1960: The Denver Broncos are among eight teams in the start-up American Football League, playing in the Leagues Western Division. On September 9th the Broncos wearing vertically striped socks defeat the Patriots 13-10 in the first official AFL game in Boston. After splitting their next two games, the Broncos made their Rocky Mountain debut. Playing before 18,732 at Bears Stadium, an old Minor League Baseball stadium the Broncos defeated the Oakland Raiders to improve their record to 3-1. However, the Broncos would only win one more game the rest of the season finishing with the worst record in the AFL at 4-9-1.
1961: Despite Wide Receiver Lionel Taylor, becoming the first player to catch 100 passes in a professional season; the Broncos still struggle to finish with a 3-11 record. Following the season Coach Frank Filchock is fired and replaced by Jack Faulkner.
1962: The Broncos come out of the blocks strong and sit at 7-2, and in first place through the first nine games. However, the Broncos would stumble and would lose their final five games to finish with a 7-7 record. However despite the end of the season struggle Jack Faulkner is named Coach of the Year.
1963: The Broncos go winless in their final 10 games to finish with a dreadful 2-11-1 record. However despite the horrid season Fullback Billy Joe shines winning the AFL Rookie of the Year.
1964: After a 0-4 start Coach Jack Faulkner is fired and replaced by Mac Speedie. The moves pays off right away as the Broncos win in Speedie’s debut. However, the Broncos would win just one more game finishing with a horrid 2-11-1 record for the second season in a row.
1965: Despite continuing to be the laughing stocks of the AFL by finishing with a 4-10 record, the Broncos continue to develop a loyal fan base, easily surpassing their goal of 20,000 season tickets sold.
1966: After getting off to a 0-2 start Coach Mac Speedie is replaced by Ray Malavasi. Under Malavasi the Broncos would still struggle finishing with a 4-10 record for the second year in a row. Following the season the Broncos hire Lou Saban a proven winner to run he team as both General Manager and Coach.
1967: Funding is approved to renovate Bears Stadium into a facility compliant with the current pro football standards is approved as the Broncos are able to sign Running Back Floyd Little making him the first top draft pick ever signed by the Broncos. In the season open the Broncos win for new Coach Lou Saban beating the Boston Patriots. However the Broncos would lose their next nine games and would finish with a horrid 3-11 record.
1968: Wearing new uniforms featuring a bucking Bronco in a D, the Broncos show signs of improvement as capacity at their stadium is increased to 50,000, during a 5-9 season. Prior to the final game of the season Bears Stadium is renamed Mile High Stadium. During the season the Broncos made history as Marlin Briscoe became the first black starting Quarterback in professional football durring the modern era, throwing 14 Touchdown passes, and running another three in.
1969: The Broncos close out their first decade on a disappointing note, by finishing with a 5-8-1 record. In the decade of the AFL, the Broncos are the only original AFL team not to win a division or finish with a winning record.
1970: The Broncos get off to a promising 4-1 start. However, it would not last as they would win just one more game in their final nine games on the way to finishing in last place in the AFC West with a 5-8-1 record.
1971: After getting off to another horrid 2-6-1 start, Coach, and General Manager Lou Saban resigns. Under interim Coach Jerry Smith the Broncos finish the season with another poor 4-9-1 record.
1972: Under new Coach John Ralston the Broncos continue to be one of the worst teams in the AFC finishing with a 5-9 record. Despite the losing Denver fans continue to be loyal buying up season tickets at a record pace.
1973: After a 2-3 start the Broncos host the Oakland Raiders, on what is billed “Orange Monday,” in front of a primetime National Television audience. The Broncos would come-form-behind and would earn a tie on Kicker Jim Turner’s 35 yard Field Goal. The tie would be the start of a six game unbeaten streak that saw the Broncos climb into first place with a 6-3-2 record. After a loss to the Dallas Cowboys the Broncos beat the Chargers 42-28 in San Diego to assure their first winning season in franchise history. However, with the AFC West title on the line the Broncos season ends with a 21-17 loss to the Raiders in Oakland.
1974: With demand for tickets increasing the Broncos expand Mile High Stadium to 75,000 seats. After dropping their season opener the Broncos host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first regular season game that goes to overtime. However, the Overtime settled nothing, as the game remained tied at 35 through 15 minutes. After losing in the following week to fall to 0-2-1, the Broncos turn their season around to finish with a 7-6-1 record, for their second winning season in a row.
1975: In Running Back Floyd Little’s final season the Broncos play mediocre football all season and finish with a disappointing 6-8 record.
1976: With Running Back Otis Armstrong rushing for 1,008 yards the Broncos play strong football all season on the way to an impressive 9-5 record. However the record is not good enough to get the Broncos into the playoffs. Despite the strong showing Coach John Ralston would resign following the season.
1977: Under new coach Red Miller, the Broncos finally click on all cylinders, posting a terrific 12-2 record, winning the AFC West, for their first ever playoff berth. The key to the Broncos success was a hard-nosed defense known as “The Orange Crush.” With players like Defensive End Lyle Alzado, Linebacker Randy Gradishar and Linebacker Tom Jackson the Orange Crush smoother opponents all season allowing just 148 points on the season. Playing in their first playoff game the Broncos hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Playoffs. The Broncos and Steelers would battle back and forth until Kicker Jim Tuner broke a 21-21 tie with a 44 yard Field Goal. The Broncos would go on to win the game 34-21 to earn a trip to the AFC Championship Game. Mile High Stadium was a sea of orange as the Broncos hosted the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Championship. After jumping out to a 14-3 lead at halftime the Broncos would hold on to win 20-17 for their first ever trip to the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XII: Playing in New Orleans the Broncos faced the Dallas Cowboys in the first Super Bowl played in a dome. Down 13-0 at halftime, the Broncos played fast and loose with the football all day turning the ball over 8 times in a disappointing 27-10 loss, in which they were never real in the game.
1978: With LInebacker Randy Gradishar winning the Defensive Player of the Year, the Broncos defense continues to crush its opponents allowing only 198 points as the Broncos win the AFC West title for the second year in a row with a 10-6 record. However, in Divisional Playoffs the Broncos season would end with a disappointing 33-10 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
1979: The Broncos get off to a 9-3 start and appear to be in line for their third straight Division Title. However, the Broncos would lose three of their final four games all against division rivals to finish with a 10-6 record. Despite the poor finish the Broncos still qualify for the playoffs as a Wild Card. In the Wild Card Game the Broncos faced the Oilers in Houston, and trailed at halftime 10-7. Both teams would hunker down in the second half with neither giving an inch. However, time would run out on the Broncos would run out on the Broncos whose season ended with a 13-7 loss.
1980: The Broncos once great defense struggles and allows 323 points, as the Broncos play mediocre football all season ending their run of four consecutive playoff appearances with an 8-8 record. Following the season, Coach Red Miller would be replaced by Dan Reeves.
1981: Under new coach Dan Reeves the Broncos get off to a fast start winning five of their first six games. However, the Broncos could only manage a split of their final ten games to finish with a 10-6 record. However, it would not be good enough to earn a trip to the postseason.
1982: After returning from a two month player strike the Broncos struggle on both sides of the ball and finish with their first losing record in seven years at 2-7. Following the season the Broncos would acquire and sign number one over draft pick Quarterback John Elway, after he refused to sign for the Baltimore Colts.
1983: The Broncos would give John Elway the starting job at Quarterback right away; as he showed flashes of his ability to make a comeback leading the Broncos to 4th Quarter win Baltimore against the Colts to get the team off to a 2-0 start. However, Elway would struggle with turnovers and would be benched in favor of veteran Steve DeBerg. However, by the end of the season Elway was back under center, and would get the Broncos into the playoffs with a 9-7 record. In the season next to last game Elway would bite the Colts again leading three Touchdown drives in the 4th Quarter to beat the Colts 21-19, after entering the final period down 19-0. In the Wild Card game in Seattle Elway would struggle mightily before being replaced in a disappointing 31-7 loss to the Seahawks.
1984: Prior to the start of the season the Broncos are sold to local businessman Pat Bowlen. After a 1-1 start the Broncos would embark on an impressive 10-game winning streak establishing a new franchise record. The Broncos would go on to win the AFC West with a 13-3 record, as John Elway passes for 2,598 yards, while Sammy Winder rushes for 1,153 yards, and Steve Watson collects 1,170 receiving yards. However, the Broncos season would end in disappointment with a 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Mile High Stadium. The Broncos would hold a 17-10 lead entering the 4th Quarter but costly turnover by John Elway would cost the Broncos a chance at playing for the AFC Championship.
1985: John Elway continues to establish himself as one of the best Quarterbacks in the NFL by passing for 3,891 yards, while adding 253 rushing yards. However, the Broncos would fail to make the playoffs despite an impressive 11-5 record.
