When you travel to take on the New England Patriots, the first key to securing the victory is ball security. You can't turn the ball over. Unfortunately, Peyton Manning tossed an interception to Rob Ninkovich in the 2nd quarter that led to a Julian Edelman touchdown.
Another key is playing disciplined football, which the Broncos have not done. They've already been penalized 5 times for 40 yards. And in a game as big as this, you have to execute. The Broncos have failed here in all three phases. They allowed a 84-yard punt return for a touchdown by Edelman.
Brandon McManus missed a field goal that could have narrowed the Patriots lead to 10. The Broncos clearly don't trust him, as they later chose to go for it on 4th down, in field goal range, with under 3 minutes to go in the half, which resulted in a sack.
Unlike their 2013 matchup with the Patriots, the Broncos have been unable to run the ball with any effectiveness. Ronnie Hillman has carried the ball 7 times for only 12 yards, but he did get team's lone touchdown in the 1st quarter. Missing their best blocking tight end, Virgil Green, the Broncos have been unsuccessful in opening holes for Hillman. And it's rendering the offense one-dimensional.
One bright spot for the Broncos has been Emmanuel Sanders, who has caught 6 balls, for 89 yards. Demaryius Thomas has also played well, with 3 receptions for 44 yards. Another side effect to losing Green, has been Julius Thomas staying in to block more often than the Broncos would like.
The Broncos defense started the game well, forcing 2 punts, but they've received little help from the Manning and the offense. They've been unable to get consistent pressure on Brady. And being on the field so much has gassed them.
The Patriots deferred to start the game, which means that they'll get the ball to start the 2nd half. The Broncos need halftime to reevaluate their approach and get their minds right. No matter which way you cut it, the Patriots came to play today, dominating the Broncos with their physicality. Again, the Broncos seem to struggle against that level of competition.