Broncos force 3 fumbles for 17-0 lead after 1Q

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 24, 2013
Von Miller recovered a fumble, dodged Tom Brady's half-hearted attempt at a tackle and ran 60 yards for a touchdown as the Denver Broncos forced fumbles on New England's first three possessions to open a 17-0 lead over the Patriots through one quarter on Sunday night. The much-heralded matchup between Brady and Peyton Manning in frigid Foxborough was dominated early on by the Broncos defense. And Miller was at the center of the two biggest plays early on, adding a strip sack of Brady on the Patriots' next possession to set up Knowshon Moreno's 2-yard TD run. When New England (7-3) got the ball back, it held onto it for just two plays before LeGarrette Blount had the ball knocked loose by safety Duke Ihenacho. Linebacker Danny Trevathan fell on it and was ruled down by contact, negating a return that would have had the Broncos at the Patriots 11. Instead, Denver (9-1) settled for Matt Prater's 27-yard field goal that made it 17-0. The Patriots had lost five fumbles all season coming into the game and were sixth in the NFL in net turnovers. But Ridley, who coughed it up on the opening drive, has fumbled in three consecutive games, losing two. The temperature of 20 degrees - with a wind chill of 6 - and winds blowing at 22 mph may have made it difficult for the Patriots to hold onto the ball. It also could have been the reason that first the play clocks and then the game clocks went out, forcing the referees to keep the official time on the field. (The clocks came back early in the second quarter.) Brady and Manning have six regular-season MVP awards between them and three more in the Super Bowl, where they've combined to win four NFL championships. It's the 14th time they've met, with Brady holding a 9-4 edge. This time, though, Manning has former Patriots receiver Wes Welker on his side. Brady's longtime favorite target went to Denver as a free agent and he entered the game as the Broncos' leading receiver with 61 catches. Manning attempted just four passes in the first quarter, completing three for 14 yards - including a 5-yarder to Welker. Brady was 5 for 8 for 43 yards in the first. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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