1986: The Broncos win their first six games on the way to a 9-2 start, establishing themselves as the class of the AFC. The Broncos would go on to claim the AFC West title with an 11-5 record. However, there was major concern over the fact the Broncos did not play well at the end of the season losing three of their final five games. In the Divisional Playoff the Broncos hosted the New England Patriots. Trailing 17-13 in the 3rd Quarter it looked as if the Broncos were in store for another quick exit. However, Elway would hit Vance Johnson on a 48 yard Touchdown pass that ended the 3rd Quarter with Broncos on top 20-17. In the 4th Quarter both teams defense would hunker down before Defensive End Rulon Jones sacked Tony Eason in the endzone for a safety with 1:37 left to lock up the Broncos win at 22-17. In the AFC Championship game in Cleveland the Broncos had their backs to the wall trailing the Browns 20-13 with 5:43 left in the game, and starting a drive on their own two yard line. Knowing a trip to the Super Bowl was on the line Quarterback John Elway began a clutch drive using both his arm and his legs to get the Broncos down the field before he tied the game on a five yard Touchdown pass to Vance Johnson with 37 seconds left. After the historic drive the game went to overtime where Rich Karlis sent the Broncos to the Super Bowl with a 33 yard Field Goal.
Super Bowl XXI: The Broncos went into the Super Bowl in Pasadena as underdogs facing the New York Giants. Throughout the first half the Broncos clearly outclassed the Giants, but only held a 10-9 lead. The Broncos had two drives stall deep in Giants territory, and made things worse when Kicker Rich Karlis missed two short Field Goal Attempts. The Broncos missed opportunities would catch up them as the Giants scored 24 unanswered points in the first 20 minutes of the second half. The Broncos would never recover, as the Giants claimed the Super Bowl with a 39-20 victory.
1987: After a win and a tie in their first two games the Broncos were forced to use replacement players as the NFL Players went on strike. In the scab games the Broncos would manage to stay afloat winning two of their three replacement games before the regulars returned. After losing two of their next three games when the regulars returned, the Broncos were in danger of falling to .500 when John Elway led a miraculous 4th Quarter Mile High Comeback against the Chicago Bears. The win would be just the spark the Broncos needed as they went on to claim the AFC West with a 10-4-1 record, as Elway won the NFL MVP. With Home Field advantage in toe the Broncos easily defeat the Houston Oilers 34-10 to advance to an AFC Championship Game rematch with Cleveland Browns. The Broncos would jump out to a 21-3 halftime lead, but the Browns would battle back and tie the game 31-31 in the 4th Quarter. John Elway and the Broncos would answer right away and take a 38-31 lead with four minutes left. However, the Browns appeared to be on the way to tying the game when Jeremiah Castille stripped Ernest Bynar at the goaline to end the Browns hopes, as the Broncos went to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row with a 38-33 win.
Super Bowl XXII: Playing in the Super Bowl for the second straight year the Broncos faced the Washington Redskins in San Diego. The Broncos took control early taking a 10-0 lead in the first five minutes. However, a stunning 35-point lashing by the Redskins in the 2nd Quarter doomed the Broncos to their third Super Sunday loss. The Redskins would go on to win going away 42-10 as the Broncos, and John Elway got the reputation of losing the big one.
1988: Despite acquiring Running Back Tony Dorsett from the Dallas Cowboys, the Broncos struggle with mediocrity losing three of their first four games, before going on to finish with a disappointing 8-8 record. Despite the poor showing Quarterback John Elway still passes for 3,309 yards, while Dorsett passes Jim Brown for second on the all time rushing list with 703 yards on the season.
1989: Despite losing Running Back Tony Dorsett to a career ending knee injury the Broncos rebound and reclaim supremacy in the AFC earning the Division Title and Home Field with an impressive 11-5 record. Helping to fill the gap in the running game is Rookie Running Back Bobby Humphrey who rushes for 1,151 yards. In the Divisional Playoffs the Broncos trailed the Pittsburgh Steelers at halftime 17-10. The Broncos would tie the game quickly in the 3rd Quarter, but the Steelers would retake the lead and led 23-17 late in the 4th, when John Elway led the Broncos on another clutch drive to take a 24-23 lead with 2:27 left in the game. The Broncos defense would force a fumble allowing Elway to run out the clock for the win. In the AFC Championship Game the Broncos would face the Cleveland Browns again establishing a 24-7 lead in the 3rd Quarter. The Browns would battle back to get with in three points heading into the final quarter. However, the Broncos would ice the game on a John Elway 39-yard Touchdown pass to Sammy Winder, going on to claim their third AFC Championship in four year with a 38-21 win.
Super Bowl XXIV: In the Super Bowl for the third time in four years the Broncos faced the San Francisco 49ers who were trying to win their fourth Super Bowl. The 49ers jumped out first scoring five minutes into the game on Joe Montana Touchdown pass. The Broncos would respond with David Tredwell Field Goal. However, that it is as close as the game ever was. The 49ers would go to score 55 points establishing a new Super Bowl record, as the Broncos tied an NFL record by losing their fourth Super Bowl in humiliating fashion 55-10.
1990: After a 2-1 start the Broncos season goes down in flames as the teams lose nine out of ten games. During the losing streak it becomes apparent that the relationship between John Elway and Coach Dan Reeves has become strained, when Elway complains out his coach in a Sports Illustrated interview. The Broncos would go on to finish the season in last place with a 5-11 record.
1991: The Broncos open their season with a 45-14 pounding of the Cincinnati Bengals at Mile High Stadium. The Broncos use this as the catalyst to a strong season in which they reclaim the top spot in the AFC West with a 12-4 record. The Broncos would get to 12-4 despite an early season injury to Running Back Bobby Humphrey that limits him to just 11 carries. In the Divisional Playoffs at Mile High the Broncos would fall behind the Houston Oilers 21-6 early in the 2nd Quarter. The Broncos would get back in the game with a Touchdown just before halftime, but after exchanging Field Goals all hope look lost down, 24-16 midway through the 4th Quarter. With 6:53 left Greg Lewis plunged over the goal line for the second time in the game to get the Broncos within one point. However, facing 4th Down-and-6 on their own 28 with no time outs, all hope looked loss. Facing desperation Elway could not find a receiver and tried to get the first down himself diving straight a head Elway barely kept the drive alive. However, after three incompletions the Broncos faced 4th down again. This time Elway, who was flushed out of the pocket again was able to find Vance Johnson on dump off, Johnson would use his skills to get the ball deep into Oilers territory racking up 44 yards. The Broncos would use Steve Sewell to get closer, and take time off the clock setting up David Tredwell for a winning Field Goal with 16 seconds left. In the AFC Championship Game the Broncos would shuffle off to Buffalo to face the Bills. The game would be a defensive struggle, as it remained scoreless until late in the 3rd Quarter. Down 7-0 heading into the 4th Quarter, the Broncos miracle man John Elway was forced to leave the game with an injured thigh. After the Bills padded their lead with a Field Goal backup Gary Kubiak got the Broncos on the board with a three yard bootleg. However, it was not enough as the Broncos ran out of time and the Bills went on to the Super Bowl.
1992: Before the season even started the feud between Quarterback John Elway and Coach Dan Reeves was coming to ahead as the Broncos used a first round Draft Pick on Quarterback Tommy Maddox and fired Offensive Coordinator Mike Shanahan. Despite a poor season from Elway the Broncos were off to a solid 7-3 start. However, the Broncos season would go down form there as Elway was injured and Maddox struggled miserably during a four game losing streak. The Broncos would go to split their final two games to finish at 8-8, as it became clear that the relationship between Elway and Reeves was irreconcilable. A day after the season ended Dan Reeves was fired, as the public, and ownership sympathized with Elway.
1993: Under new Coach Wade Phillips, Quarterback John Elway was given a greater say in the offensive play calls. The move worked as Elway responded with one of his finest seasons passing for 4,030 yards. The Broncos too would benefit returning to the playoffs with a 9-7 record, despite costly losses in their final two games that cost them the division, and a home game in the playoffs. In the Wild Card Game the Broncos would travel to Los Angels for a match up with Raiders. The first half was a shoot out as the Broncos tied the game at 21 with 32 seconds left in the 2nd Quarter. However, the Broncos would fall flat in the second half as the Raiders went on to win going away 42-24.
1994: The Broncos stumbled out of the gate losing their first four games as the Broncos defense yielded 134 points. After ending their losing streak with a 16-9 win over the Seahawks in Seattle John Elway and Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Joe Montana met in an unforgettable Monday Night Duel. Elway appeared to have pulled off his 4th Quarter magic again, but the Broncos defense faltered and the Broncos fell to 1-4. The Broncos would win sixof their next seven games to get back into the playoff picture, but three straight losses would end their season at 7-9. Following the season Coach Wade Phillips would be fired, and Mike Shanahan, whose firing was protested by Elway, would be hired back to replace him.
