The New England Patriots are on fire.
The defending Super Bowl champs routed the Denver Broncos 41-16 on Sunday Night Football at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, improving to 7-2. It was New England’s 12th consecutive road win, tying an AFC record.
The game was decided in the first half by the special teams. For the first time since 1979, the Patriots had a special teams takeaway, a blocked punt and a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Rex Burkhead was key to the victory, blocking a punt and taking a Tom Brady pass 14 yards for the first touchdown of the game.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 13, 2017
After scoring, Burkhead pointed to the sky in a celebration he talked about in an Instagram post.
“Audience of One. #ForHisGlory.”
Burkhead, a follower of Jesus Christ, is in his fifth season in the NFL. Before playing in the league, he was a running back for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. As he entered his senior season, Burkhead spoke on a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) video about his motivation as a football player before he came to Christ.
“My goal as a football player before I came to Christ was to kind of play for all these awards out there. All these accolades. The popularity that came with it. Maybe a girl would like me. I was really just playing for myself,” Burkhead said in the FCA video in 2012. “All those selfish desires, selfish awards that come with being a good athlete, that was my motivation.”
Once Burkhead became a Christian, his mindset went from playing for personal glory to playing on the field to honor the Lord.
“Once I was saved and born again, Jesus worked in me and through me on changing my motivations when I played,” Burkhead said. “It was no longer for myself, for those worldly, I guess, desires and goals, but it was to play for the glory for Him. To give everything to Him. To play the way Jesus Christ would have played if He played the game of football or basketball, or whatever I was playing at the time and to be motivated by Him. To be motivated by using the blessings and gifts He’s given me as a football player, whatever I was doing at my time to glorify Him. In my actions, in my thoughts and try my best to do that.”
Burkhead and the Patriots will continue their road trip against the Oakland Raiders at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.