Broncos 7

(4-3, 1-2 away)

Patriots 41

(4-2, 2-1 home)

Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

8:30 PM ET, October 20, 2008

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA 

1 2 3 4 T
DEN 0 0 0 77
NE 6 14 14 741

Top Performers

Passing: M. Cassel (NE) - 185 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: S. Morris (NE) - 16 CAR, 138 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: B. Marshall (DEN) - 6 REC, 77 YDS

Cassel, Moss power Patriots to convincing blowout of Broncos

Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The team Tom Brady used to lead to dominant wins finally showed up.

The Patriots played like the club that had a perfect regular-season record last year as Matt Cassel, in his best game since taking over for the injured quarterback, threw three touchdown passes, Sammy Morris ran for 138 yards and New England routed the Denver Broncos 41-7 Monday night.

On defense, they forced five turnovers. And on special teams, Wes Welker's 44-yard punt return set up Randy Moss' second touchdown catch.

"The main focus was to really play a complementary game," Moss said, "special teams, offense and defense. And I think we did that tonight.

Fast Facts

• The Patriots piled up 257 yards on the ground, New England's most since Week 17 of the 1993 season.

• Randy Moss broke a tie with Marvin Harrison to move into fourth place on the all-time receiving TD list with 128.

• The Broncos have turned the ball over 13 times in their last four games (1-3) after turning it over just three times during their 3-0 start.

• Sammy Morris rushed for a career-high 138 yards, all in the first half before leaving with an injury, for his fourth career 100-yard rushing game.

-- ESPN research

"When we put all three of those things together, this team is very, very scary."

That team had been very, very inconsistent -- solid one week, shaky the next. Nothing like the Brady-led steamroller that won eight games by at least 20 points and two by at least 30 last season. Only a last-minute touchdown in a 17-14 Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants kept the Patriots from going 19-0.

"We played with a lot of emotion," said Brandon Meriweather, who had one of the two interceptions off Jay Cutler. "We've got a lot of little things to still fix."

New England (4-2) finished with 257 yards rushing. Denver (4-3) lost for the third time in four games.

"In front of the nation, we didn't show up tonight," cornerback Dre' Bly said. "It's embarrassing."

Against the NFL's worst pass defense, Moss' two touchdowns doubled his total for the season. That's still far short of his NFL record of the 23 last season he caught from Brady, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in this year's opener.

Still, it was a solid comeback for him, and his team, after last week's 30-10 loss at San Diego.

Coach Bill Belichick followed that with some tough practices.

"He really put it to us this week," Moss said. "Hopefully, he can let up Wednesday."

New England led 20-0 at halftime and 34-0 before Cutler connected with former Patriots tight end Daniel Graham for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 13:21 left in the game.

"They outplayed us from the first snap of the game," Graham said.

Rookie BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished the scoring with his first touchdown on a 1-yard run.

"I love the other running backs. They're like my brothers," he said. "I just wanted to continue to pick up where [Morris] left off."

Cassel was sacked six times and the Patriots lost Morris and safety Rodney Harrison to knee injuries, but they still posted an easy victory over Denver, which had won five of its last six games at New England. The Patriots gave no update on the extent of the injuries.

Broncos vs. Patriots highlights Video

Highlights of the Patriots' 41-7 Monday night victory over the Broncos.

The Broncos, who are off next weekend, lost brothers Boss and Champ Bailey to injuries in the first half. Linebacker Boss Bailey hurt his knee and cornerback Champ Bailey injured his groin.

"Standing on the sidelines, you can see that the sense of urgency was not there," Champ Bailey said.

Cutler missed the final series of the half with a finger injury but returned for Denver's first possession of the third quarter. He appeared to be hurt on the first play after the opening kickoff when he hit his throwing hand on the helmet of tackle Vince Wilfork on a pass that sailed wide.

Cutler, third in the NFL in yards passing entering the game, was 17-for-26 for 168 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Cassel, who took over for Brady, finished 18-for-24 for 185 yards. The three touchdowns matched his total for the first five games.

"I'd like to think that I continue to grow each and every week," Cassel said. "The more you run this offense, the more comfortable you become."

He threw touchdown passes of 13 and 27 yards to Moss and a 6-yarder to Welker that made it 34-0 late in the third quarter.

But the Patriots really ripped through the Broncos with their running game. With Laurence Maroney and LaMont Jordan both sidelined, Morris beat his career high for yards on just 16 carries, including a 4-yard score, all in the first half.

Green-Ellis took over after that and rushed for 65 yards on 13 carries.

"Oh, goodness," Cassel said. "If we run the ball like that, we'll be in good hands."

Stephen Gostkowski kicked first-half field goals of 31 and 40 yards after backup running back Andre Hall fumbled on his only two carries of the game. LeKevin Smith recovered the first fumble after Denver went from its 27-yard line to New England's 32 on the first series of the game. Rookie linebacker Jerod Mayo recovered the second.

The Broncos also committed two costly 15-yard penalties on an 84-yard drive capped by the first of Cassel's two TD passes to Moss, the 13-yarder that put the Patriots ahead 20-0 with 44 seconds left in the half.

Cassel's six sacks brought the Patriots total to 26 for the season. They were sacked 21 times all last season.

Game notes

Cutler was sacked twice, matching his total for the first five games. ... Belichick improved to 3-5 against Mike Shanahan's Broncos since Belichick became coach of the Patriots in 2000. He doesn't have a losing record against any other team. ... Moss's 129 total touchdowns are eighth in NFL history. His 128 touchdowns receiving are fourth, two behind Cris Carter.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1925
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5868
Total Yards275404
Yards per play4.75.9
Total Drives1112
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-14-5
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

neFG5:14Stephen Gostkowski 31 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 55 yds, 3:45
neFG2:11Stephen Gostkowski 40 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 1 yds, 0:49
neTD7:37Sammy Morris, 4 yd run (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 56 yds, 2:35
neTD0:51Randy Moss, 13 yd pass from Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 84 yds, 4:26
neTD7:40Randy Moss, 27 yd pass from Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 28 yds, 1:15
neTD2:27Wes Welker, 6 yd pass from Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yds, 3:38
denTD13:26Daniel Graham, 10 yd pass from Jay Cutler (Matt Prater kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 72 yds, 4:00
neTD3:13BenJarvus Green-Ellis, 1 yd run (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 52 yds, 3:13