Special teams killing Broncos

Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

DENVER -- If Denver losses this game, mistakes on special teams will be a major reason.

Denver’s defense forced New England to punt twice, late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. But the Patriots got the ball back both times.

First, Denver was called for roughing the punter, nullifying excellent field position for the Broncos. Then, Denver rookie Richard Quinn was called for lining up in the neutral zone on a punt, giving New England a first down.

The Broncos trail 17-10 and are fighting, but these mistakes may be deadly. Needless to say, Denver coach Josh McDaniels is furious.

New England just punted and Denver didn’t shoot itself in the foot, but New England did down the ball at the Denver 2. Denver’s miscues cost it 50-plus yards.