Rapid Reaction: Patriots 31, Broncos 21

October, 7, 2012
10/07/12
7:35
PM ET

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at a game in which the Denver Broncos couldn’t hang with the New England Patriots:

What it means: The Broncos fell to 2-3. All of their losses have been against quality teams. The Broncos are clearly not ready to play with the big boys. Miscues on offense and big plays against the defense doomed Denver on Sunday.

Manning vs. Brady: This loss wasn’t on Peyton Manning. He was very good. He threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns and wasn't intercepted. But in the end, his record against Tom Brady is now 4-9. Going into the game, Manning had won four of the past six meetings with New England. Manning is 2-9 at New England.

Defense suffers on third down: After improving in the area against Oakland last week, Denver wilted on third down against the Patriots. New England converted 11 of 17 times on third down. Denver was particularly porous on run defense. New England had 251 yard rushing; it had 35 first downs, which set a team record.

Mixed day for Thomas: Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas had nine catches for 188 yards. However, he fumbled on Denver’s opening drive deep in New England territory. It totally changed the momentum of the game. It was Thomas’ third fumble in as many games. Thomas had some huge plays in this game, but he has to stop fumbling.

McGahee’s woes: McGahee dropped a first down on a short pass in the fourth quarter and then fumbled deep in New England territory with less than four minutes remaining with Denver trailing 31-21. He is a pro and knows better than that.

What’s next: Denver plays at the San Diego Chargers on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” in Week 6 in a pivotal AFC West game.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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