FOXBOROUGH – Two days removed from the Patriots’ 24-20 loss, which was marred by a picked-up flag in the end zone as time expired, Patriots coach Bill Belichick still did not want to address the controversy.
The coach was asked whether he had contacted the league after officials decided a Tom Brady pass intended for Rob Gronkowski was uncatchable, despite contact and apparent holding by Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.
“We’re on to Denver,” Belichick said.
The Patriots play the Broncos (9-1) Sunday night in another nationally televised game. The Broncos are the league’s top offense, scoring 39.8 points per game and averaging 455.5 yards per game. Peyton Manning has thrown for a league-high 3,572 yards and 34 touchdowns. The Broncos’ trio of receivers – Demaryius Thomas (60 receptions, 914 yards, 9 TDs), Eric Decker (54 receptions, 792 yards, 3 TDs) and former Patriot Wes Welker (61 receptions, 648 yards, 9 TDs) – have given Manning a tremendous array of options along with the emergence of tight end Julius Thomas (45 receptions, 590 yards, 10 TDs).
“They got a lot of players [on offense],” Belichick said. “They got receivers, they got backs, they got tight ends. They all contribute. They run the ball, they throw it, they throw it to everybody. Depends on what coverage they’re in, depends on what play they have called. They get the ball to the guy that has the best matchup. They do a good job of that.”
The last time the Patriots faced the Broncos, Oct. 21 2012, New England came away with a 31-21 victory. But there was no Welker or Julius Thomas to consider. And running back Knowshon Moreno was injured. But how the Broncos have changed schematically as an offense is a matter of who they’re playing, said Belichick.
“Depends on what you do,” Belichick said. “Depends on how you’re playing them. They attack [depending] on how you’re playing them.”
Belichick would not say whether he has had contact with Welker, the Patriots former receiver who spent six seasons with the team.