1995: Despite establishing seven franchise record on offense the Broncos defense struggles allowing 345 points in an 8-8 season, where the Broncos seemed to alternate wins and losses all season. One of the most pleasant surprises of the seasons was the running of rookie Terrell Davis who rushed for 1,117 yards after being selected in the later rounds of the draft.
1996: The Broncos get out of the blocks fast winning their first three games on the way to a 12-1 start. With Home Field, and the AFC West already sewn up the Broncos go into cruise control in their last three games losing twice to finish with a 13-3 record. However, a problem with cruise control is that it’s hard to get it going again and the Broncos would find that out in a Divisional Playoff match up with second year Jacksonville Jaguars. The Broncos would jump out quickly grabbing a 12-0 lead in the 1st Quarter, but would give it up quickly as the Jags scored 23 unanswered points. Midway through the 4th Quarter it looked as if John Elway was going to weave his magic again scoring a Touchdown, to get the Broncos within a Field Goal after Terrell Davis notched the two point conversion. However it was not meant to be as the Jaguars answered the score, and took a 30-20 lead. The Broncos would get back to within a Field Goal, but the game would be sealed when the Broncos could not recover an on-side-kick.
1997: Wearing new modern style uniforms with a sleek horse’s head on a dark blue helmet, and dark blue uniforms the Broncos get off to an impressive 9-1 start. The Broncos would endure a stunning fashion in Kansas City, when Pete Stoyonavich nailed a long Field Goal with no time left to give the Chiefs a 24-22 win. After winning their next two games the Broncos lost two key games on the road to division champions, which cost them the AFC West title. The Broncos would go on to win their final game of the season to finish with a solid 12-4 record. In the playoffs as a Wild Card the Broncos would start the playoffs by getting revenge against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in a 42-17 route. The following week the Broncos returned to Kamas City, and found themselves in a defensive struggle trailing 10-7 entering the 4th Quarter. The Broncos would take the lead on a Terrell Davis Touchdown, and let their defense do the rest stopping the Chiefs cold, including knocking down desperation pass on the game’s final play. From there it was on the Pittsburgh where the hoped to avenge a late season loss to the Steelers with AFC Championship on the line. Led by 17 points in the 2nd Quarter the Broncos would go to halftime holding a 24-14 lead. From there the Broncos defense would take over shutting down the Steelers, until Kordell Stewart hit Charles Johnson on a 14-yard Touchdwon pass, with 2:46 left. However, the Broncos would get the ball back and would run out the clock and would earn a trip to their fifth Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XXXII: The Broncos were back in the Super Bowl hoping to erase the bad memories of their previous four appearances by upsetting the defending champion Green Bay Packers. From the start you could tell this game was going to be different as John Elway played with an even greater determination then usual diving head first for first downs, and a 2nd Quarter Touchdown as the Broncos jumped out to a 17-7 lead. However, the Packers would cut it to 17-14 just before halftime. When the second half began the Broncos appeared to be in trouble fumbling the kick off. However, the defense would not allow the Packers to cross the endzone, and they had to settle for a tie. Late in the 3rd Quarter Terrell Davis would score his second Touchdown of the game to give the Broncos a 24-17 lead. However, the Pack would answer back with a Touchdown early in the 4th Quarter. From there the two stood deadlocked, late in the game, when another Elway head first dive kept a drive alive setting the Broncos up 1st Down and Goal from the 1-yardline. With 1:45 left the Broncos would take the lead on a MVP Terrell Davis’ third Touchdown of the game. However, it was not over yet as Brett Favre quickly led the Packers down field into Broncos territory. From there the Broncos defense tightened as Steve Atwater knocked away a key 3rd Down Pass. On 4th down Linebacker John Mobley’s finger tips disrupted a Brett Favre pass just enough for it land safely on the ground sewing up the Broncos first Super Bowl Championship. Finally John Elway answered his critics and won a Super Bowl, as the Broncos ended the AFC’s 14 game losing streak in the Super Bowl.
1998: With rumors floating that Quarterback John Elway would retire at season’s end the Broncos get off to an incredible 13-0 start, sewing up the AFC West title in November. Among the highlights of the quick start is Jason Elam’s 63-yard kick on October 25th that ties the NFL record for longest Field Goal. With everyone looking forward to a Monday Night showdown in Miami with the Dolphins undefeated legacy on the line the Broncos drop their first game in New York the Giants 20-16. A week later the Broncos would lose that game to the Dolphins and appeared to be slipping at the wrong time. However, the would close the season out strong with a 28-21 win over the Seattle Seahawks as Terrell Davis rushed for 178 yards to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark on the season, thus earning him NFL MVP honors. Meanwhile, John Elway had another fine season passing for 2,806 yards on his victory tour. In the Divisional Round the Broncos showed they were all business avenging a late season loss to the Dolphins with a 38-3 route that sent a message to the entire league. However, a week later the Broncos appeared to be in trouble trailing the New York Jets 10-0 in the AFC Championship Game. However, the Broncos would snap back to life scoring 23 unanswered points to claim their second straight AFC Championship with a 23-10 victory. After the game John Elway sent another hint to his retirement by taking a victory lap with AFC trophy.
Super Bowl XXXIII: The Broncos looking to repeat in Miami, faced the Atlanta Flacons who were coached by Dan Reeves. Instead of the ordinary Super Bowl hype, the week was filled with John Elway retirement reports, and a rehash of the Elway-reeves feud, this time with current Broncos coach Mike Shanahan being dragged in. However, the Broncos were not allowed to let the past get in the way of a good finish, and nobody knew a good finish like John Elway. Through out his career Elway made the 4th Quarter comeback his trademark, but in his final game such a thing would not be necessary as the Broncos controlled the game from the start establishing a 31-6 lead, early in the 4th Quarter. The Falcons would score two meaningless touchdowns as the Broncos went on to claim their second straight Lombardi Trophy with a 34-19 victory. Following the game, John Elway would indeed head into the sunset, but he would do it in style winning his second straight Super Bowl, and taking home MVP honors in his final game.
1999: Without John Elway the Broncos would stumble out of the gate losing their first four games. Making matters worse was season ending knee injury to Terrell Davis in the 4fourh game of the season. The Broncos would go on to split their final 12 games, to finish with a 6-10 record. However despite the disappointing record there was plenty to be proud of, as back up Running Back Olandis Gary filed in admirably for Davis rushing for 1,159 yards, while second year Quarterback Brian Griese passed for 3,032 yards giving hope the Broncos road back would not be a long one.
2000: In their final season at Mile High Stadium the Broncos would get off to a slow start losing three of their first five games as Running Back Terrell Davis continued to struggle with injuries. Complicating matters further was the fact that Olandis Gary would be injured and lost for the season as well. However, late round draft pick Mike Anderson would step in to rush for 1,500 yards whole scoring 15 TDs to claim Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, as the Broncos won nine of their last 11 games to finish with a 11-5 record, which was capped by a 38-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the final game at Mile High Stadium. In the Wild Card game in Baltimore the Broncos were forced to take on the Ravens without Quarterback Brian Griese, who had injured his shoulder at the end of the season. Playing one of the best defenses of all-time the Broncos could not get it going, and would be out of it quickly with a 21-3 loss.
2001: On September 10th the Broncos opened Invesco Field in style by beating the New York Giants 31-20 on Monday Night. However, the win was costly as Wide Receiver Ed McCaffery suffered a season ending leg injury. Without McCaffery the Broncos offense would struggle, as Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, and Mike Anderson each had disappointing seasons scoring a combined five Touchdowns. The Broncos would go on to complete a disappointing 8-8 season, as it seemed no one could deliver the big play.
2002: Despite continued inconsistency from Quarterback Brian Griese the Broncos got off to a solid start winning seven of their first ten games a Running Back Clinton Portis gave the Broncos a breakaway running threat they had been lacking since Terrell Davis’s career was interrupted by a series of knee injuries. On the way to winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Portis would rush for 1,506 yards while scoring 17 Touchdowns. However, the Broncos would struggle at the wrong time losing four of their next five games as to fall out of playoff contention the Broncos would win the final game of the season to finish with a 9-7 record, by beating the Arizona Cardinals in the final game of the season but it was not good enough for a playoff berth. Following the season the Broncos would release Brian Griese and sign Cardinals Free Agent Quarterback Jake Plummer.
