McManus’ 6 FGs Lift Broncos over Pats in COVID-Delayed Game
Denver kicker Brandon McManus had six field goals and linebacker Malik Reed came up with a big sack late to help the Broncos hold on for an 18-12 win over the New England Patriots Sunday in a game twice delayed following positive coronavirus tests for both teams.
Sunday's game was originally scheduled for last week but got postponed twice, first by a day, then by seven. The delay was caused after multiple Patriots players tested positive for COVID-19, including quarterback Cam Newton and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore.
New England (2-3) rallied from an 18-3 deficit and nearly pulled off the comeback, but had three turnovers.
Drew Lock finished 10 of 24 for 189 yards in his first start since injuring his shoulder in Denver's Week 2 loss to Pittsburgh. He was steady early, but had back-to-back interceptions in the fourth quarter to let the Patriots back into the game.
Denver's defense entered the game with two takeaways on the season. It forced three on Sunday, coming up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
It underscored a rough day for New England, which was held to 288 yards.
It was the first game back for Newton, who returned after missing New England's Week 4 loss at Kansas City. He finished 17 of 25 for 157 yards. He also rushed 10 times for 76 yards and touchdown.
The Broncos' win snapped a four-game losing streak in New England.
Denver (2-3) won despite being without leading rusher Melvin Gordon and top pass catcher Noah Fant, who was out with an ankle injury. Phillip Lindsay started in Gordon's place and rushed 23 times for 101 yards. Tim Patrick had four catches for 101 yards.
McManus, who connected on field goals of 52 and 54 yards, now has six games with multiple 50-yard field goals. That is tied with Baltimore's Justin Tucker for the most in NFL history.
After taking a 15-3 lead early in the third quarter, the Broncos defense came up with a second turnover when Ryan Izzo caught a pass over the middle but was stripped by cornerback Michael Ojemudia. Justin Simmons recovered the fumble, giving the ball to Denver on the New England 42.
McManus connected on his 54-yarder field goal four plays later to stretch Denver's lead.
The Patriots closed the gap to 18-9 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Newton with 8:31 left in the fourth. But he was stopped short on the ensuing 2-point conversion.
New England got another chance when Lock's pass intended for Patrick was picked off by J.C. Jackson and returned 30 yards to the Denver 25. Nick Folk connected on a 38-yard field goal four plays later to make it 18-12 with 3:23 remaining.
This time Denver's ensuing drive lasted just one play when another long pass attempt from Lock to Patrick was intercepted by Jonathan Jones.
Newton went to work, connecting with Julian Edelman for a 22-yard gain to get to the 50.
After a trio of short passes, Newton then plowed forward for 4 yards on fourth-and-1 at the Denver 41 to keep the drive going.
Newton was then involved in a trick play when Edelman found him on a 16-yard gain to get inside the Denver 25.
Denver's Malik Reed sacked Newton for a 6-yard loss. Newton then completed a 6-yard pass to James White setting up a fourth-and-10 on the Denver 24.
Receiver N'Keal Harry got separation, but Newton's pass was well wide, turning the ball over on downs.
Broncos: WR Diontae Spencer left the game with a shoulder issue. ... LB Josh Watson left the game with a hamstring issue. ... G Dalton Risner also left with a shoulder injury.
Patriots: Right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor needed assistance getting off the field after an ankle injury late in the first quarter and didn't return. . Defensive lineman Adam Butler left in the second quarter with an elbow injury.
Denver returns home to host the Chiefs next Sunday.
The Patriots host the 49ers on Sunday.