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NFL New England Patriots

5 Key Players To New England Patriots’ Week 12 Victory

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Five Key Players To Patriots' Week 12 Victory

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody saw it coming, but the New England Patriots came all the way back from being down 24-0 to defeat the Denver Broncos 34-31 in overtime.

The game, of course, had its twists and turns. Denver jumped out to a huge lead after fumbles by Stevan Ridley, Tom Brady and LaGarette Blount. Ridley’s fumble was ugly as the ball was simply poked away from him as he tried to spin to the outside. Brady got strip-sacked by Von Miller, basically having no chance because Miller beat Nate Solderfor the first of what would be many times on the night. Blount’s fumble was tough because he was hit so hard that the football was knocked loose.

However, the Patriots came roaring back after halftime. The offense was in full form, scoring on five straight possessions (four touchdowns, one field goal). Most of this scoring was due to desperation as Josh McDaniels elected to air it out to bring his team within reach.

The defense held up fairly well in the second half, even though it was gashed by Knowshon Moreno and the Denver running game. This game in particular probably got Patriots fans thinking about Vince Wilfork, who is lost for the season due to a torn Achilles. Wilfork’s absence has certainly caused the run defense to fall apart.

Still, Peyton Manning was mostly limited, only leading one touchdown drive in the second half. He didn’t seem to be himself tonight, as the cold weather and windy conditions affected most of his throws. Most members of the New England secondary turned in good games as well.

The game essentially ended on a botched special teams play where a bouncing ball made contact with Tony Carter. Nate Ebner was able to jump on it and set the Patriots up for a game-winning field goal.

But who was key to this victory? Let’s break down the top five players who earned that justification.

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5. Shane Vereen

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Vereen constantly moved the chains, mostly as a pass catcher. There seemed to be no Denver defender who could cover his short routes.

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4. Chandler Jones

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Jones notched a sack in the game and was pressuring Manning all night. His work in run defense was pretty good too.

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3. Julian Edelman

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Edelman really went off in this game, catching passes of the short, intermediate and long variety.

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2. Aqib Talib

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Talib was back in prime time form as he shut down Demaryius Thomas, making key pass deflections as the game progressed.

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1. Tom Brady

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

None of this is possible without Brady’s performance in the second half. He led five scoring drives to put the Patriots in position to win the game.