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Jay Cutler clutched his hand after smacking it on a helmet on his first play of the game. That was just the start of a painful night for the Denver Broncos.
The New England Patriots, struggling with Tom Brady sidelined for the season, looked like the team that blew out opponents when they went 18-0 last season before losing the Super Bowl.
"I haven't enjoyed a game like that in a long time,'' cornerback Ellis Hobbs said after the Patriots' 41-7 rout last night.
Matt Cassel threw for three touchdowns, two to Randy Moss, against the NFL's worst pass defense. Sammy Morris's career-high 138 yards led a 257-yard rushing attack against the seventh worst run defense. And Cutler, sacked just twice in the first six games, was sacked twice more by the Patriots (4-2). He also threw two interceptions.
The Broncos (4-3) also coughed up three fumbles and lost for the third time in four games after winning their first three. They have a bye week to straighten themselves out.
"We have to decide what kind of team we want to be,'' Cutler said. "If we want to be the team we were the first three or four or if we want to be the team we've seen the last three.''
Cutler left the game on the final series of the second quarter but returned on Denver's first possession of the third after X-rays taken at halftime showed no broken bones.
"He should be OK,'' Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.
Denver also lost linebacker Boss Bailey to a groin injury and cornerback Champ Bailey to a hamstring injury, both in the first half. The Broncos gave no update on the condition of the brothers.
New England also sustained two injuries. Morris, who scored on a 4-yard run, missed the second half after hurting his knee, and safety Rodney Harrison was driven off the field on a cart after suffering a knee injury on the final play of the third quarter.
"It doesn't look too good,'' coach Bill Belichick said of Harrison.
That was one of the few disappointments on a night when the Patriots came back from a 30-10 loss at San Diego last week, when they allowed three completions of at least 48 yards. Denver's longest gained 20.
"As a secondary, we took last week personally,'' safety James Sanders said. "Tonight we came out and executed. You saw the outcome.''
This program aired on October 21, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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