BOSTON teams

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

A muffed punt by undrafted rookie WR Chris Harper, which the Broncos recovered early in the fourth quarter, was turned into a touchdown as Denver has sliced the Patriots lead to 21-14. The Patriots would normally have Julian Edelman or Danny Amendola back to field the punt in that situation, but both are out with injuries. Harpers muff could ultimately be a turning point in the game, as the Patriots had looked ready to take control at that point.


Brady ties Marino with long TD pass

With Tom Brady's 63-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Bolden in the 4th quarter against Denver, it marked his 420th career TD pass, which ties Dan Marino for 3rd all-time.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

RB Brandon Bolden's 63-yard catch-and-run TD early in the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a 21-7 lead over the Broncos was a good example of the Patriots going deep into their options. Up to that point in the game, Bolden had played just nine snaps, as LeGarrette Blount (20) and James White (19) were used more at RB. Brady had connected with Bolden on an 18-yard TD against Washington on Nov. 8, also down the right side. That play had come after Dion Lewis left the game with a torn ACL.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

The Patriots lead the Broncos 14-7 after three quarters, with the teams playing a scoreless 15 minutes after halftime. Its been a field-position game, with both punters playing important roles. For the Patriots, its been a struggle on offense as they cant seem to find something that consistently works for them, in part because the running game hasnt been something they can turn to regularly. Its anyones game over the final 15 minutes (and perhaps longer).

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

PATRIOTS 14, BRONCOS 7 (halftime): The Patriots got off to a fast start to take a 14-0 lead, before the Broncos got back into the game late in the second quarter with a touchdown drive aided by the Patriots losing starting linebacker Donta Hightower to a knee injury for the final two plays of that march. Hightower, who is leading the defensive huddle and is a three-down player, is questionable to return with a knee injury. The Patriots get the ball to open the second half after winning the opening toss.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots announce that LB Dont'a Hightower has a knee injury and is questionable to return.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots LB Donta Hightower left for the locker room at the 2-minute warning after sustaining what appeared to be a leg injury on the Broncos touchdown drive late in the second quarter. Hightower is calling the defensive signals and leading the huddle tonight. He is a three-down player. In his absence, Jonathan Freeny bumps up to the No. 1 role, followed by Jerod Mayo.

Patriots' playoff picture is pristine

The undefeated Patriots are playing Sunday night against Denver in a showdown that should help shape the top of the AFC playoff picture. Playoff picture

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

The Patriots lead the Broncos 7-0 after the first quarter and a fast start was the key. The kickoff coverage unit got it started, then the defense forced the Broncos into a three-and-out, turning it over to the offense. Four plays later, Rob Gronkowski was in the end zone and the team had an early 7-0 lead. One of the key plays of the opening quarter was Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler taking a 14-yard sack on third down to push Denver out of field-goal range.

Chris Forsberg ESPN Staff Writer 

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas surprised by news that Kobe Bryant announced this is his final season: He did? That sucks. I'm definitely going to try to get his jersey before he calls it quits. He's the best player in my era. The game will miss him. He's one of the best players ever. Dang. That's my favorite player, so that hurts.

Chris Forsberg ESPN Staff Writer 

Jae Crowder with strong words after Celtics lose in Orlando: We haven't built our identity yet as a unit. Coaching staff hasnt figured it out yet. We dont have set rotations. A lot of guys dont know where were going to play or what time were going to play. Its affecting us a little bit. Weve got to figure it out as a unit, figure it out as a coaching staff. We gotta build our identity in who we want to be. Were a month into the season and we havent figured it out.

Magic beat Celtics for third straight win (0:46)

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Rob Gronkowskis touchdown reception to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead in the first quarter against the Broncos is the 63rd receiving touchdown of his career. That breaks a tie with Shannon Sharpe for third place on the all-time NFL list for a TE. Tony Gonzalez (111) and Antonio Gates (101) are No. 1 and No. 2 on that list.

Getty Images, US TODAY Sports

Patriots (10-0) at Broncos (8-2), 8:30 p.m. ET

Brock Osweiler will make the 2nd start of his career. Since 2001, quarterbacks in their first or second career start are 1-8 against Bill Belichicks Patriots. The only QB to beat New England within his first two career starts in that span was Mark Sanchez in 2009. Follow live

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots inactive players: S Jordan Richards, DE Trey Flowers, LB Jamie Collins, TE Michael Williams, CB Justin Coleman, WR Danny Amendola, WR Julian Edelman. Of the seven, Richards and Flowers were the new additions, as Collins, Williams, Coleman, Amendola and Edelman had been declared out by Saturday night.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Early look at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, where the Broncos host the Patriots. Cold and potential light snowfall by 8:30 p.m. ET kickoff. Patriots 12-0 in snow games under Bill Belichick.

Massachusetts High School Sports

  • Brendan C. Hall/
  • State Semifinal Saturday

    Ten teams punched their ticket to next month's MIAA Football State Championships at Gillette Stadium. Check out ESPNBoston High Schools' coverage from across the state.

  • Jim Valente for ESPN
  • Statewide MIAA football Top 25 poll


    Our weekly ranking of the best teams in the state, as selected by our panel of staff writers and correspondents. (Updated 10/26)