DENVER -- After a lackluster first half void of offensive fireworks, New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott provided sparks early in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.

And it ignited the Pats' offense.

Elliott's athletic hurdle and dash to the end zone for a diving touchdown was a likely candidate for "SportsCenter's" Top 10 plays segment.

Trailing 7-3 at halftime, New England exploded for 20 points in the third quarter, capped by Cody Davis' 1-yard touchdown return off Marvin Mims Jr.'s fumbled kickoff. Rookie Marte Mapu had delivered a hit on Mims, who had initially muffed the kickoff, setting up Davis' score.

That touchdown, coupled with scores from Elliott and tight end Mike Gesicki, produced the Pats' highest-scoring quarter of the season.

Elliott's touchdown, in particular, was spectacular. The Patriots were trailing 7-3 and facing second-and-10 from Denver's 15-yard line.

Elliott caught a short pass from quarterback Bailey Zappe -- who was in the shotgun and had dropped back to the 23-yard line -- at the 16 on the right side of the field. Broncos cornerback Ja'Quan McMillian went for a low tackle at the 12, and Elliott used his left hand as leverage to hurdle over him.

Elliott landed at around the 9 and then raced to the right pylon, diving across the goal line as linebacker Josey Jewell pursued him.

Elliott then pointed to an imaginary watch on his left hand and gave his trademark "feed me" celebration.

Rookie kicker Chad Ryland missed the extra point, so the Patriots led 9-7 with 9:48 remaining in the third quarter.

The Patriots' offense ignited in the third quarter as Mike Gesicki's 11-yard TD catch was followed by Cody Davis recovering a fumble for a touchdown and a 23-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.