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7 winners and 3 losers from the Patriots 16-3 win over the Broncos

Here are the players that stood out on Sunday.

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These players stood out during the New England Patriots 16-3 victory over the Denver Broncos.

Winner: RB LeGarrette Blount

Blount only gained 31 yards on 17 carries (1.82 yards per carry), so it wasn’t his best day against a vulnerable Broncos run defense, but Blount is a winner for a different reason. Blount is now the Patriots franchise record holder for single season rushing touchdowns, surpassing Curtis Martin.

Blount is the 41st player to rush for 15+ touchdowns in a single season. Blount’s 2016 season is the 56th time the feat has been accomplished. The last player to reach 15 rushing touchdowns was Arian Foster in 2012, LeSean McCoy in 2011, and Foster, again, in 2010.

This is a fare feat and Blount deserves heaps of praise.

Winner: RB Dion Lewis

Lewis gained 95 rushing yards and 9 receiving yards, for a grand total of 104 yards from scrimmage. This was the 4th best game of Lewis’ career and signifies a return to his 2015 form.

If Lewis can step up over the final weeks and in the playoffs, then the Patriots arguably have three running backs, a tight end, and three wide receivers (four, if Danny Amendola is healthy) that can carry the offense. That would be huge.

Loser: RB James White

White picked up 35 yards from scrimmage, including 11 rushing yards and 24 receiving yards. But White started the game with 0 receptions on his first 4 targets, including a drop and a pair of failed 3rd down targets.

The fact that Lewis stepped up, while White struggled makes White a loser, albeit a minor one.

Winner: WR Julian Edelman

Edelman recorded 75 yards on 6 receptions and was the only Patriots player other than Lewis to record more than 35 yards of offense on the day. Edelman provided crucial offense in an otherwise anemic passing offense.

More importantly, Edelman has picked up 70+ yards of offense in all 6 games since the bye week. He is the only player in franchise history to have multiple streaks of 6+ games of 70+ receiving yards and holds the all time record with 9 straight.

Brady is clearly locking on to Edelman with Rob Gronkowski sidelined, for better or worse, but Edelman has been the only consistent receiver in the second half of the season.

Winner: OT Marcus Cannon

Cannon might not have been the Patriots best offensive lineman, but he deserves all the credit in the world for limiting All World pass rusher Von Miller. Miller recorded 4 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle against the Patriots. No sacks or quarterback hits. No passes defended.

Two of those tackles were on the first drive, one was on the Patriots last drive. In other words, Miller had 2 tackles during the meat of the game and that’s because Cannon erased him from the game.

Loser: OG Joe Thuney

Thuney allowed two sacks and three hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. “The rest of the line yielded just one hit and five hurries,” PFF writes. Thuney was fine as a run blocker, but he clearly struggled in pass protection.

Thuney’s still a rookie so he’s allowed down games, but he was particularly vulnerable in pass protection. I would expect coach Dante Scarnecchia to fix a lot of the problems before next week and the Jets defensive line.

Winner: ED Trey Flowers

I’m using Flowers as an amalgamation for the Patriots defensive line. PFF has the Patriots down for four sacks, two hits and 14 hurries, with Flowers recording two sacks and three hurries on his own. Flowers now has 7 sacks on the season and he’s cemented his role as the Patriots top edge defender.

Winner: CB Malcolm Butler and CB Logan Ryan

Prior to the final Broncos drive, CB Malcolm Butler had limited WR Emmanuel Sanders to a mere 28 yards on 2 receptions. According to PFF, “Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler combined to give up six catches for just 58 yards, and Ryan added an interception and four defensive stops.”

Jonathan Jones had some issues at cornerback early in the game, while Eric Rowe was clearly hampered by his hamstring. Ryan has found his 2015 form, Butler is better than ever, and if Rowe can shake off the rust, then the Patriots secondary will be able to go toe-to-toe with any offense in the NFL.

Winner: Patriots vs other franchises since 2000

With this win against the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots now have a winning or neutral record against every team in the NFL since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000.

The Patriots are now 9-9 against the Broncos since 2000, with Denver tied with the Giants (3-3) and Packers (2-2) for the best record against Belichick and company.

To add to this, only the Seahawks (2-3), Panthers (2-3), and Dolphins (12-21) have won more than a third of their games against the Patriots since 2000.

Loser: Broncos SS T.J. Ward

This unnecessary roughness penalty gave the Patriots a free first down to run two more minutes off the clock. Ward, you are the biggest loser.