The Broncos have made a living recently late in games. During their six-game winning streak, Denver was trailing in the fourth quarter in four of those games.
“We’ve been involved in some comebacks that were in the fourth quarter,” Head Coach John Fox said. “It wasn’t like we designed it that way. A lot of these games are won and lost in the fourth quarter.”
Many players and coaches will point out that it’s more about how you finish games than start them, and rightfully so. However, with the New England Patriots — who have scored at least 31 points in each of their last five games — coming to town this week, the Broncos know they might have to strike early and often.
“We came in today and our offensive coordinator (Mike McCoy) was saying we need to help our defense out more by scoring,” receiver Demaryius Thomas said. “Last week we had a couple chances to score, but we just missed some plays. I feel like as an offense we need to come out and play four whole quarters instead of just the fourth quarter.”
Indeed, the Broncos offense has scored 50 points in the fourth quarter or overtime during the six-game win streak, almost double of what they have put on the board in the first halves of those games (27 points total).
“I always say we can’t start slow in whatever game we’re playing,” running back Willis McGahee said. “For some strange reason we come out slow and sluggish and then come the second half we tend to pick it up. Hopefully that can change this week. It’s something the coaches have been stressing — we need to start fast. I’d love to get out early on a team but it doesn’t work like that. I just roll with the punches.”
GETTING TO BRADY
The Broncos go up this week against one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL in New England’s Tom Brady.
Brady has won three Super Bowls in the last decade and continues to put up numbers among the league leaders. He’s currently second in the NFL in passing yards, touchdowns and passer rating.
The Broncos know they have a tough task in trying to limit the veteran quarterback, but they’re up for the challenge.
“Oh, it’s a big challenge,” linebacker Joe Mays said. “The guy, he knows what defenses that have been run against him. He knows every single look out there. It’s going to be important for us to give him different looks, different disguises. Just try to do our best out there to get him jumbled a little bit so we can get some quarterback pressure on him.”
Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen will no doubt try to dial up pressure on Brady as he has done with other quarterbacks. The Broncos are fourth in the NFL with 37 sacks on the season and hope to pressure Brady into some errant throws.
“I’m going to have a fanatical pursuit to the ball, relentless effort,” said linebacker Von Miller, who leads the team with 11.5 sacks. “I’m going to try whatever it takes to get there. He’s a great quarterback. Hats off to the whole Patriots organization and they’re a great team. I’m just looking forward to going against them.”
Here is Wednesday’s injury report.
For the Broncos:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: Safety David Bruton (Achilles), safety Brian Dawkins (neck), cornerback Andre’ Goodman (concussion).
LIMITED: Wide receiver Eddie Royal (concussion).
FULL: Fullback Spencer Larsen (hamstring), linebacker Von Miller (thumb).
For the Patriots:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: Safety Patrick Chung (foot), offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back/foot).
LIMITED: Cornerback Kyle Arrington (foot), quarterback Tom Brady (not injury related), wide receiver Deion Branch (groin), center Dan Connolly (groin), wide receiver Julian Edelman (back), linebacker Dane Fletcher (thumb), safety James Ihedigbo (shoulder), cornerback Devin McCourty (shoulder), wide receiver Matthew Slater (shoulder), linebacker Brandon Spikes (knee), running back Shane Vereen (hamstring), wide receiver Wes Welker (knee), center Ryan Wendell (calf), defensive lineman Vince Wilfork (not injury related), running back Danny Woodhead (abdomen).
Below are some photos from Wednesday’s practice.