Win the coin toss? Check. Stop Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in three plays? Check. Force a punt on the first drive defensively? Check.
Through the first 1:48 of Sunday Night Football, the Denver Broncos had things rolling.
Then the special teams unit hit the field.
A muffed punt by punt returner Isaiah McKenzie gave the Patriots the ball back at the Denver 24-yard line, and two plays later Brady connected with Rex Burkhead for a touchdown.
Then things got bad.
Midway through the first quarter, after the Brock Osweiler and the Broncos answered with a field goal on the following drive, Dion Lewis returned a Brandon McManus kickoff 103 yards for another touchdown.
Just about a quarter later, Broncos punter Riley Dixon had a punt blocked, giving New England a short field again.
On the way to a second-straight blowout loss, 41-16, the Broncos allowed 17 points off special teams blunders in the first half alone — 10 due to short fields and seven on the kick return.
At halftime, NBC Sports sideline reporter Michele Tafoya said head coach Vance Joseph gave her two-word answer as to what was the problem in the first half: “Special teams.”
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.
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