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Week 10 Game Recap: New England Patriots 41, Denver Broncos 16


What you need to know

New England Patriots

-It appears Mike Gillislee is the odd man out of the backfield for now with all running backs healthy. -Tom Brady had a very clean pocket for much of the day. The Broncos pass rush hasn't been what it once was, but hopefully, this is a sign of things to come. -The Patriots controlled this game from the start, so the passing game didn't need to fire off 50 passes to win.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos were woeful in all facets of the game, most of all special teams. Isaiah McKenzie fumbled and lost a punt less than three minutes into the game, and the Patriots scored two plays later. Denver's kickoff team allowed Dion Lewis to return a kickoff for a touchdown before the 1st quarter ended, and Denver's punt team had a punt blocked in the 2nd quarter. Kicker McManus was 3/3 on field goal attempts.

New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 34 - 266 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0
With good protection, complementary defensive and special teams plays, and all-around success, Tom Brady had it easy against the Broncos, something which almost never happens. Brady never really needed to put his foot on the gas, as the Patriots ran away with the game from the start, sporting a 27-9 lead at halftime. Brady was efficient, especially when targeting Broncos linebackers in coverage, a matchup he exploited continually. Over half his completions went to backs or tight ends, as he took what the defense gave him. His first touchdown was to Rex Burkhead, who beat a defender on a slant route that he first sold like an out route. His second was an 11 yard out route to Dwayne Allen on a play that was actually Allen's first catch of the season. His final touchdown was an easy one to James White thanks to some great juking by the running back. The Pats did do a better job of converting in the red zone, something that has been underwhelming this year. Brady could have also had a fourth touchdown to Rob Gronkowski, but the play was called incomplete when it likely shouldn't have been. All in all, this is the type of performance Brady wants clean, efficient, and not too high stress.

RB Dion Lewis, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 55 - 1
Lewis rotated in and out of the lineup, and though he was the best runner on the day, his impact was most felt on a 103 yard kickoff return touchdown. It was simply a case of wheels and good blocking, as so many return touchdowns are. Lewis also ran in a touchdown from 8 yards from the shotgun formation, which opened up a bit more room on the play. He wasn't involved in the passing game, but is clearly one of the lead rushing backs now for the Pats.

RB Rex Burkhead, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 36 - 0, Rec: 3 - 27 - 1 (3 targets)
Burkhead played a featured role throughout the game in Week 10, displaying his versatility above all else. He caught a few passes, including one on a slant route for a 14 yard touchdown. He carried the ball with some success. Most importantly, he blocked a punt that set the Patriots up for a score. Now that he's healthy, Burkhead will clearly have a role with the team.

RB James White, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 3 - 11 - 1 (3 targets)
White didn't need to be involved much in the game, as the Patriots controlled it from the outset. He did score a short touchdown on a beautiful stutter move, but beyond that, wasn't heard from much.

RB Mike Gillislee
As his play as dipped as of late, Gillislee was a gameday inactive. This was notable because he didn't appear to be hurt, and Rex Burkhead was reactivated off injury.

WR Brandin Cooks, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 74 - 0 (11 targets)
After a quiet first half, Cooks was much more involved later in the game, being targeted on several intermediate and deep passes. His long was a 27 yard chunk play, and he handled his tough cornerback assignments well, most notably using his speed on routes he won. His arrow is pointing up as long as Chris Hogan is out of the lineup with injury.

WR Danny Amendola, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (4 targets)
Facing off against Chris Harris for a large part of the game, Amendola didn't make much noise against the Broncos, but that was mostly due to the aforementioned matchup. Tom Brady simply had better places to go with the ball.

TE Rob Gronkowski, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 74 - 0 (7 targets)
Though his stat line doesn't look huge, Gronk narrowly missed out on a much bigger one. Tom Brady threw a deep pass to his tight end, and it was called an incompletion. However, the pass likely should have been called complete, though replay was apparently inconclusive for the refs. Regardless, the Broncos paid special attention to Gronk, often double covering him with a safety and linebacker or some combo of two defenders. It did free up other offensive players, which shows how Gronk impacts games even when he doesn't have gaudy touchdown totals.


Denver Broncos

QB Brock Osweiler, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 33 - 221 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0
Poor special teams play early in the contest dug the Broncos into a hole that Osweiler just wasn't able to pull them out of. Osweiler led a couple of scoring drives early, leaning on a solid connection with Emmanuel Sanders. Unfortunately, Denver couldn't find the end zone and settled for field goals while the Patriots racked up touchdowns.

