Patriots up big at halftime, lead Broncos 27-9

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Having lost four straight and five of their last six games, the Denver Broncos were faced with the unenviable task of slowing down the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots Sunday night. The Patriots started the season 2-2 but rebounded with wins over Tampa Bay, the Jets, Atlanta and the Chargers.

The Broncos' offense stepped up on the next series and it ended with a field goal. Quarterback Tom Brady has thrown for 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions to lead the Patriots this season.

Rookie Isaiah McKenzie, who has seen his first National Football League season turn into a bit of a recurring nightmare of dropped punts, muffed the Patriots' first punt of the game, one that came after a stadium rocking three-and-out forced by the Broncos' defense.

Brady finished the game with 266 yards passing and three touchdowns, completing 25 of his 34 pass attempts.

It was the first in a slew of special teams breakdowns that were costly for the Broncos.

An Denver Broncos fan watches the game with a small dog during a game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 12, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.

Two plays after the muffed punt, Burkhead got a step on safety Darian Stewart on a crossing pattern and Brady hit him in stride for a 14-yard touchdown pass. With Gillislee inactive, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, James White and Brandon Bolden are the team's four running backs.

NOTES: Patriots WR Matthew Slater went out in the first half with a hamstring injury.

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