FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Entering the final quarter of play, the Patriots trail the Broncos 24-21, storming back from a 24-point deficit at halftime to make this a close game. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the third quarter.
1. Offense starts fast, Edelman scores. After a forgettable first half, the Patriots offense came out on fire, scoring just 3:39 into the third quarter on a throw from Tom Brady to Julian Edelman. It was Edelman's third touchdown catch of the season. The drive was aided by a long pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski.
2. Fletcher forces fumble, Bolden scores. Linebacker Dane Fletcher dislodged the football from Broncos running back Montee Ball on a screen pass and fellow linebacker Brandon Spikes recovered it in Denver territory. The Patriots offense quickly capitalized, scoring from 1 yard out on a Brandon Bolden rush to cut the lead to 24-14 at the time.
3. Gronk scores, narrows deficit. The Patriots offense went 3-for-3 in terms of drives and touchdowns scored in the third quarter. Gronkowski scored his fourth touchdown of the season on a 5-yard throw from Brady. A 24-point deficit has quickly been cut to just three points entering the fourth quarter.
4. Defense doing its job. The Patriots defense has more than held its own thus far in the game, and has stunted the Broncos in the second half. The defense has forced a fumble and a punt on two Denver drives. The Broncos have yet to establish much a passing rhythm.
5. Penalty box. No Patriots were flagged for a penalty during the third quarter.