Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Brandon McManus made six field goals and linebacker Malik Reed had a big sack late to help the Denver Broncos hold on for an 18-12 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
The Patriots rallied from an 18-3 deficit and came close to pulling off the comeback, but committed three costly turnovers. With the victory, the Broncos handed the Patriots their third loss of the season.
It marks the first time New England (2-3) has had a losing record after the first five games since the 2001 season.
"This was definitely a special moment," McManus said after the win.
Sunday's game between the Patriots and Broncos was initially scheduled for last week but got postponed twice. The delay was caused after multiple Patriots players -- including starting quarterback Cam Newton and reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore -- tested positive for COVID-19.
Newton and Gilmore returned to the lineup Sunday, but the team remained short-handed against the Broncos. Guard Shaq Mason, defensive lineman Derek Rivers and running back Sony Michel -- who was already on injured reserve with a leg injury -- were added to the reserve/COVID-19 list.
"Some stuff you can't control and it is out of your hands sometimes," Gilmore said. "At the end of the day we are professional football players and we have to be able to go out there and compete and not make excuses."
The Patriots had a 13-day layoff due to the outbreak and had only one full practice after shutting down their practice facility several times.
"Hopefully we'll be able to practice this week," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "We certainly need it. We'll see."
The Broncos (2-3) won despite a 17-day layoff between their last game. Denver also was playing without leading rusher Melvin Gordon and tight end Noah Fant, who was out with an ankle injury.
Broncos quarterback Drew Lock finished 10 of 24 for 189 yards and two interceptions in his first start since suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played mistake-free early in the game, but threw back-to-back picks in the fourth quarter to let the Patriots hang around.
"We knew that we could be a really good team," Lock said. "It's hard to come up to Gillette and win, better yet win without scoring a touchdown."
In Newton's first game back since testing positive for the coronavirus, he finished 17 of 25 for 157 yards and two interceptions. Both of his picks came off tipped passes. He also added 10 carries for 76 yards and a rushing touchdown.
"The time off showed, but I have to be better. And I will be better," he said.