2003: With the addition of new Quarterback Jake Plummer the Broncos got off the ground strong winning their first four games as they entered a Week 5 match up against the Kansas City Chiefs who were also 4-0. The game was close through out but the Broncos special teams were burned by Chiefs star return man Dante Hall in a 24-23 loss, as Jake Plummer suffered a shoulder injury that would put him on the shelf for a month. The Broncos would be able to win with back up Steve Beurlein the following week on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However things would get even rougher in Week 7 when Beurline was hurt in a 28-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. With third string Quarterback Danny Kannel now under center the Broncos scuffled losing 3 straight heading into the bye week with a 5-4 record. The week off was just the medicine the Broncos needed as Jake Plummer returned in a 37-8 win over the lowly San Diego Chargers. However the Broncos took a step backward the following week as they were stunned by the Chicago Bears 19-10. Needing to finish strong making the playoffs the Broncos beat the Oakland Raiders 22-8 on the road to head into a rematch with the Chiefs with a 7-5 record. Though the division title was out of reach for the Broncos they wanted to send a message to the AFC West Champs, while securing a Wild Card berth. The Broncos not only won they dominated the game as Clinton Portis galloped his way to five Touchdowns and 218 yards rushing. After an overtime win over the Cleveland Browns the Broncos clinched a playoff berth with an impressive 31-17 win on the road against the Indianapolis Colts despite playing without injured Clinton Portis, whose replacement Quentin Griffin had a strong game with 136 yards rushing. With the playoffs locked up the Broncos sat a number of banged up players in a 31-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers as the closed the season with a solid 10-6 record. However, the rest would not help as the Broncos returned to Indianapolis and were humiliated 41-10, with their defense looking confused and bewildered, as they allowed 31 points in the first half, as they allowed 479 total yards.
2004: Once again the Broncos were able to use a solid running game to get off to a good start as Reuben Droughns took over for Clinton Portis who was traded to the Washington Redskins for Champ Bailey, rushing for a team high 1,240 yards as the Broncos won 5 of their first 6 games. After losing their next two games the Broncos responded with a 3-game winning streak. The Broncos would recover winning their next two games as they sat atop the AFC West with a 7-3 record. However a stunning home loss to the Oakland Raiders in the snow and a loss on the road to the San Diego Chargers on the road would cost the Broncos the division and would put the playoff in jeopardy. After splitting their next two games the Broncos needed to win their final two games just to slip into the playoffs after beating the Tennessee Titans 37-16, the Broncos benefited from a Indianapolis Colts team taking the week off for rest and advanced to the postseason with a 33-14 win at Invesco Field as they posted a 10-6 record. A week later they would face the Colts again this time with their full arsenal of weapons as they were chewed up by Peyton Manning in the Wild Card Round again losing 49-24, after trailing at halftime 35-3.
2005: The Broncos heading into the season appeared to be in a make or break year, as fans no longer willing to rest on their laurels were beginning to turn up the heat on Coach Mike Shanahan who had not won a playoff game since Super Bowl XXXIII, and Quarterback Jake Plummer who was underwhelming in his first two seasons in Denver. The season would not start well for the Broncos who were hammered in Week 1 on the road by the Miami Dolphins 34-10. Coming home for Week 2 the Broncos had a big game already facing the defending AFC West Champion San Diego Chargers. The Broncos appeared to be in trouble as they trailed at halftime 14-3. However late in the 3rd Quarter the game swung as Champ Bailey returned an interception 25 yards for a TD as the Broncos would rally to win the game 20-17 on a 36-yard field goal by Jason Elam inn the final seconds. The comeback win provided just the spark the Broncos needed as they went on a five game winning streak highlighted by a 28-20 win over the defending champion New England Patriots. After a heartbreaking loss to the New York Giants, the Broncos returned home and slammed the Philadelphia Eagles 49-21, starting another four game winning streak that gave the Broncos the inside track to the AFC West Title. After a loss on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Broncos again stayed hot winning their last four games to finish in first place with a solid 13-3 record. In the playoffs the Broncos would face the Patriots again in the Divisional Playoffs; since Tom Brady assumed the starting role he was unbeaten in the postseason leading the Patriots to three Super Bowls in Four years as they headed into Denver. After a scoreless 1st Quarter, the Patriots got on the board first late in the 2nd Quarter with a Field Goal. The game would turn after the two-minute warning as Ian Gold recovered a Kevin Faulk fumble at the Patriots 40. The Broncos would then take advantage of pass interference in the endzone, as Mike Anderson scored on a one yard Touchdown run to give the Broncos a lead, as lead they would extend to 10-0 at the end of the half as the Patriots fumbled the kickoff. Anderson would add another one yard Touchdown run as the Broncos took a 17-6 lead into the 4th Quarter, following a dramatic 100-yard Interception return by Champ Bailey who picked off Tom Brady in the endzone. The Broncos would go on to end the Patriots two year reign with a 27-10 win. In the AFC Championship Game the Broncos would host the Pittsburgh Steelers who were coming off a stunning upset off the Indianapolis Colts. Earlier on it was clear it was not the Broncos day as the mistake prone Jake Plummer committed four turnovers, as the Steelers won going away 34-17.
2006: Coming off their disappointing loss in the AFC Championship Game, the Broncos stumbled out of the gate again losing the season opener to the St. Louis Rams on the road 18-10. A week later in their home opener the Broncos struggled again as they needed overtime to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 9-6. A week later on a Sunday Night the Broncos frustrated the New England Patriots again winning in Foxboro 17-7, as they held the Patriots offense in check all game. The Broncos continued to play well winning their next three games to enter a showdown at Invesco Field with the Indianapolis Colts with a five game winning streak. In a game that would live up to the hype the Colts and Broncos would battle back and forth all game, before the Colts Adam Vinatieri delivered a game winning 37-yard Field Goal with two seconds left to give the Colts a 34-31 win. The Broncos would recover from their loss to the Colts, by winning their next two games on the road, as they entered a showdown with the San Diego Chargers at Invesco Field with first place on the line at 7-2. Quarterback Jake Plummer would have a shaky game completing less then 50% of his pass attempts, as LaDainian Tomlinson scored four touchdowns to lead the Chargers to a 35-28 win. Four days later in a Thanksgiving showdown with the Chiefs on the road, Plummer would struggle again as the Broncos dropped their second straight game 19-10. At 7-4, Coach Mike Shanahan decided to roll the dice, as he benched Jake Plummer, in favor of Rookie Quarterback Jay Cutler. In Cutler’s debut against the Seattle Seahawks, the Broncos Quarterback of the Future had a solid first game with two touchdown passes. However, with two interceptions, the Broncos would drop their third straight 23-20 losing on a 50-yard Field Goal by Josh Brown with five seconds left. A week later Cutler was helpless to stop the losing streak from continuing as the Chargers crushed the Broncos 48-20, as LaDainian Tomlinson scored three times setting a new NFL single season Touchdown record. With the AFC West out of reach the Broncos focused on the Wild Card, with wins in their next two games the Broncos just needed to beat the San Francisco 49ers at home in the final game of the season to reach the playoffs. However, after jumping out to a 13-0 lead the Broncos would be stunned as the 49ers rallied to take a 23-16 lead in the 4th Quarter, as Jay Cutler had a pass picked off and returned 28 yards by Walt Harris for a Touchdown. With the season on the line Cutler showed veteran poise leading the Broncos on a game tying Touchdown drive to force overtime. In Overtime the Broncos would be unable to move the ball as the 49ers won the game 26-23 on a 36-yard field goal by Joe Nedney, as the Broncos at 9-7 missed the playoffs. The Broncos sadness from missing the playoffs would turn into heartache less then 12 hours later when second year defensive back Darrent Williams died in the arms of teammate Javon Walker after a drive by shooting in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day. Williams who was just 24 had urged his teammate to leave a New Year’s party sensing trouble was brewing. The Broncos would be hit with more tragedy just 50 days later when third string Running Back Damien Nash suffered a fatal heart attack during a charity basketball game.
2007: Following the trying off-season, the Broncos started the season in Buffalo where they saw nearly another tragedy as Bills special teamer Kevin Everett laid motionless after tackling Domenik Hixon during a kickoff to open the second half. Everett suffered a severe spinal injury, which would later require hours of surgery and experimental procedures, to enable him to regain control of his legs. In the game the Broncos also needed a miracle to win as Jason Elam kicked a 42 yard Field Goal as time expired to give the Broncos a 15-14 win. In their home opener a week later the Broncos needed more heroics from Elam as the veteran kicker nailed both the tying and winning field goals as the Broncos beat the Oakland Raiders in overtime 23-20. However, over the next three weeks there would be no heroics as the Broncos lost three in a row including a 41-3 drubbing at home by the San Diego Chargers. Starring another loss in the face the Broncos again turned to Jason Elam who hit a 49 yard Field Goal as time expired to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28. A week later Elam would deliver another clutch kick as his 21-yard field goal at the end of regulation forced overtime against the Green Bay Packers. However, on the first play from regulation in Overtime, Brett Favre hit Greg Jennings on an 82 yard Touchdown pass to give the Packers a 19-13 win. Still reeling from their stunning loss at home to the Packers the Broncos, suffered an embarrassing loss in Detroit as the Lions hammered the Broncos 44-7 to drop the Broncos to 3-5. The Broncos would respond by winning their next two games to get back to .500. However, a heartbreaking 37-34 loss in overtime to the Chicago Bears all but ended their playoff hopes, as return specialist Devin Hester lit the Broncos special teams up for 151 return yards including two touchdowns. The Broncos would lose again the following week as they were beaten by the rival Oakland Raiders 34-20. After a win against the Houston Texans the Broncos dropped two in a row and needed a win in their final game just to avoid ten losses. Fortunately, for the Broncos that would come as Jason Elam nailed another game winner in overtime from 30 yards as the Broncos beat the Minnesota Vikings 22-19. It would be the last kick Jason Elam would make as a Bronco, as he signed a free agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason, ending a 15-year career in the mile high city.
