FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The final error in a game filled with mistakes helped the
"We had some plays in the first half that didn't go our way so it was nice to get a good bounce and we needed it," said quarterback
The Patriots lost fumbles on their first three possessions, but Brady threw for three touchdowns to lead the Patriots (8-3) from a 24-0 halftime deficit to a 31-24 lead as New England scored on its first five possessions of the second half. Then
But Carter's gaffe was the third lost fumble for the Broncos in the second half.
The early turnovers helped Denver to a big halftime advantage, but the Patriots took the lead when Brady hit
"We calmed down. We played each play one play at time," Edelman said of the difference in the second part of the game. "We didn't turn the ball over in the second half."
But Manning, who had thrown for only 73 yards in the first 31/2 quarters, led the Broncos on an 80-yard drive. Twice the Broncos were rescued by penalties: First when a holding penalty negated an interception, and when a pass interference on third and seven from the Patriots 17 gave Denver a first down.
On the next play, Manning lobbed one to Thomas in the left corner of the end zone to tie it.
Brady led the Patriots to three straight touchdowns in the third quarter to cut Denver's lead to 24-21 heading into the fourth. He was 21 of 26 for 228 yards and three touchdowns in the second half of the much-heralded matchup with Manning.
Brady led New England 80 yards for a touchdown to open the second half, thanks to a 33-yard completion to
A six-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski with 19 seconds left in the third quarter cut the Broncos' lead to 24-21.
When New England got the ball back, it held onto it for only two plays before
Instead, Denver settled for
On a night with a kickoff temperature of 20 degrees and a wind chill of six, Manning completed 11 of 17 passes for 73 yards in the first three quarters and Moreno ran 25 times for 139 yards.
New England had lost five fumbles all season coming into the game and was sixth in the NFL in net turnovers. But
Denver had a turnover of its own after forcing New England to punt right before the half.