Foxborough, Mass. – Although the outcome wasn't what the Broncos were hoping to leave Gillette Stadium with, there were still positive that the team plans to build on moving forward.
Quarterback Demaryius Thomas and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas found a rhythm as Manning topped 300-yards passing for the 66th time in his career and Thomas set a regular-season career high with 180 receiving yards.
With five games now under his belt with his new team, Manning said that the offense remains a work in progress.
"The key, like I've said all along, is that we keep making progress," Manning said. "You'd like to win games while you are building on some things and improving."
Despite falling short against the Patriots, the team will return to Dove Valley on Monday and watch the film to see how they can get better.
"We're kind of feeling ourselves through both defensively and offensively," Head Coach John Fox said. It's just what it is. We've got to get better. That's the challenge."
The team has shown flashes of its potential in games throughout the season, but the goal is to duplicate the 60 minutes of play that all three phases showed in the Week 4 win against the Raiders.
"I don't think we're far at all," Thomas said. "We came out in the second half and we played great as an offense. It's just that we have to do it in the first half and we'll be great."
The same can be said on the defensive side of the ball, where the focus will be on making the necessary adjustments during the week to rectify what went wrong against New England.
"We just have to get back to the lab," said linebacker Von Miller, who finished with a pair of sacks in the game. "I'll tell you one thing, I'm confident that we'll get all that stuff fixed."
Trailing 31-7 late in the third quarter, many people in the stadium began filing toward the stadium exits, believing their Patriots team to be comfortably ahead.
The Broncos players never gave up on their club, putting together 14 unanswered points to narrow the gap to 10 with 6:43 to play in the game.
The defense then forced a fumble, turning the ball back to the offense. Manning led the team all the way down to the New England 11-yard line, but then a Willis McGahee fumble gave the ball back to the Patriots, who were able to run out the clock.
"Once again, we did continue to fight and compete in the second half, which I do think we can build on that," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "We think that will help us win a game at some point in one of these situations if it happens again."
Though the fight in the team was encouraging, Fox said that's the effort he wants to see throughout the entire game.
"There's a lot of tough guys in that locker room," he said. "There's no quit in them. They hung in there all 60 minutes and we just came up short again. We've got to get out of that."
ANOTHER QUALITY OPPONENT
A constant theme in each of Denver's losses this season has been the quality of the opponent. Both the Falcons and Texans were undefeated through Week 4 and New England represented the defending AFC Champions.
That being said, the Broncos aim to compete with those high-caliber teams so losing those three tough tests doesn't sit well with anyone in the locker room.
"We've lost to three good teams," tight end Jacob Tamme said. "Two good ones on the road, one, I guess undefeated one, at home. At the end of the day, to be a really good team in this league, you have to go beat good teams on the road. That's kind of what we said this week and we didn't do it tonight. We get another chance again next week. Back to work and we'll go play hard."
The Broncos will take to the road again in Week 6 against the San Diego Chargers, who are currently atop the AFC West.
The key to evening their record before the bye week will be to make sure the week of preparation translates to on-field success.
"It's up to us," linebacker Joe Mays said. "I can't sit here and say that we can or we will. It's up to us. It's not really up to the coaches. The coaches do a good job of getting us prepared. It's up to us to go out there and execute."