McManus' 6 FGs lift Broncos over Pats in COVID-delayed game

Denver Broncos offensive tackle Garett Bolles, left, congratulates kicker Brandon McManus in the second half of an NFL football game after his sixth field goal against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Credit: Steven Senne

Credit: Steven Senne

Denver's Brandon McManus had six field goals and linebacker Malik Reed came up with a big sack late to help the Broncos hold on for an 18-12 win over the New England Patriots in a game twice delayed following positive coronavirus tests for both teams

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Denver Broncos waited two weeks to finally play again and they were rewarded with their biggest win of the season.

Brandon McManus had six field goals and linebacker Malik Reed came up with a big sack late to help the Broncos hold on for an 18-12 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday in a game twice delayed following positive coronavirus tests for both teams.

"This was definitely a special moment," McManus said.

Sunday’s game was originally scheduled for last week but got postponed twice. The delay was caused after multiple Patriots players tested positive for COVID-19, including quarterback Cam Newton and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore.

New England (2-3) rallied from an 18-3 deficit and nearly pulled off the comeback, but committed three turnovers. This is the first time the Patriots have had a first losing record after five games since the 2001 season.

Drew Lock finished 10 of 24 for 189 yards in his first start since injuring his shoulder in Denver’s Week 2 loss to Pittsburgh. He was steady early, but had back-to-back interceptions in the fourth quarter to let the Patriots back into the game.

“We knew that we could be a really good team,” Lock said. “It’s hard to come up to Gillette and win, better yet win without scoring a touchdown.”

Denver’s defense entered the game with two takeaways on the season. It forced three on Sunday, coming up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

“They are a tough-minded group of people. I think that was on display today," Broncos coach Vic Fangio said.

Denver's defensive effort underscored a rough day for New England, which was held to 288 yards.

It was the first game back for Newton, who returned after missing New England’s Week 4 loss at Kansas City. He finished 17 of 25 for 157 yards. He also rushed 10 times for 76 yards and a touchdown. Though both of his interceptions came off tipped balls, he said neither that nor his bout with COVID absolved him of his mistakes.

“The time off showed, but I have to be better. And I will be better," he said.

The Broncos’ win snapped a four-game losing streak in New England.

Denver (2-3) won despite a 17-day layoff between games and being without leading rusher Melvin Gordon and top pass catcher Noah Fant, who was out with an ankle injury. Phillip Lindsay started in Gordon’s place and rushed 23 times for 101 yards. Tim Patrick had four catches for 101 yards.

McManus, who connected on field goals of 52 and 54 yards, now has six games with multiple 50-yard field goals. That is tied with Baltimore's Justin Tucker for the most in NFL history.

The Patriots' layoff was 13 days and because of the COVID cases, they had only one true practice after shutting down their facility multiple times.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to practice this week," coach Bill Belichick said. "We certainly need it. We’ll see.”

The Patriots closed the gap to 18-9 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Newton with 8:31 left in the fourth. But he was stopped short on the ensuing 2-point conversion.

New England got another chance when Lock's pass intended for Patrick was picked off by J.C. Jackson and returned 30 yards to the Denver 25. Nick Folk connected on a 38-yard field goal four plays later to make it 18-12 with 3:23 remaining.

Denver’s ensuing drive lasted just one play when another long pass attempt from Lock to Patrick was intercepted by Jonathan Jones.

Newton went to work, connecting with Julian Edelman for a 22-yard gain to get to the 50.

After a trio of short passes, Newton then plowed forward for 4 yards on fourth-and-1 at the Denver 41 to keep the drive going.

Newton was then involved in a trick play when Edelman found him on a 16-yard gain to get inside the Denver 25.

But that momentum was slowed when Reed sacked Newton for a 6-yard loss. Newton got it back with a 6-yard pass to James White setting up a fourth-and-10 on the Denver 24.

Receiver N’Keal Harry got separation, but Newton’s pass was well wide, turning the ball over on downs.

“Just have to be better. Simple," Newton said.

SCORING POINTS

Denver scored on each of its first six drives of the game. The previous time a team scored on its first six drives was the Saints, who had four touchdowns and two field goals against the Colts on Dec. 16, 2019.

INJURIES

Broncos: WR Diontae Spencer left the game with a shoulder issue. ... LB Josh Watson left the game with a hamstring issue. ... G Dalton Risner also left with a shoulder injury.

Patriots: Right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor needed assistance getting off the field after an ankle injury late in the first quarter and didn’t return. … Defensive lineman Adam Butler left in the second quarter with an elbow injury.

UP NEXT

Denver returns home to host the Chiefs next Sunday.

The Patriots host the 49ers on Sunday.

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock, rear, passes as tackle Demar Dotson (78) blocks New England Patriots defensive end John Simon (55) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Credit: Steven Senne

Credit: Steven Senne

New England Patriots linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley (51) tackles Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (30) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Credit: Charles Krupa

Credit: Charles Krupa

Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (81) catches a pass as New England Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty (30) defends in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Credit: Charles Krupa

Credit: Charles Krupa

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs for yardage against the Denver Broncos in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Credit: Charles Krupa

Credit: Charles Krupa

Denver Broncos defensive tackle DeShawn Williams cradles the ball after making an interception against the New England Patriots in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Credit: Steven Senne

Credit: Steven Senne

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes against the Denver Broncos in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Credit: Charles Krupa

Credit: Charles Krupa

Denver Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson, left, tackles New England Patriots running back Damien Harris in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Credit: Charles Krupa

Credit: Charles Krupa

Members of the Denver Broncos team kneel and stand during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Credit: Charles Krupa

Credit: Charles Krupa

Members of the Denver Broncos team kneel and stand during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Credit: Charles Krupa

Credit: Charles Krupa

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) calls signals at the line of scrimmage in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Credit: Steven Senne

Credit: Steven Senne

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes under pressure from Denver Broncos defenders Shelby Harris, right rear, and DeShawn Williams (90) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Credit: Steven Senne

Credit: Steven Senne

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, center, consults with defensive coaches in the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Credit: Charles Krupa

Credit: Charles Krupa

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes against the Denver Broncos in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Credit: Charles Krupa

Credit: Charles Krupa

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay carries the ball in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Credit: Steven Senne

Credit: Steven Senne

Denver Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam (85) tries to run away from New England Patriots defensive back Kyle Dugger, left, after catching a pass in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Credit: Steven Senne

Credit: Steven Senne

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio watches from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Credit: Steven Senne

Credit: Steven Senne

Denver Broncos cornerback Michael Ojemudia, right, is congratulated by De'Vante Bausby, left, after he forced a New England Patriots fumble in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Credit: Steven Senne

Credit: Steven Senne

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, rear, fumbles in the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Credit: Steven Senne

Credit: Steven Senne

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