Von Miller: Broncos defense ‘didn’t execute’ against uptempo Patriots offense
|10.07.12 at 10:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The last time Tom Brady and Peyton Manning met was on Nov. 21, 2010 — a game where the Patriots beat the Colts, 31-28. In that one, Brady threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns, while Manning racked up 396 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
On Sunday, Manning made his first trip back to Foxboro since that loss in 2010, this time with his new Broncos teammates. Each team entered Sunday’s contest with identical 2-2 records, but Manning’s Broncos weren’t as prepared as they had hoped for the up-tempo pace of the Patriots’ no-huddle. The Patriots went ahead early and did not relinquish the lead, winning 31-21 at Gillette Stadium.
After the game, Broncos linebacker Von Miller said that his defense was prepared from watching film all week long for the fast-paced offense Brady and the Patriots ran, but his defense just didn’t execute well enough to come out on top.
‘They’re a good offense — we knew that coming into the game,’ Miller said. ‘We were prepared for the type of offense we knew they were going to run. We didn’t execute — another week we didn’t execute — and we put ourselves in situations that we can’t get out of.’
Although Manning put up solid numbers (31-of-44, 345 yards and three touchdowns), most of the damage done by him was in the second half. The key for the Patriots was a mix of effective running and passing plays — something the Broncos couldn’t accomplish. Willis McGahee finished the day with 51 yards on 14 carries and a crucial fumble inside the Patriots’ 15-yard line with less than four minutes left to play.
Broncos head coach John Fox said after the game that the inability to stop New England’s fast-paced offense was a mixture of personnel, lack of communication and lining up in the wrong positions.
‘It’s not new; they have been doing this for a long, long time,’ Fox said. ‘They just have a good, solid group together doing it, so they communicate very well. And obviously [the Patriots] communicated better than we did.’
The Patriots set a franchise-record with 35 first downs in the game, a sign that the offense executed plays to keep Manning on the sidelines. Manning said the Patriots’ offense “certainly did a good job of staying on the field.”
“They had to have won the number of possessions, at least in the first half it seems like,” Manning said. “They did a good job of converting on third down and minimized our possessions, but we knew it was coming, and it was going to be important for us to be efficient with our possessions and get touchdowns and not field goals, and to convert on third downs. … Anytime you’re playing a good football team you have to be able to convert opportunities when they present themselves, and we had some chances, and [we] just didn’t do it overall consistently today.”
Defensive back Champ Bailey said that one play in particular really sucked the life out of the Broncos defense: Danny Woodhead‘s 19-yard first down run on a third-and-17. That drive ultimately led to Brady’s 1-yard touchdown run.
‘We can’t give that up on a run play and expect to win,’ Bailey said.
He added that there weren’t any surprises the Patriots offense threw their way, but the Patriots executed better and ‘hit us in the mouth,’ while his team didn’t respond the way it should have.
Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme said that defensively the Patriots didn’t throw too many different looks at his offense, but when all was said and done the Patriots outplayed Manning and the Broncos offense.
‘At the end of the day, it really wasn’t about looks and preparation and all that type of stuff. It was about them playing better than us for 60 minutes today,’ Tamme said. ‘We did some good things in spurts, but overall they played better.’