2008: After missing the playoffs two straight seasons, the Broncos knew they needed to get off to a fast start as they faced the Oakland Raiders in a Monday Night Game on the road. With Jay Cutler passing for 299 yards with Touchdowns the Broncos looked strong in a 41-14 win. A week later, the Broncos won another key divisional match up against the San Diego Chargers 39-38 in their home opener, as they scored the game winning Touchdown with 24 seconds left on a pass from Jay Cutler to Eddie Royal. After blowing a 31-17 lead, Coach Mike Shanahan not taking any chances decided to go for two and the win, as Cutler found Royal again in the endzone against the stunned Chargers defense. However, the win was not without controversy as a fumble by Cutler was mistakenly blown dead by Referee Ed Hochuli, allowing the Broncos game winning drive to continue. The Broncos would take control of the AFC West early with a 4-1 start. However, after three straight losses the Broncos defensive struggles again became the source of frustration in Denver. However, with Cutler passing for 447 yards in a 34-30 road win against the Cleveland Browns the Broncos appeared to be back on track winning four of their next five games. At 8-5 the Broncos just needed one more win to clinch a division title. However, Jay Cutler struggled in a 30-10 Week 15 loss to the Carolina Panthers on the road. A week later it was more frustration as they were stunned by the Buffalo Bills 30-23 at Invesco Field. The loss opened the door for the San Diego Chargers who appeared to be buried at 4-8 just a few weeks earlier. In the season’s final game the Chargers would run up and down the field all game against the Broncos winning 52-21 to win AFC West as the Broncos season ended with an 8-8 record. Following the late season collapse the Broncos would fire Coach Mike Shanahan, ending a successful 14 year reign that included two Super Bowl Championships.
2009: To replace Shanahan, the Broncos hired offensive guru Josh McDaniels, who despite being 32 had an impressive resume on the coaching staff of the New England Patriots. However, McDaniels created controversy right away upon arriving in Denver as he clashed with Quarterback Jay Cutler after flirting with acquiring Patriots back up Quarterback Matt Cassel. Eventually it would lead to the Broncos dealing their young Quarterback to the Chicago Bears for QB Kyle Orton and three draft picks. The Broncos season started with a bang as Brandon Stokley caught a pass deflected by Defensive Back Leon Hall and went 87 yards untouched for a stunning game winning Touchdown with 11 seconds left to enable the Broncos to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on the road 12-7. The play came just moments after the Begnals took the lead for the first time in the game’s waining moments. A week later in their home opener, the Broncos completed a sweep of Ohio by beating the Cleveland Browns 27-6. Following a 23-3 win over the Oakland Raiders on the road, the Broncos had some more 4th quarter magic, as Kyle Orton connected with Brandon Marshall on a 51 yard Touchdown pass to give the Broncos a 17-10 lead against the Dallas Cowboys with under two minutes left. The Broncos would seal the victory on an inteception by Champ Bailey, who had a big day with four broken up passes, and eight tackles. The Broncos would follow it up with a 20-17 overtime win over the New England Patriots to improve to 5-0. A week later they would continue to roll with a 34-23 win over the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night to firmly take control of the AFC West. However, after the bye week the Broncos began to struggle, begining with a 30-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos would also lose their next two games, entering a rematch with the Chargers at Invesco Field, with their three game division lead completly evaporated. The struggles would continue as they dropped their fourth straigh 32-3. Hosting the New York Giants on Thankgiving the Broncos would get back on track with a 26-6 win. The Broncos would improve to 8-4 with dominant 44-13 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on the road. With the playoffs in their hands the Broncos would again go into a nose dive losing their final four games to finish the season with a disappointing record of 8-8. One loss that was paticurally frustrating came in Week 15 as the Raiders beat the Broncos 20-19, as QB JaMarcus Russell connected with Chaz Schilens with 35 seconds left to give the Raiders a lead.
2010: Changes continued in Denver, in Josh McDaniels second season as they rolled the dice and picked Quarterback Tim Tebow, with one of two first round draft picks. They also acquired Brady Quinn a former first rounder from the Cleveland Browns for RB Peyton Hillis. They also dealt talented, but troubled receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins for draft picks. The Broncos were hit with a big loss before the season even started as All-Pro Linebacker Elvis Dumervil suffered a torn pectoral muscle during practice, after signing a six-year $61.5 million contract extension in the off-season. After a 24-17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Broncos won their home opener, beating the Seattle Seahawks 31-14 with QB Kyle Orton passing for 307 yards. Orton would pass for 476 yards a week later, but the Broncos would come up short, losing to the Indianapolis Colts 27-13. In Week 4, the Broncos running game struggled to get going, gaining a paltry 20 yards, but thanks to another strong game from Orton, they rallied to beat the Tennessee Titans on the road, 26-20. The Broncos running game would struggle all season, and Kyle Orton did his best to keep the Broncos in the game, but it was not enough as the Broncos lost their next three games heading into a London showdown with the San Francisco 49ers. In Wembley Stadium, Orton had another solid game, passing for 370 yards, but the Broncos failed to get a 100 rushing performance as their defense allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter, losing 24-16. After a bye week the Broncos had their best performance of the year, stunning the Kansas City Chiefs 49-17. Following the game Chiefs Coach Todd Hailey and Josh McDaniels were involved in a squabble that helped overshadow the Broncos effort. Problems with McDaniels and the Broncos organization began to surface, as report surface that the Broncos had taped 49ers practice while in London. Meanwhile, the Broncos struggled losing their next three games, including a rematch with the Chiefs in Arrowhead. The NFL would fine the Broncos along with Josh McDaniels and Steve Scarnecchia, the team’s director of video operations $50,000 each. Shortly after the fine was announced and after the loss to the Chiefs dropped the Broncos to 3-9, Josh McDaniels was fired. Running Backs Eric Studesville, would be named interim coach for the final four games. In Sudesville’s first game the Broncos were slammed by the Arizona Cardinals 43-13. Hoping to get a jump start, the Broncos started Tim Tebow against the Oakland Raiders, but after a strong first quarter the Broncos would wilt, losing 39-23. In his Tebow’s first home start, the Broncos got their first taste of Tebow magic, as they rallied to beat the Houston Texans 24-23 on a six yard scramble with three minutes left. The Broncos season would end with a 33-28 loss to the San Diego Chargers as they set a new franchise record with 12 losses, finishing 4-12.
