Thursday , June 13 2024

Patriots kicker Chad Ryland delivers a Christmas miracle for Bill Belichick and New England as his 56-yard go-ahead field goal clinches a 26-23 win in the dying seconds against the Broncos… as Denver’s playoff hopes are put on life support

Patriots kicker Chad Ryland nailed a 56-yard field goal with just two seconds remaining on Sunday night as New England effectively ended the playoff hopes of Russell Wilson and Co. in Denver.

The Broncos dug themselves out of a 23-7 hole in the fourth quarter, tying the game with a Brandon Johnson touchdown and subsequent Javonte Williams two-point conversion with 2:53 remaining. 

And while Denver got the ball back with 1:42 remaining, it was the Patriots who ultimately came away with the 26-23 win in the Mile High City, giving Bill Belichick’s squad just its fourth win of the season.

Ryland’s kick capped a seven-play, 44-yard drive that began with 58 seconds left after the Broncos went three-and-out.

The rookie in as the worst full-time starting kicker in the league in field-goal percentage at 65% (13 of 20), and he missed from 47 yards late in the first half on Sunday night. He also missed an extra point in the third quarter.

With the Patriots set to miss the postseason for the third time in four years, Belichick’s job has come under increasing scrutiny, though Sunday’s win will at least temporarily lift the mood. 

The Broncos, meanwhile, fell to 7-8 with the heart-wrenching loss and now have just a three percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Next Gen Stats.

Denver had won six of its last eight games after starting the season 1-5.

Wilson finished the game with 238 yards and two touchdowns, while New England’s Bailey Zappe notched an almost-identical 256 yards for two touchdowns. 

After falling behind 23-7, the Broncos tied it when Russell Wilson threw touchdown passes to tight end Lucas Krull and wideout Brandon Johnson and converted 2-point passes to Johnson and Javonte Williams.

Bailey Zappe gave New England its first lead with a 15-yard touchdown toss to Ezekiel Elliott.

The Broncos sorely missed Courtland Sutton, who has 10 touchdown catches this season, as he went out in the first quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion.

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