by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff
October 12, 2009

It was a mustard yellow nightmare is what it was. A throwback game that should literally be thrown back.

For the second time this season, the Patriots have played poorly on the road and lost, both times to teams that harbor their own playoff hopes. Yesterday’s mustard yellow nightmare may end up haunting the Pats tournament dreams come December.

If it does, we can thank in large part Kyle Orton, the prototypical journeyman quarterback who has led the upstart Broncos to a perfect 5-0 record by taking only what is given to him and not a morsel more.

From New England’s pressure-less defense, much was given to Orton yesterday. The former Bear went 21-30 for a smidge under 200 yards in the second half, bringing the Broncos from 10 down to a coin flip that in Orton’s steady hands decided the game.

In hindsight, the Pats may have been better off sending five and six guys at Orton on every play and taken their chances he wouldn’t hit the big one, because the cumulative effect of the little plays (Orton’s specialty) sliced like a hundred drive-extending paper cuts that ultimately took down a ragged New England D.

With no perceptible pressure to Denver’s pocket, and multiple receivers spread from sideline to sideline, Orton always had options. Josh McDaniels had the Bronco receivers crossing the field from all angles, and it tore open passing lanes you could land a plane in. With his feet set and his vision unobstructed, Orton basically played catch on some of the game’s most critical plays, like third-down conversions to Eddie Royal that broke the Patriots’ back in regulation, and again in overtime.

Every week Bill Belichick says the same thing; every game comes down to a handful of plays, and the team that makes them wins. Yesterday Kyle Orton made more than anybody, and he gets this week’s PD game ball.

E-mail Scott Benson at