By PEDRO FRANCISCO
Week 12 in the National Football League (NFL) was another interesting one in yet another interesting season of America’s most-watched sport.
The week began on Thanksgiving Day when six teams took the field. The Carolina Panthers continue their undefeated streak and are now the only undefeated team left in the league, after the New England Patriots suffered a loss in Denver this past Sunday night. You would assume this would make a New York Giants fan like me happy, but this loss was different.
The Denver Broncos are without future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and have been managing with his backup Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler, who was a second-round draft pick by Denver in 2012, left it all on the field and was able to defeat the almighty Tom Brady, on a cold snowy night in Denver.
The Patriots got on the scoreboard first and scored 14 unanswered points. They went on to take a 21-7 lead in the fourth quarter on a 63-yard pass from Brady to Brandon Bolden. Soon after, Patriots punt returner Chris Harper dropped a deep punt which the Broncos recovered.
Denver capitalized on the opportunity and scored to cut the Patriots lead to cut seven points. Two penalties caused the Patriots to punt the ball. Denver again capitalized but this time with a field goal, cutting a Patriots lead to just four points. Both teams punted in the coming drives until Osweiler was able to lead the Broncos 83 yards on five plays to score a touchdown with just 1:09 left in regulation. Brady was able to lead a comeback drive, which put Patriots kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, in field goal range.
A successful attempt sent the game into overtime. After failing to convert on third down on the first drive of overtime, the Patriots punted the ball deep into Denver territory. On third down, Denver running back, C. J. Anderson takes it 48 yards to the end zone to give the Denver Broncos the win over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots.
While the Patriots are no longer undefeated, they still hold a commanding lead in the American Football Conference (AFC) East. The New York Jets are in second place in the division with a 6-5 record, which does not compare to the 10-1 record of Brady’s Pats.
Yes, the hopes of an unbeaten season are no longer a possibility for the Patriots, but that is not their biggest issue.
Late in the fourth quarter of the game against Denver, the Patriots’ star tight end Rob Gronkowski was carted off the field with an apparent knee injury. Gronkowski leads the team in reception yards and touchdowns.
According to the NFL, initial tests on the three-time Pro Bowler have ruled out the possibility of its being a major injury.
“All of our fingers are crossed,” said Tom Brady about his teammate. Gronkowski is Brady’s most valuable weapon on offense and with this injury, we should expect Brady to have to adjust and make the best of a difficult situation.
The Patriots backup tight end Scott Chandler had himself a game in the absence of Gronkowski, catching a touchdown from Brady.
Despite leading a drive that sent the game into overtime and provided a hope for Patriots fans, Tom Brady and his team fell short for the first time this season. Brady was left without four of his starting receivers and was able to make something out of it. The Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles, and Tom Brady will most likely be without his star tight end. We’ll see how he manages against the 4-7 in Foxborough.