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Key Moment: Patriots force three turnovers in the second quarter to take command against the Broncos

12.18.11 at 8:30 pm ET
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This fumble forced by Patriots defensive end Mark Anderson helped to turn Sunday's game. (AP)

For the Patriots, the key moments in Sunday’s eventful 41-23 win over the Broncos came in the second quarter during a remarkable sequence where Denver turned the ball over three times and New England turned those into 13 points to take control of the game.

•On the first turnover (which came with 8:37 left in the first half and the Broncos leading 16-14), Denver running back Lance Ball was tied up by linebacker Dane Fletcher and the ball was knocked away by defensive lineman Ron Brace and the fumble was recovered nicely by Rob Ninkovich at the Denver 19. New England quickly turned that into a 21-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski to make it 17-16 in favor of the Patriots.

•On the Broncos’ next possession — three plays after the Gostkowski field goal — defensive end Mark Anderson poked the ball away from Denver quarterback Tim Tebow (he also recovered the football) at the 4:32 mark. The Patriots turned that into a touchdown with a one-yard plunge from quarterback Tom Brady that made it 24-16 with 1:12 left in the first half. (That drive was highlighted by a 25-yard pass play from Brady to Aaron Hernandez on a fourth-and-2 to get New England down to the Denver six.)

•And with 14 seconds remaining in the half, Denver punt returner Quan Cosby fumbled away a punt return. Again, the Patriots took advantage, with Gostkowski adding his second field goal of the afternoon, a 34-yarder to make it 27-16 at the half.

It was part of a 20-point second quarter for the Patriots that turned a 13-7 deficit into a 27-16 halftime lead, and set the stage for New England’s victory that ended up sealing the win.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Dane Fletcher, Lance Ball, Mark Anderson Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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