Looking to respond to the Patriots’ 84-yard touchdown drive, the Broncos took over at the 20-yard line.
Running back Willis McGahee got the first three touches of the drive – two carries and a catch – to give Denver a first down.
On the next play, Peyton Manning dropped back and hit wideout Demaryius Thomas on the sideline, who reached up, made a one-handed catch and picked up 30 yards.
From the New England 34, rookie running back Ronnie Hillman got his first carry of the game and took it for 7 yards.
A play later, following a Broncos timeout, Denver picked up just enough on a McGahee carry to convert on third-and-1. New England challenged the spot, but the call on the field was upheld and Denver was set up with a first down on the 24-yard line at the beginning of the second quarter.
Two plays later, Denver faced another third down just inside the red zone. Needing six yards, Manning threw into the end zone looking for Eric Decker. The pass was incomplete, but Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty was called for pass interference and the Broncos moved to the 1-yard line.
Immediately ensuing the defensive penalty, Manning hit tight end Joel Dreessen for the short touchdown pass to cap off a 10-play, 80 yard drive.
The grab gave Dreessen a touchdown in three consecutive games to lead the team in that category. He entered the game ranking second in the NFL in percentages of catches resulting in touchdowns, with 12 of his 71 catches occurring in the end zone since 2010.
Following Matt Prater’s extra point, the game is tied at 7-7 less than one minute into the second quarter.
Click here to listen to the audio highlight of the touchdown play courtesy of AM 850 KOA.
Click here to watch the video of the touchdown play.