Patriots30314 -- 20Broncos02170 -- 28
Jake Plummer looked more like a playmaker than a caretaker. New England looked more like a team in disarray than the NFL's reigning dynasty.
Plummer showed some big-play capability for the first time this season, hitting on throws of 72 and 55 yards to help Denver win at home over the two-time defending champion.
Tatum Bell had a 68-yard run and finished with 114 yards, as the Broncos won their fifth straight.
The Patriots fell behind by 25 early in the third quarter. With Tom Brady picking on the young Denver secondary, the Patriots pulled within eight and had the ball late. But Brady threw three straight incompletions and after a punt, Denver ran the final 31/2 minutes off the clock.
Plummer hit Rod Smith for 72 yards and Ashley Lelie for 55, getting ample time to set up, then finding both wide receivers streaking down the middle.
The two long passes and Bell's big run all set up touchdowns that gave the Broncos a 21-3 lead before halftime.
New England's unraveling reached its peak on the last play of the first half when Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins was ejected for taking a cheap shot on Ebenezer Ekuban, hitting him below the belt after Adam Vinatieri missed a 53-yard field goal.
New England: FG Vinatieri 39, 5:37.
Denver: Bell 3 run (Elam kick), 12:36.
Denver: R.Smith 6 pass from Plummer (Elam kick), 7:52.
Denver: K.Johnson 1 pass from Plummer (Elam kick), :48.
Denver: M.Anderson, 2 run (Elam kick), 10:36.
New England: FG Vinatieri 38, 5:53.
New England: Pass, 8 run (Vinatieri kick), 14:56.
New England: Givens 8 pass from Brady (Vinatieri kick), 8:01.
PatriotsBroncosFirst Downs 2220Total Net Yards 388432Rushes-Yards 19-8934-178Passing 299254Punt Returns 6-383-8Kickoff Returns 2-322-30Interceptions Ret. 0-00-0Comp-Att-Int 24-46-017-24-0Sacked-Yards Lost 0-01-8Punts 7-51.67-52.3Fumbles-Lost 1-01-0Penalties-Yards 8-5511-82Time Of Possession 27:4332:17 RUSHING
New England: Pass 10-64, Zereoue 7-14, Brady 1-12, Dwight 1-(minus 1).
Denver: Bell 13-114, M.Anderson 15-57, Plummer 5-6, K.Johnson 1-1.
New England: Brady 24-46-0-299.
Denver: Plummer 17-24-262.
New England: Branch 7-87, Givens 7-58, Pass 6-89, Dwight 1-49, Watson 1-6, Graham 1-5, Zereoue 1-5.
Denver: R.Smith 6-123, Lelie 3-81, Putzier 3-32, Bell 3-20, Alexander 1-5, K.Johnson 1-1.
MISSED FIELD GOALS
New England: Vinatieri 53 (WR).