FOXBORO -- In a game of keepaway, Tom Brady led scoring drives of 12, 14, 16 and 16 plays while Wes Welker scorched the Broncos for 13 catches and 104 yards helping the Patriots turn back Peyton Manning and the Broncos, 31-21, Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Brady finished 23-of-31 for 223 yards, a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown. Manning finished 31-of-44 and 345 yards and three touchdowns. The Patriots set a new franchise record with 35 first downs.
Stevan Ridley became the first Patriots running back to rush for over 100 yards in consecutive games since Laurence Maroney in 2007, carrying the ball 28 times for 151 yards. In winning their second straight, New England improved to 3-2 and gained sole possession of first place in the AFC East, pending Monday night's game between the Jets and Texans at MetLife Stadium.
Rob Ninkovich had a strip-sack that led to a Vince Wilfork recovery and forced a critical Willis McGahee fumble as the Broncos were deep in Patriots territory and down just 10 with four minutes left. McGahee, a drive earlier, dropped a certain first down on fourth-and-1 to help the Patriots survive a shaky fourth quarter that began with them leading 31-7.
With Manning coming out throwing on the first four plays of the game and moving the Broncos down the field, Sterling Moore - as he did in the AFC Championship - came up with a key play of the game. A wide open Demaryius Thomas caught a 43-yard pass from Manning over the middle and rambled down to the Patriots 10. But Moore came up from behind, caught Thomas and poked the ball free. Moore scrambled to his feet and recovered the ball at the Patriots 3 and returned it to the 16.
Brady was able to move it to the 31 before the Patriots were forced to punt. After a Broncos punt, the Patriots offense took control using the no-huddle offense. Brady orchestrated TD drives of 84 and 80 yards, totaling 12 and 14 plays respectively. Brady hit Wes Welker in the left flat for a 6-yard TD to get scoring underway in the first quarter.
Manning responded with a long drive of his own, using a 19-yard passing interference call on Devin McCourty in end zone to set up a 1-yard TD strike to Joel Dreesen. Brady came back and marched down the field. After a 9-yard completion to Brandon Lloyd inches shy of the goal line, Shane Vereen ran it in for his second career TD and a 14-7 Patriots lead.
The Patriots were pinned at their own 1-yard line when Brady led a 16-play drive that had New England first and goal at the Denver 9. But the drive stalled and the Patriots had to settle for a 23-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal that gave them a 17-7 halftime lead. Welker had nine catches on 10 targets in the first half for 71 yards. The nine catches are the most he's ever had in his career in the first half.
After going three-and-out for the first time to open the second half, Brady got the ball back and led the team on another 16-play drive, capped off when he dove over the middle from one yard for the TD. The Patriots scored 18 seconds later after Ninkovich strip-sacked Manning lead to Ridley touchdown run of six yards.
It was the 65th straight game the Patriots won at home when leading at halftime. The Patriots hit the road again next Sunday, as they take on the Seahawks in Seattle before returning home on the 21st to take on the Jets.
Dale, Michael and Jerry dig into the details of this draft for the Patriots with ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Giardi and Price discuss the Tom Brady appeal getting overturned and Roger Goodell's victory tour. The guys can't believe the victory lap and some of his behavior. The more you listen to him, the more frustrating his behavior becomes.
Giardi and Price break down how the teams in the AFC East altered their futures after the NFL Draft weekend.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Danny Ainge joins Glenn and Christian to explain the Celtics draft process; and he also discusses the trade rumors that permeated the night.
Mut is flying solo the last hour, but he's giving reaction and analysis as the Celtics draft a power forward out of France by the name of Guerschon Yabusele and getting some early grades for the Celtics
We check in with the manager of the Boston Red Sox, John Farrell joins us live from Tampa for our weekly update on all things Sox.
Eduardo Rodriguez and the Sox stumbled in their 13-7 loss to the Rays. Mut recaps the game and takes your calls on all things Boston baseball.
Christian recaps the Red Sox 6-2 loss to the Rangers.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Kirk Minihane's Thursday Headlines welcome interns Tim and Conor to dicuss their trip to the Trump luncheon in downtown Boston.
A guest appearance by Chris Simms on WFAN with Boomer Esiason forces John, Gerry and Kirk back down the DeflateGate wormhole.
The Olympics in Brazil might have a few strange characters around, plus the guys discuss some changes in WEEI management and the sales staff bringing them breakfast
WEEI Bruins Reporter DJ Bean joins Glenn and Lou to talk about the B's waiving Dennis Seidenberg, and the Jacob Trouba rumors.
Glenn and Lou try to figure out what the Sox can do to right the ship
We discuss the moves (or lack thereof) of the Bruins so far, and how fans have been less than receptive to the few changes.
Should he stay or should he go? We discuss it.
Inspired by "Social Media Day" we look at four instances where athletes do it the best (or worst) on social media.
Kirk Minihane talks to Antoine Walker about his troubles with gambling, losing his $100m fortune, his relationship with Paul Pierce, and playing under Rick Pitino.
Former Celtics General Manager Jan Volk joins Kirk Minihane for a discussion that any Celtics fan will love. Kirk and Jan talk about the legendary 85/86 Celtics and how the team was constructed and of course the decision to draft Len Bias and his tragic death.
Kirk Minihane sits down with John Tomase to talk about the current political landscape, John's desire to write about social issues, and of course Spygate is discussed.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin talks to Boston University defenseman Charlie McAvoy about getting drafted 14th overall by the Boston Bruins.
Ben, Russ and Alex start the show by discussing the breaking news that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is headed to Manchester United. They also continue to cover the EURO's and Iceland's improbable run through the tourney. And of course, inevitably, they address Lionel Messi's announcement that he is retiring from Argentina.
The guys finish the show bantering about Max Kellerman apparently getting the Skip Bayless job, Iceland's win over England in the Euro 2016, and Caitlyn Jenner on SIMore from this show
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