Brady tops Manning, Patriots beat Broncos 31-21

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 5:02 am •  Published: October 8, 2012
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady and the New England Patriots hurried to beat the Denver Broncos.

Brady led four scoring drives of at least 80 yards while using a no-huddle offense for most of the first three quarters and won his marquee matchup with Peyton Manning, 31-21 on Sunday.

The pregame hype surrounded the meeting of star quarterbacks, but for Brady it was a team victory.

"It's Patriots-Broncos," he said. "It was a great team win. We got some turnovers from our defense and I thought offensively capitalized at times."

The up-tempo attack helped.

"We're just trying to put a lot of pressure on those guys to get their calls in and line up and play against us," Brady said. "We can go pretty fast at home if we can communicate really well."

Even Manning, no slouch at operating without a huddle, was impressed.

"They certainly did a good job of staying on the field," he said.

The Patriots had a more than 11-minute lead in time of possession, 35:49 to 24:11, even though Denver had studied their fast pace. The Broncos still had trouble making substitutions to fit the plays they thought the Patriots would run.

"It caught us off guard," linebacker Joe Mays said. "We knew they were fast and that they were going to get to the line of scrimmage and snap the ball, but it's different seeing them on film and playing against them."

The Patriots (3-2) ran 54 times for 251 yards, led by Stevan Ridley's career-high 151, and Brady threw 31 passes, completing 23 for 223 yards and a touchdown. The defense sacked Manning twice and recovered three fumbles. One led to a touchdown and the other ended a drive at the New England 11-yard line with 3:42 left after Denver had rallied from a 31-7 deficit in the third quarter.

"Any time you turn the ball over, it hurts you," Broncos coach John Fox said. "You go on the road ... against a very good football team and, particularly offensively in their tempo and their skill set, makes for tough slugging."

Brady is 9-4 against Manning, who left the Indianapolis Colts after missing all of last season following neck surgery.

Manning was 31 of 44 for 345 yards and three touchdowns but lost a fumble on a third-quarter sack.

"This is not a team you want to fall behind to," he said after failing to pull off his 37th fourth-quarter comeback.

The Broncos (2-3) cut into a 31-7 deficit with about five minutes left in the third quarter on Manning's scoring passes of 2 yards to Eric Decker and 5 yards to Brandon Stokley with 6:43 left in the game.

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