2011: Under new Coach John Fox, the Broncos began the season under turmoil, as fans posted a billboard demanding Tim Tebow be named the team’s starting quarterback. Many in the Broncos organization doubted Tebow’s ability to be successful in the NFL as they felt he was not tall enough, and did not have a natural throwing motion. With Kyle Orton starting the season at quarterback the Broncos began the season with a 23-20 Monday Night loss to the Oakland Raiders at home. Kyle Orton played well in Week 2, as his 53 yard Touchdown pass to Eric Decker was the key in a 24-22 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. However, the Broncos would suffer road losses to the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers, followed by a 29-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers in Denver in a game that saw Tebow come on in the second half and nearly lead a comeback with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. At 1-4, the Broncos decided to make a chance during the bye week, as Tim Tebow was finally named the team’s starting quarterback. On the road against the winless Miami Dolphins, Tebow looked terrible for the first three quarters as the Dolphins held a 15-0 lead late in the fourth quarter. With 2:44 the Broncos finally got on the board as Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas on a five yard touchdown pass. The Broncos would get the ball back with an onside kick, as Tebow connected with Daniel Fells on a three yard touchdown pass. Still needing two points to tie the game, Tim Tebow scramble and snuck in endzone. In overtime, D.J. Williams stripped Dolphins QB Matt Moore, setting up Matt Prater to win the game 18-15 on a 52 yard Field Goal. The victory led to an instant internet sensation called Tebowing, echo Tim Tebow’s pregame prayer and bowed celebration after the game. However, after the win over the Dolphins, the Broncos suffered a reality check when they were crushed by the Detroit Lions at home 45-10. They would quickly rebound with a 38-24 win over the Oakland Raiders, on the road as Eddie Royal’s 85 yard punt return gave the Broncos the lead for good in the fourth quarter. The Broncos comeback continued in Week 10 as they beat the Kansas City Chiefs on the road 17-10, with Tebow’s 56 yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker proving to make the difference. Tebow magic was on full display four days later as the Broncos hosted the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football. Down 13-10 late in the fourth quarter, Tim Tebow led the Broncos 95 yard drive, culminating with a thrilling 20 yard scramble to give the Broncos a 17-13 lead, with 58 seconds left as the Broncos defense smothered the Jets hopes. Field Goals were the story the following week as the Broncos improved to 6-5 with a 16-13 win over the San Diego Chargers in overtime. Matt Prater tied the game late in regulation with a 24 yard field goal, and would win the game on 37 yard kick late in overtime. Prater and Tebow were the magic combo again the next week, as they rallied to beat the Minnesota Vikings on the road 35-32. Down 29-21 in the fourth quarter Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas hooked up on a 41 yard Toucchdown. After the Vikings regained the lead with a field goal, Matt Prater answered with kicks of 46 and 23 yards to tie and win the game. The Broncos would get another late miracle at home against the Chicago Bears, as the Broncos offense which had been stymied all game finally got on the board with 2:08 left as Tebow and Thomas connected on a ten yard touchdown. Still down 10-7, the Broncos would get the ball back as Matt Prater tied the game as time expired with a 59 yard field goal. In Overtime Wesley Woodyard forced a fumble of Marion Barber III, setting up Matt Prater to win the game 13-10 with a 51 yard Field Goal as the Broncos who were once 2-5 had the AFC West all but wrapped up at 8-5. However, things would got rocky in Denver as the Broncos became turnover prone, losing their next two games to the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. In the season finale the Broncos again played sloppy football as Tim Tebow struggled in a 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite losing their last three games to finish 8-8, the Broncos still won the AFC West, by holding the tiebreakers over the Raiders and Chargers. While Tim Tebow got the press, it was the Broncos defense keeping them in games most of the time that went unsung, until award season as Von Miller, who the Broncos took with the second overall pick was named Defensive Rookie of the Year, with an impressive 11.5 sacks.
2011 Playoffs: The Broncos would host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round, but nobody gave them a chance to win as the Steelers were reining AFC Champions. However, Tim Tebow had his strongest start to date as the Broncos built a 20-6 halftime lead, with a 30 yard pass to Eddie Royal, a scramble and two Matt Prater Field Goals. The Steelers would claw their way back in the second half as the game went to overtime tied 23-23. In overtime on the Broncos would stun the Steelers as Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas hooked up for a game winning 80 yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. The 30-23 win had Tim Tebow finish with a career 316 yards passing giving him a dramatic farewell to Denver, in what would be his last game at home before the fans in Mile High. A week later in a rematch with the New England Patriots in Foxboro, the Broncos were once again overmatched, as the Patriots jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead and never looked back. Tebow would struggle, completing just 9-of-26 passes, as Tom Brady had six touchdown passes to lead the Patriots to a 45-10 win. After the season, Tim Tebow’s career in Denver came to an end, as the Broncos signed Free Agent Peyton Manning, who arguably is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history with four MVP awards. Though Manning is coming off a series a neck surgeries the Broncos would deal away Tim Tebow to the New York Jets as they wanted to focus the near future on Peyton Manning.
2012: Despite the popularity of Tim Tebow, which came with a playoff win, the Broncos felt a change at quarterback was needed as they signed four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning. In the season opener at Sports Authority Field, the Broncos hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in a playoff rematch. Making his first start in over a year, Manning showed some rust as the Steelers held a 13-7 lead at the half. However, in the 3rd Quarter, Peyton Manning began to find his rhythm connecting with Demaryius Thomas on a 71 yard Touchdown pass. The Steelers would respond with a Mike Wallace TD, but Manning and the Broncos would not be denied as they scored 17 points, capped by a 43 yard TD return by Tracy Porter off an interception of a Ben Roethlisberger pass as the Broncos won 31-19. The next two weeks Peyton Manning continued to look shaky early as rallies against the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans fell short. In Week 4, the Broncos offense appeared to get on track, as Peyton Manning passed for 338 yards, with three touchdowns in a 37-6 stampede over the Oakland Raiders. However, a week later the Broncos would suffer another setback, falling to 2-3 with a 31-21 loss to the New England Patriots in Foxboro. Things did not look much better the following as the faced the San Diego Chargers in road game on Monday Night Football, as they trailed 24-0 at the half, with Peyton Manning having an interception returned 80 yards for a Touchdown by Quentin Jammer, as one of three Bronco first half turnovers. Manning and the Broncos would begin a remarkable comeback with a 29 yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas, on the first drive of the second half. They then got a break on defense as Tony Carter scooped up a Phillip Rivers and returned it 65 yard for a Touchdown after a strips sack by Elvis Dummerville. The Broncos comeback continued in the 4th Quarter as Manning had two more touchdown passes, completing a 309 passing three score game to give the Broncos a 28-24 lead. The Broncos would go on to win the game 35-24 as Chris Harris returned an interception 46 yards for a score. Following the bye week, the Broncos continued the momentum with Peyton Manning passing for over 300 yards with three touchdowns in a 34-14 Sunday Night win over the New Orleans Saints. The Broncos would earn a third straight win the following week by beating the Cincinnati Bengals 31-23 on the road, with Manning collecting three more touchdown passes, while Trindon Holliday returned the second half kickoff 105 yards for a Touchdown. Holiday would return a punt 76 yards for a TD a week later when they beat the Carolina Panthers 36-14. The winning streak would reach five games, as they beat the Chargers for the second time during the season 30-23. The win came with a cost as Running Back Willis McGahee suffered a season ending knee injury. Following a shaky 17-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Broncos returned home and locked up the AFC West with a 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as Peyton Manning had another three touchdown game. With the division title clinched, one would have expected the Broncos to put it in cruise control the rest of the season, but instead they played even better over their final four games winning road games over the Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens by doubling up each opponent. They would then come home and blow out the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs to end the season with a record of 13-3, with home field throughout the playoffs. After missing the entire 2011 season, and undergoing four neck surgeries, Peyton Manning proved he was still the best quarterback in the NFL, as he finished in MVP voting and was named Comeback Player of the Year with 4,659 passing yards and 37 Touchdowns.
2012 Playoffs; With 11 straight wins the Broncos entered the playoffs as the prohibitive favorite to reach the Super Bowl. Facing the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round, Trindon Holliday electrified the crowd early as he returned a punt 90 yards for a Touchdown. However, the Broncos answered back quickly with as Joe Flacco connected with Torrey Smith on a 59 yard TD pass. They would then take the lead as Peyton Manning had a pass picked off and returned 39 yards by Corey Graham. Manning and the Broncos would recover as Manning hocked up with Brandon Stockley for a 15 yard score. In the 2nd quarter the Broncos would jump back in front on a 14 yard screen pass from Manning to Knowshon Moreno. However, the Ravens would tie the game just before halftime as Flacco and Smith combined for a 32 yard score. To start the 3rd quarter Trindon Holliday again electrified the Mile High with a 104 yard kickoff return. The Ravens again would answer on a Ray Rice TD run. In the 4th Quarter the Broncos retook the lead with a long ten play 88 yard scoring drive that was ended with a 17 yard pass from Manning to Demaryius Thomas. Leading 35-28 the Broncos just needed two more stops as the Ravens had no time outs and faced third down deep in their own territory. However, Broncos Cornerback allowed Jacoby Jones to get behind deep down the field, which led to a game tying 70 yard Touchdown pass from Joe Flacco with 35 seconds left. The two teams would not be able to do anything on their first three possessions. Late in the 5th Quarter, Corey Graham would intercept Peyton Manning again. Following an 11 yard run at the end of the first overtime, the Ravens would win the game 38-35 on a 47-yard Field Goal by Justin Tucker. The Ravens would go on to win the Super Bowl as the Broncos were left to ponder what might have been.
