Patriots vs. Broncos: What We Learned from New England's 31-21 Win Against Denver

Jared Wickerham - Getty Images

Let's take a look at how the Patriots played in their solid 31-21 victory over Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

After 13 battles between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, No. 12 of the New England Patriots holds the advantage as he improved his record against his longtime-foe to 9-4 following New England's impressive 31-21 victory over the Denver Broncos.

As Brady improved his head-to-head record against Manning, the Patriots improved their regular season record to 3-2, as they currently sit atop of the AFC East.

With that being said, let's dive right into it and take a look at what we learned from New England's 31-21 win against Denver.

1. New England's offense could not be stopped

This is rather obvious but this stat might come to a surprise to some of you: The Patriots racked up a franchise record 35 first downs against the Denver Broncos.

New England's offense mostly operated in a high-tempo attack that found a way to remained balanced in the run and pass game.

The offense could not be stopped.

2. Is Stevan Ridley a legitimate stud running back?

I certainly believe he is.

Ridley recorded his third 100-yard rushing game of the season Sunday afternoon as the second-year running back out of LSU ran for a whopping 151 yards on 28 carries for one touchdown, which comes out to a solid 5.4 yards per-carry average.

There's no question that Ridely is an integral part to New England's offense.

3. No one really had a bad day for the Patriots

When it's all said and done, the 31-21 victory over the Broncos was a pretty well-rounded victory and was ultimately a complete game for this group.

I suppose you could nitpick cornerback Devin McCourty for allowing some big plays or even find fault with tight end Daniel Fells for dropping a couple of passes—but overall, this was the most well-rounded victory on the season for the Patriots.

4. Denver had no answer for Wes Welker

With Julian Edelman being inactive yet again, Wes Welker proved to the NFL that he's the most lethal slot receiver in the game today.

Welker finished with a game-high 13 receptions for 104 yards and a score.

When the Patriots needed a completion the most or needed to convert on third-down, it seemed like Brady was always looking Welkers way and each and every time, Welker came through in the clutch.

5. Alfonzo Dennard was a pleasant surprise

Many of you might know who Alfonzo Dennard is—but let me say tell you this: This guy could be something special for the Patriots.

Dennard was a projected first-round pick during this year's past draft until he ran into some legal troubles, which essentially allowed the Patriots to snag him in the seventh round.

The rookie out of Nebraska made his season debut as New England's nickel-back and made a few plays. One specifically was in the second quarter when he came up with a huge pass breakup on a third-down conversion.

When it's all said and done, the sky is the limit for Alfonzo Dennard.

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