Denver Broncos defeat New England Patriots, 28-20

You can spin this any way you like.

You can focus on the fact that the New England Patriots didn't fold and had enough gumption to wipe the premature grin off the mugs of a Broncos team that was in the midst of pummeling their opponent, 21-3, then almost forgot to close the deal.

Or you can take a good, hard look at the state of the reigning Super Bowl champions and recognize there are only so many hits you can absorb before you stagger to the turf and can't pull yourse...

If it were a fight, it would have been called after the Patriots were pounded mercilessly in the second quarter; if not by the referee, then certainly by the ringside doctor.

Maybe New England would have been disqualified after rookie guard Logan Mankins's below-the-belt blow on the last play of the first half.

Yet as the already undermanned Patriots continued to have players limp off the field yesterday, Denver never delivered the knockout blow and New England never...

Can Tedy Bruschi play cornerback?

If he can't, he wouldn't have been any help yesterday.

Can Tedy Bruschi play running back?

If he can't, he wouldn't have been any help yesterday when the guy who rushed for 100 yards a week ago, old Corey Dillon, was apparently so tired from the effort he had to take the day off to rest his bones.

Can Tedy Bruschi play offensive line?

If he can't, he wouldn't have been any help yesterday when Tom Brady learned for the first ...

The Patriots issued a statement yesterday concerning linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who suffered a stroke Feb. 15, saying that he has received medical clearance to resume practicing.

The statement, which was not attributed to anyone, said, ''The New England Patriots have been advised that Tedy Bruschi has received unanimous medical clearance from outside specialists in the field of stroke neurology. He has also passed multiple physical examinations by team doctors and has bee...

Patrick Pass had another nice performance subbing for injured running backs. With Corey Dillon out, Pass played much of the game yesterday, being spelled a few times by Amos Zereoue.

Pass had 10 carries for 64 yards and six receptions for 89 yards, career-high yardage totals.

''I'm just holding it down until my man comes back," Pass said. ''Corey's hurting right now, and I have to do what I can to help the team.

''He'll get healthy over the bye and be back to play...