yard line for a 7-yard gain. With a 3rd and 3 from the 8-yard line, Brady found a crossing Wes Welker for the touchdown. It is the first passing touchdown allowed by the Broncos this season. Gostkowski tacks on the extra point.Patriots 7, Broncos 0
Q1 – 6:39: Gostkowski’s kickoff goes six yards deep into the end zone, but McKinley takes it out, returning it to the 19-yard line. That’s where the Broncos will take over.
Q1 – 5:32: With Russ Hochstein reporting as eligible and in motion, Moreno takes the carry counter left for three yards. Hochstein stays in the game as a tight end/half back. Moreno bounced off his block and rumbled 12 yards downfield for a first down.
Q1 – 5:18: Orton completes to Moreno, on a dump off over the middle. But Jerod Mayo forces the fumble and the Patriots recover. Boston was set to take over at the Denver 45-yard line. Before the Patriots took a snap, Head Coach Josh McDaniels threw out his red challenge flag, and the play will be reviewed by the officials.
Q1 – 4:44: After review, the ruling on the field stands, with referee Carl Cheffers stating that Moreno lost control of the ball before he hit the ground. With a 1st-and-10 from the Denver 43-yard line, Sammy Morris takes a power run past Andra Davis, picking up 10 yards and a first down.
Q1 – 3:56: Morris’ running room dissipated on the next play, with Dawkins coming up from the safety position for a two-yard loss. Brady went play action on second down, looking for Welker. But Jack Williams made a sterling pass breakup, using his right hand to bat the ball down and set up a 3rd-and-long. Brady had an open Randy Moss in the end zone, but his pass sailed long.
Q1 – 3:51: Stephen Gostkowski comes in to attempt a 53-yard field goal and nails it. Patriots 10, Broncos 0
Q1 – 2:57: Gostkowski’s kickoff sails out of the end zone for a touchback. The Broncos start at their own 20-yard line, with a two tight-end set. Orton finds Eddie Royal on an out pattern for eight yards on first down. Denver comes out on the next play with another tight formation, and a handoff to Moreno. Vince Wilfork stops him for no gain, setting up third and short. Orton moves into the shotgun, with four wide receivers at his disposal, before calling his second timeout of the half.
Q1 – 2:34: The Patriots counter with their second timeout of the half. Again out of the shotgun with forur wides, Orton finds Brandon Marshall over the middle of the field. His forward progress takes him to the 30-yard line, giving the Broncos a fourth and inches. Brett Kern comes in to punt, sending a booming 64-yard kick to the 5-yard line. Julian Edelman makes a series of moves before being stopped at the 23-yard line.
Q1 – 0:36: Out of the shotgun on first down, Brady finds a streaking Edelman for a modest gain of six yards. Back in the I-formation, Brady gives an inside handoff to Morris, who pushes ahead for three yards to set up third and short. Showing a three-tight end set, the Broncos defense comes up big, stopping Morris several yards shy of the first down. D.J. Williams made the stop for no gain, setting up a punt by Chris Hanson.
Q1 – 0:00: Royal takes the punt upfield, before coughing it up. It was recovered by Jack Williams and advanced to the 32-yard line. With seven seconds left in the first quarter, Orton drops back and finds Jabar Gaffney for an 18-yard gain and first down.
Q2 – 15:00: Into Patriots territory at the 44-yard line, Orton hands off to Moreno. He bounces off Wilfork, before running out of room at the original line of scrimmage. Out of the shotgun, Orton finds Gaffney on a sideline out, where he is met by a troop of Patriots defensive backs. After the 4-yard gain, Orton sees tony Scheffler cutting across the field, but the throw is brokn up by Brandon McGowan. Brett Kern is in to punt.
Q2 – 13:31: Kern’s punt flies 40 yards into the end zone. The Patriots are set to start at their own 20-yard line.
Q2 – 11:55: Brady fires a low throw to Wes Welker in the left flat for a 6-yard gain on first down. He hits Edelman over the middle on second down, just shy of the first down marker. Showing a change of pace, Boston gives to Laurence Maroney for a 2-yard gain and a first down.
