“It was a big challenge — playing without guys, getting guys hurt, moving around, had some guys that haven’t played together much, hadn’t practiced together much,” he said. “So we need to get on the field. We need to practice. We need to develop some continuity as a team.”
Denver Coach Vic Fangio praised his team, which had not played for 17 days, for its ability to overcome the frequent distractions this month.
“You’re mad, you’re disappointed, you’re frustrated, and you wonder why,” Fangio said, describing the mood of his players and himself. “Five minutes later you take a deep breath and you move on. I’ve tried to get the guys to think that way, and I think they have.”
Trailing by 18-3 with about 10 minutes remaining in the final quarter, Newton bulled into the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Belichick chose to go for a 2-point conversion and called for a pass with only two receivers in the formation. When both intended targets were covered, Newton dashed for the end zone but was tripped up short of the goal line.
On the next Denver possession, a miscommunication between Lock and wide receiver Tim Patrick led to an interception by cornerback J.C. Jackson. Though they took over at the Broncos’ 25-yard line, the Patriots lost 7 yards on three plays and settled for a 38-yard Nick Folk field goal to cut Denver’s lead to 18-12.