Osweiler finally found Demaryius Thomas for a touchdown late in the 3rd quarter, dropping back into the pocket while Thomas boxed his defender out on a crossing route for the score from the New England 7. Osweiler was intercepted by safety Patrick Chung late in the 4th after making a questionable throw to TE Heuerman, who was double covered on an out route.

RB C.J. Anderson, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 54 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets)
The Denver backfield situation continues to evolve into a three-way committee. Anderson was the most effective on a per-carry average. Anderson received 10 carries, and Charles and Booker 8 each. Anderson broke a 21 yard run right up the middle late in the 1st quarter, his longest carry of the day. Anderson punched the ball into the end zone in the 3rd quarter after cutting a run back left and racing a linebacker to the pylon, but the play was negated by a holding penalty on the offensive line.

Anderson caught a short out route in the 2nd quarter, his only target of the day.

RB Devontae Booker, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 24 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)
Booker entered the game late in the 1st and played nearly as many snaps as Anderson for the second week in a row. However, he posted a lower per-carry average on his 8 carries than Charles or Anderson. Booker did not get his usual work in the passing game, catching his lone target for a five yard gain. Booker continues to return kickoffs as well.

RB Jamaal Charles, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 38 - 0 (1 targets)
Charles entered the game late in the 1st quarter near the Patriots red zone. He was targeted on an out route from the backfield on 3rd and long, but couldn't haul in a difficult over-the-shoulder pass from Osweiler against tight coverage. Charles broke an 11 yard run up the middle in the 3rd quarter, his longest of the contest. Charles carried the ball down to the Patriots 7 yard line on a dive right up the middle later in the 3rd, setting up a Demaryius Thomas touchdown catch on the next play.

WR Emmanuel Sanders, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 137 - 0 (11 targets)
Sanders appears to have returned to form after an ankle injury caused him to miss a few starts this season. In addition to creating space and getting open downfield, he did a fantastic job running the ball after the catch. Sanders broke quite a few tackles on his shorter receptions, racking up yards after the catch. He came out hot, amassing nearly 100 yards before the 1st quarter ended. He got open for a gain of 31 down the left sideline on Osweiler's first pass attempt of the day. He caught another deep curl down the right sideline and broke a tackle for a nice run after the catch later in the drive. Sanders converted 3rd and long later in the 1st with a 38 yard catch and run on a slant from the right slot. Sanders made a beautiful leaping catch over a defender midway through the 2nd quarter, and another toe-tapper on the sideline that same drive, putting him over the 100 yard mark before halftime. Sanders had a step on his defender in the end zone just before the half, but Osweiler put too much air under the ball, sailing it out the back of the end zone. Sanders converted another 3rd and long in the 3rd quarter by getting wide open on an out route, but cooled considerably in the 2nd half.

WR Demaryius Thomas, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 44 - 1 (8 targets)
Thomas lined up in the backfield and hauled in his first target, a swing pass for a minimal gain in the 1st. Thomas was targeted again on a short out route later in the 1st, nearly breaking a tackle for a bigger gain. Osweiler found Thomas for Denver's only touchdown of the day in the 3rd quarter. Lined up on the 7 yard line, Thomas split out wide right and worked his way inside on a crossing route, using his big frame to box out his defender for the score. Thomas had a nice stiff-arm on an out route later in the 4th, picking up extra yardage after the catch. Thomas finished well behind Sanders in catches and yards, but managed to save his fantasy performance with the TD.

WR Cody Latimer, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (5 targets)
Latimer caught a shallow crossing route in the 3rd, turning it up the sideline for a short gain. Osweiler found him on a short curl route from the left slot later in the 4th quarter.

Latimer secured one last throw on an out route from the left slot, ending his day with the third highest yardage and target totals on the team.

TE Jeff Heuerman, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (3 targets)
Heuerman split out to the left slot and got his hands on a seam route in the 3rd quarter, but a defender smacked him in the chest before he could bring the pass down, jarring the ball loose. Osweiler hit him on a shallow out route two plays later for a gain of 4. Heuerman was the target on Osweiler's 4th quarter interception, a questionable pass that was thrown into double coverage.

TE A.J. Derby, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets)
Derby caught a short crossing route towards the end of the 2nd quarter for a minimal gain. Osweiler hasn't shown the same fondness for Derby that Siemian displayed, instead peppering Sanders and Thomas with nearly all his targets.