Q2 – 11:20: Maroney goes off right tackle on the next play, picking up 10 more yards and another first down. Morris comes back in the game, sneaking up the gut for three yards. Out of the shotgun, Brady fires a wide receiver screen to Welker, who stiffarms Jack Williams for significant yards after the catch. The Broncos defense is penalized for having 12 men on the field, but the Patriots decline it, taking the 15-yard pass play.
Q2 – 9:31: After forcing Brady into an incompletion on first down, he fires back on the ensuing play, hitting Chris Baker for a 3-yard gain. The ball looked to have been trapped in the ground, prompting McDaniels to make his second challenge of the half.
Q2 – 9:52: The officials overturn the call, setting up 3rd and 10 at the Denver 41-yard line for Boston. Brady lines up with four wide, but goes to a draw play with Kevin Faulk. He is stopped short and Logan Mankins is called for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. Backed up to their own 47-yard line, Hanson’s punt is fair caught by Eddie Royal at his own 10-yard line. That’s where the Broncos will take over.
Q2 – 9:34: With pressure coming, Orton is sacked for a loss of three yards on first down by LB Rob Ninkovich. Orton gets the Broncos some breathing room on second down, finding Brandon Marshall on play action over the middle for 11 yards. With 3rd and 2 from the 18-yard line, the Broncos show three wide receivers, and Orton finds Royal on a quick pass for 10 yards and a first down.
Q2 – 7:46: Before the first down, Boston uses its final timeout of the half. Going play action on first down, Orton finds Royal for a 13-yard reception. Ty Warren is called for a roughing-the-passer penalty, marching the Broncos into Patriots territory at the Boston 44-yard line.
Q2 – 7:07: Lining up with five wide, Orton’s pass was tipped high up in the air at the line of scrimmage by Ninkovich. Brandon Marshall made a heady play, batting it down to prevent an interception. On the ensuing play, Knowshon Moreno used a strong block from Russ Hochstein for 11 yards and a first down.
Q2 – 6:22: The run opened up the pass, with Orton finding Royal on a post for 15 yards and another first down. In the red zone, the Broncos went to the run, with Moreno picking up three yards on first down. Faking the wildcat, Orton comes back behind center, and completes to Marshall for four yards.
Q2 – 4:31: With a third and short and Moreno as the lone setback, Orton throws a quick fade to Marshall on the right sideline, who comes back to the inside and makes an 11-yard touchdown reception. Prater tacks on the extra point. Patriots 10, Broncos 7
Q2 – 4:23: Taken at the 3-yard line, Julian Edelman returns Prater’s kickoff to the 26-yard line. Darcel McBath and Mario Haggan combine on the tackle.
Q2 – 3:38: After a 7-yard screen pass to Kevin Faulk on first down, Brady finds a crossing Wes Welker for 12 yards and a first down.
Q2 – 2:00: With a first down at their own 45-yard line, Brady is flushed out of the pocket by D.J. Williams and forced to throw it away. Andra Davis and Ronald Fields stuff Maroney on second down for a 1-yard gain, setting up third and long. With the crowd noise escalating, Brady takes the snap out of the shotgun, and finds Welker past the marker for 17 yards and a first down in Denver territory.
Q2 – 1:07: Buying himself some time in the pocket, Brady escapes the rush of Elvis Dumervil and completes to Kevin Faulk for a 16-yard gain. He hits Welker over the middle on the ensuing play, driving down to the 10-yard line for a first and goal. Welker is helped off the field with an injury, and since Boston had no more timeouts, the officials mandated a 10-second runoff on the clock.
Q2 – 0:05: Brady gives to Faulk, who gets back to the line of scrimmage for no gain. Faulk comes out of the backfield on second down, picking up three yards on a short pass before being stopped by Jack Williams. With no timeouts and the clock down to less than 10 ticks, Brady keeps his poise, finding a crossing Ben Watson for a 7-yard touchdown. Gostkowski adds the extra point.Patriots 17, Broncos 7
Q2 – 0:00: Gostkowski squibs the kickoff to Russ Hochstein who fields and returns it six yards to the Broncos 40-yard line. With two ticks remaining in the half, Orton lines up with four wide receivers and attempts a hail mary. It is intercepted by Randy Moss, for Orton’s first interception of the season. That ends a string of 173 straight passes without a pick by Orton. The Broncos head into the locker room, trailing 17-7. Move over to our second half blog to follow along for the next 30 minutes.