2013: After their heartbreaking loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Playoff Round, the Denver Broncos had a chance to enact revenge right away they hosted the Ravens in the NFL’s Thursday Night opener. The first half was much like the playoff meeting with the Ravens holding a 17-14 lead. However, the Broncos would erupt in the 3rd quarter, with three touchdowns as they raced away with a 49-27 win. Quarterback Peyton Manning tied a NFL record with seven touchdown passes, with 462 yards. The opener would the start of a record breaking offense that defenses across the league would be unable to corral. In Week 2 Peyton Manning faced younger brother Eli as the Broncos faced the New York Giants at the Meadowlands, hoping to get a feel for the stadium that was set to host the Super Bowl. Peyton beat his brother’s team for the third time in his career, as the Broncos defense picked off Eli four times, while Peyton passed for 307 yards with a pair of touchdowns as the Broncos won 41-23. The Broncos offense continued to dominate in Week 3, scoring a 37-21 Monday Night win over the Oakland Raiders as Peyton passed for 374 yards with three touchdowns. The Broncos would end a record shattering September with a 52-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, as Peyton Manning continued to chew up opposing defenses with 327 yards and four touchdowns. The Broncos also got a big special teams performance from Trindon Holliday who electrified Sports Authority Field with a 105 yard kickoff return. The Broncos offense helped cover up a struggling defense that was without several key players including Von Miller who was suspended for the first six games due to several off field incidents. Though the Broncos offense seemed to be able to score at will as they beat the Dallas Cowboys in a wild 51-48 shootout at AT&T Stadium. Once again Peyton Manning put up spectacular numbers, passing for 414 yards, with four TD passes and a rare TD run, as a late Tony Romo turnover led to Matt Prater kicking the game winning field goal as time expired. Manning and the Broncos took the foot off the pedal in Week 6, beating the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars 35-19, as Manning gave way to Knowshon Moreno who was the game’s star with three rushing touchdowns. Manning would have an emotional homecoming to Indianapolis the following week as the Broncos faced his old team the Colts in a Sunday Night showcase. Peyton once again was solid with 386 yards and three touchdowns, but it was not enough as his replacement played even better leading the Colts to a 39-33 win. Peyton Manning had his struggles the following week, with three interceptions. However, when the game was on the line the Broncos broke out in a big way, scoring 38 unanswered points to beat the Washington Redskins 45-21 During the bye week Coach John Fox would have an emergency procedure on his heart, after feeling light headed while playing golf. During his absence the Broncos were led by Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio. Following their bye week, the Broncos used another four touchdown game from Peyton Manning to defeat the San Diego Chargers on the road 28-20. This would set up a showdown for first place with the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos jumped out early taking a 10-0 lead in the 1st Quarter. However, the Chiefs looking to prove they were for real kept the game close, as they limited Manning to just one touchdown pass. However, with Montee Ball scoring twice, the Broncos managed a 27-17 win to improve to 9-1 on the season. Playing their second straight Sunday Night Game, the Broncos jumped out to a 24-0 lead on the road against the New England Patriots. However, the Broncos got sloppy in the second half as the Patriots scored 31 unanswered points to take a 31-24 lead. The Broncos would recover o force overtime, but a second fumble by Trindon Holiday on special teams set up Stephen Gostkowski for the game winning field goal in overtime. Coming off their stunning 34-31 loss in Foxboro, the Broncos again faced the Chiefs with the division on the line. Trailing 21-7 late in the 2nd Quarter, the Broncos began to get their footing as Knowshon Moreno TD run brought them within seven points before the half. The second half would be the Eric Decker show, as the Broncos receiver caught four of Peyton Manning’s five TD passes and gained a career high 174 yards to lead the way in a 35-28 win in Arrowhead. The win over the Chiefs would get the Broncos back on track as the slaughtered the Tennessee Titans 51-28, in John Fox’s return to the sideline after missing four games. Peyton Manning passed for 397 yards with four touchdowns. The highlight of the game comes at the end of the first half as Matt Prater nailed a record breaking 64 yard Field Goal. However, with a chance to all but wrap up home field, the Broncos delivered their worst performance of the season, losing to the Chargers at home 27-20 in a Thursday Night game. The Broncos got back on track the following week with a 37-13 road win over the Houston Texans, as Peyton Manning set a record with his 51st Touchdown of the season with a 25 yard pass to Julius Thomas which was the fourth of the game. In the regular season finale, Manning just needed a half to pass for 266yards with four touchdowns as the Broncos defeated the Raiders on the road 34-14. Peyton Manning would set record for yards passing with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns as he won his fifth MVP award and was also named Offensive Player of the Year, as the Broncos scored a record 606 points with a AFC best record of 13-3.
2013 Playoffs: In the Divisional Playoffs the Broncos would face the San Diego Chargers, who gave them one of their three losses and held them under 30 points twice. The Chargers once again manager to keep Peyton Manning from exploding, limiting him to 230 yards passing. Meanwhile, the Broncos defense which was much maligned during the season was giving a strong performance as they held a 17-0 lead at the end of three quarters. However, the Chargers got on the board with a pair of Phillip Rivers touchdown passes to Keenan Allen, sandwiched around a touchdown gallop by Knowshon Moreno. Leading 24-14, the Broncos had to sweat out the final minutes as Eric Decker was unable to corral an on-side kick, allowing the Chargers to get the game within a touchdown on a 30 yard Field Goal from Nick Novack. With the Chargers making a later run the Broncos face a crucial 3rd down and 17 when Peyton Manning converted a first round with a 21 yard pass to Julius Thomas that enabled them to run out the clock and preserve the 24-17 win. In the AFC Championship Game, the Broncos would host the New England Patriots hoping the game was more like the first half when they built a 24-0 lead, and less like the second half that saw the Pats rally to win in overtime. Once again the Broncos seemed to be able to move the ball at will, but only managed to lead the game 13-3 at the half, The Broncos extended the lead to 20-3 as Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas in the 3rd Quarter. However, after Matt Prater knocked home a 19 yard field goal the Patriots offense got on track in the 4th Quarter, with Tom Brady hooking up with Julian Edelman for a seven yard score. The Broncos continued to dominate the game but only managed another Prater field goal as the Pats stay in the game, with Tom Brady scoring on a bootleg to make the score 26-16, but trying to make it one score game the Broncos turned away the Patriots two point conversion and went on to run out the clock to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII.
Super Bowl XLVIII: With the Super Bowl in the New Jersey Meadowlands and the events in New York, concerns for the Broncos surrounded the weather. While events like media during the week were moved inside due record breaking cold, the game had ideal conditions with temperatures in the 40’s and no rain. However, for the Broncos the game had a disastrous start as the first snap sailed over Peyton Manning’s head and into the endzone for a safety. The Seahawks would add two field goals and led 8-0 after the first 15 minutes. In the 2nd Quarter the Broncos offense continued to struggle, as Marshawn Lynch ran in the first touchdown to give Seattle a 15-0 lead. After a terrible start the Broncos looked to get some momentum before the half, as they finally were able to move the ball across midfield. However, Peyton Manning had pass picked off and returned 69 yards for a Touchdown by Malcolm Smith that gave the Seahawks a 22-0 lead at the half. Things only got worse at the start of the 3rd Quarter as Percy Harvin returned the kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. Down 29-0 the Broncos wished they could push the reset button and start the game again, but as the Seahawks scored again to make it 36-0 Super Bowl XLVIII became a living nightmare for the Broncos. The Broncos would get on the board with a Peyton Manning Touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the final play of the 3rd Quarter adding a two point conversion, but it was not nearly enough as the Seahawks added another score and won the Lombardi Trophy 43-8.
2014: Coming off their bitter loss in Super Bowl XLVIII, the Denver Broncos opened the season on Sunday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts. The Broncos would get off to a fast start in the game, jumping out to a 24-0 lead as Peyton Manning had three touchdown connections with Julius Thomas in the second quarter. The Broncos offense would stall in the second half, as the Colts made a late charge, but Denver held on for a 31-24 win at home. A week later would be nearly an instant replay, as the Broncos defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 24-17. Manning, once again had three first half touchdowns, but struggled in the second half as the Broncos after lead 21-10 managed just a Brandon McManus in the game’s final 30 minutes. Week 3 would bring a Super Bowl rematch as the Broncos faced the Seattle Seahawks on the road. The Seahawks controlled the game most of the way and held a 17-3 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Broncos began to climb back when Nate Irving and T.J. Ward took down Marshawn Lynch in the endzone for a safety. On the ensuing drive, the Broncos offense got on the board, with Julius Thomas catching a three yard pass from Manning. The Seahawks appeared to put the game out of reach with a Steven Hauschka field goal with one minute remaining. The Broncos would not go down easily, as Peyton Manning drove down the field 80 yards on six plays in 41 seconds, connecting with Jacob Tamme from 26 yards and getting a two point play with Demaryius Thomas to force overtime. The Broncos would not see the ball again, as the Seahawks took the opening possession of OT and won the game 26-20 on a six yard run by Lynch. Returning home following a bye week the Broncos would rebound with a resounding 41-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals, with Manning reaching 500 career touchdown passes one of four on the game while passing for 479 yards. Returning to the site of Super Bowl XLVIII, the Broncos beat the New York Jets 31-17 as Peyton Manning continued to march down the field with Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas being his main weapons. In Week 7 the Broncos returned to Sunday Night Football and cruised to an easy 42-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers at Mile High, with Demaryius Thomas posting 171 yards on eight catches as he caught two of Manning four touchdown passes. Four nights later, Emmanuel Sanders had a break out game with three touchdown catches as the Broncos beat the San Diego Chargers 35-21. At 7-1 the Broncos appeared to be rolling to another Super Bowl as they faced the New England Patriots in a showdown at Foxboro. Things looked good early as Denver held a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Patriots erupted for 24 unanswered points in the second quarter and ran away with a 43-21 win. The Broncos would take the frustrate of the loss to the Patriots out on the Oakland Raiders as they won 41-17 on the road, with Peyton Manning having another five score game. A week later things would not be as easy as an injury to Julius Thomas early in the game seemed to throw the Broncos out of rhythm as they were stunned by the St. Louis Rams 22-7. Returning home after three straight road games, the Broncos looked to be in danger of another defeat as the trailed the Miami Dolphins 28-17 at the start of the fourth quarter. Manning taking advantage of some Miami injuries would lead his team to the next 22 points as the Broncos won the game 39-36. The Broncos a week later would jump out early with two first quarter scoring drives. The rest of the way they relied on the leg of Connor Barth who made five Field Goals as the Broncos completed the sweep of the Chiefs with a 29-16 Sunday Night win. Still it was not easy for the Broncos down the stretch, as Peyton Manning saw his streak of 51 games with at least one touchdown pass came to an end. Fortunately C.J. Anderson picked up the slack with three short TD runs as the Broncos beat the Buffalo Bills 24-17. Manning’s late seasons struggles continued as the Broncos needed five Field Goals from Barth to beat the Chargers 22-10 at Qualcomm Stadium. However, with four interceptions on Monday Night Football the Broncos would lose a chance at home field as they were stunned by the Cincinnati Bengals 37-28 in the penultimate game of the season. The Broncos would finish the season with a 47-17 home win over the Raiders, posting a record of 12-4.
