DENVER — One looked like he was on the path to being the biggest free-agent bust in Bill Belichick's career.
The other was so buried in Tom Brady's doghouse he was bumping into the remains of Chad Jackson, Taylor Price, Donald Hayes and Joey Galloway, and it was fair to wonder if his time with the Patriots was drawing to a close.
And then, suddenly on Sunday night, Stephon Gilmore and Dwayne Allen had new life, thanks to their performances at Mile High in the Patriots' 41-16 dismantling of The Artists Formerly Known As The Broncos.
Look, we're not going to go crazy here. Gilmore had another penalty and gave up a touchdown. Allen caught one pass. But take a little walk with me: if these two can continue to build on this game, the Patriots will be in a much stronger position.