February 26, 2024

Patriots

Place kicker Chad Ryland #37 of the New England Patriots kicks a area purpose late within the 4th quarter. Justin Edmonds/Getty Photos

DENVER (AP) — Chad Ryland made a career-long 56-yard area purpose with 2 seconds left, and the New England Patriots delivered a near-fatal blow to the Denver Broncos’ playoff hopes with a 26-23 stunner Sunday evening.

The Patriots (4-11) scored a pair of touchdowns in a 6-second span of the third quarter, then fended off a livid fourth-quarter rally by the Broncos (7-8).

Ryland’s kick capped a seven-play, 44-yard drive that started with 58 seconds left after the Broncos went three-and-out. Denver had tied it up with a pair of lengthy TD drives and 2-point conversions on its earlier two possessions.

Ryland got here in because the worst full-time beginning kicker within the league in field-goal share at 65% (13 of 20), and the rookie missed from 47 yards late within the first half on Sunday evening. He additionally missed an additional level within the third quarter.

The Broncos had been 7 1/2-point favorites, based on FanDuel Sportsbook, making the Patriots the fourth underdog to win at Empower Area at Mile Excessive in coach Sean Payton’s first season. This newest upset left the Broncos with only a 6% probability of ending their eight-year playoff drought, based on the NFL’s calculations.

Invoice Belichick improved to 11-10 towards the Broncos throughout his 24-year tenure in New England, denying Denver the standing as the one opponent with a profitable document towards him throughout his time with the Patriots.

After falling behind 23-7, the Broncos tied it when Russell Wilson threw landing passes to tight finish Lucas Krull and wideout Brandon Johnson and transformed 2-point passes to Johnson and Javonte Williams.

The Broncos had a shot at finishing the comeback once they obtained the ball at their 39 with 1:42 remaining however they went three-and-out, giving the ball again to New England with just below a minute remaining.

Bailey Zappe gave New England its first lead with a 15-yard landing toss to Ezekiel Elliott, however Ryland’s missed PAT left the Patriots up 9-7.

Zappe escaped strain and located Mike Gesicki with an 11-yard landing throw to make it 16-7, and Marvin Mims Jr. fumbled the following kickoff on the 5-yard line. Cody Davis scooped it up on the 1 and rolled throughout the purpose line.

The Broncos’ already pedestrian offense suffered a giant loss when large receiver Courtland Sutton went out within the first half with a concussion, and all Denver managed via three quarters was Williams’ 3-yard TD run to open the scoring.

The Broncos maintain faint hopes of changing into simply the fourth staff for the reason that merger to make the playoffs after shedding 5 of their first six video games, however they’ll want loads of assist to get there now.

Denver’s protection has carried the staff all season, main the Broncos again from a 1-5 begin and into playoff competition, however Payton’s offense hasn’t achieved its half, one thing that was by no means in clearer focus than within the recreation’s opening sequence.

On the sport’s first snap, D.J. Jones strip-sacked Zappe and recovered the unfastened ball himself on the New England 5-yard line.

The Broncos got here away empty-handed, nonetheless, when Williams ran 3 times into the tooth of the league’s greatest run protection, together with on fourth-and-goal from the two when Christian Barmore stopped him a yard shy of the purpose line.

The Broncos began their subsequent drive on the Patriots 46 however went three-and-out they usually started their third drive on the New England 25 after Mims’ 52-yard punt return.

This time, they lastly exploited their good area place with Williams working it in for a 7-0 lead.

Zappe completed 25 of 33 for 25 yards and two TDs. Wilson was 25 of 37 for 238 yards and two TDs.

INJURIES

The Broncos sorely missed Sutton, who has 10 landing catches this season. He went out within the first quarter and was recognized with a concussion.

UP NEXT

Patriots: Go to Buffalo subsequent Sunday.

Broncos: Host the Los Angeles Chargers subsequent Sunday.