FOXBORO -- Three Patriots fumbles in a three-minute span in the first quarter have put New England in a significant hole in their showdown with the Broncos.
The first, coming on a second-and-3 run from the Denver 40, came when Stevan Ridley attempted a spin move to his left and had his right arm hit by Wesley Woodyard. Von Miller plucked the ball after it shot wildly toward the Patriots sideline and returned it 60 yards for the score.
On the second play of the ensuing Patriots drive, Von Miller beat Nate Solder off the edge, sacking Tom Brady and spanking the ball loose. Terrence Knighton recovered and Denver took over at the Patriots 10, adding another touchdown on a 2-yard Knowshon Moreno run.
It took three plays for the Patriots to give it away a third time. LeGarrette Blount coughed it up after a hard hit by Duke Ihenacho. It was recovered by Danny Trevathan at the New England 44, and Denver settled for a Matt Prater field goal.
The 17-0 score stood through the end of the first quarter.