2014 NFL Playoffs: Everyone anticipated another Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning showdown as the Broncos hosted the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Playoff Round, especially after the Broncos drove down the field on the first possession and took a 7-0 lead on a Touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. However, the Broncos would not reach the end zone again as Andrew Luck, Peyton’s replacement in Indianapolis out played the five time MVP. Manning was off target all day, completing just 26 of 46 passes as the Colts advanced to the AFC Championship Game with a 24-13 win. A day after the playoff loss, Coach John Fox who won four straight division titles was fired.
2015: After their disappointing playoff exit the Denver Broncos went into the final year of Peyton Manning’s contract hoping the five time MVP had some magic left. The Broncos also had a new coach as Gary Kubiak, who once was the reliable backup for John Elway replaced John Fox. In the opener, Manning struggled throwing a pick six early in the third quarter to give the Baltimore Ravens a lead at Sports Authority Field. As the third quarter came to an end, the Broncos had their own pick six, with Aquib Talib returning a Joe Flacco interception 51 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos would also get four Field Goals from Brandon McManus to start the season with a 19-13 win. Four days later Manning continued to struggle throwing another pick six as the Kansas City Chiefs jumped out to a 14-0 lead at Arrowhead Stadium. Talib again played a key role intercepting Alex Smith to set up two late first half scores to tie the game just before halftime. The Broncos would battle back all night, tying the game late in regulation as Manning completed an 80-yard scoring drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders. Overtime looked to be a lock, but Brandon Marshall stripped Jamaal Charles allowing Bradley Roby to scoop and score from 21 yards out to give Denver a dramatic 31-24 win. Defense continued to be the key for the Broncos as they beat the Detroit Lions 24-12, breaking the game open late as David Bruton’s interception stopped a potential game winning drive for the Lions. With the ball the Broncos drove down the field in five plays as Peyton Manning threw his second touchdown pass of the game. In Week 4, Peyton Manning continued to struggle throwing two interceptions. However, a 72-yard touchdown run by Ronnie Hillman helped the Broncos build an early 13-0 lead over the Minnesota Vikings. After the Vikings rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter, Brandon McManus hit his third Field Goal of the game to allow the Broncos to escape with a 23-20 win. On the road against the Oakland Raiders, Manning was picked off twice again as the Broncos offense had trouble getting on track. Once again McManus had three Field Goals, as Chris Harris Jr’s 74-yard interception returned proved to be the difference as the Broncos improved to 5-0 with a 16-10 win. Against the Cleveland Browns, Peyton Manning continued to struggle with three interceptions, but was able to bounce back after a Karlos Dansby return gave the Browns the lead in the fourth quarter with a 35 yard pick six. Down 20-16 on the first play after the interception, Manning connected with Emmanuel Sanders for a 75-yard score to once again give Denver the lead. The game would end up in overtime and once again Brandon McManus had three Field Goals hitting the game winner from 34 yards as the Broncos won the game 23-20. Following their bye week, the Broncos top ranked defense was on full display on Sunday Night Football, as they held Aaron Rodgers to 77 yards passing in a 29-10 win over the Green Bay Packers. The Broncos would suffer their first loss a week later, when they were beaten by the Indianapolis Colts 27-24. A week later, the Broncos suffered a second straight loss, falling to the Chiefs at home 29-13. Peyton Manning had one of the worst games of his career, throwing four interceptions before being benched in favor of Brock Osweiler. Despite the 5-for-20 performance, Manning with 35 yards broke Brett Favre’s record for career passing yards. Osweiler would get the start a week later on the road against the Chicago Bears, as Peyton Manning was unavailable with a foot injury against his former Coach John Fox. Osweiler was just good enough, passing for 250 yards with two touchdowns as the Broncos edged the Bears 17-15 as they turned aside a potential game tying two point try. Manning continued to be sidelined as the Broncos hosted the unbeaten New England Patriots on a snow Sunday Night in Denver. Down 21-7 in the fourth quarter the Broncos rallied to take the lead as Brock Osweiler led them down the field 83 yards in five plays with 69 seconds left. The Patriots would answer and force overtime as Stephen Gostkowski hit a 47-yard Field Goal as time expired. After stopping the Patriots on the first possession of overtime, the Broncos would win the game 30-24 on a 43-yard rumble by C.J. Anderson. The Broncos defense continued its strong play a week later as they beat the San Diego Chargers 17-3, with Danny Trevathan’s pick six being the key play early in the game. The Broncos offense meanwhile continued to struggle as they only managed four first half Field Goals by Brandon McManus, as Broncos receivers suffered all day from a bad case of the drops. The Broncos despite holding a 12-0 lead at halftime would lose the game 15-12 to the Raiders at Mile High, ending their eight game winning streak against their AFC West rivals. A week later on the road, the Broncos suffered another second half collapse against the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing 34-27 as the Steelers ended the game with 24 unanswered points. A week later the Broncos would have a comeback of their own on Monday Night against the Cincinnati Bengals. Down 14-3 at the half, the Broncos got back in the game as Brock Osweiler completed an 81-yard scoring drive with an eight-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders. The game would eventually reach overtime, where Brandon McManus gave Denver a 20-17 lead. The lead would stand up as DeMarcuse Ware clinched victory with a strip sack of A.J. McCarron. Going into the final game of the season, the Broncos got a big lift from the Miami Dolphins who beat the Patriots opening the way for Denver to hold home field in the AFC with a win over the Chargers at home. Early on things looked good as Osweiler connected with Demaryius Thomas for a 72-yard touchdown score just 31 seconds into the game. However, Brock Osweiler struggled the remainder of the first half as the Chargers took a 13-7 lead early in the third quarter. Looking for a jump start, Coach Gary Kubiak turned to Peyton Manning who took the field for the first time since Week 10. Manning led an 80-yard drive capped by a one yard run from C.J. Anderson to regain the lead. The Chargers would again take the lead in the fourth quarter on an 80-yard pass play. The Broncos though answered and scored the game’s final ten points to win 27-20 and clinch home field with a record of 12-4. While Peyton Manning was solid, it was the Broncos running game that won the day as Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson combined for 215 yards, with Hillman scoring the game winner with 4:44 left.
2015 Playoffs: In the Divisional Round the Denver Broncos faced the Pittsburgh Steelers who came in banged up after a tough Wild Card win over the Cincinnati Bengals. After coming off the bench in the regular season finale, Peyton Manning was named the starter for the postseason. Manning was able to avoid the big mistake, but unable to finish a drive as they managed just four Brandon McManus Field Goals and trailed 13-12 in the fourth quarter. Finally, the Broncos got in the endzone with three minutes left on a one yard run by C.J. Anderson. Manning would connect with Demaryius Thomas for a two-point conversion to make the lead seven points. The Broncos would add a fifth field goal from McManus and went on to win the game 23-16. The Broncos would face a familiar foe in the AFC Championship Game as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady faced each other for what many expected to be the final time with the Broncos hosting the New England Patriots. Manning and Brady were hardly the story with the Super Bowl on the line as the Broncos defense had one of the great postseason efforts keeping pressure on Brady all day at Mile High. Manning meanwhile connected with Owen Daniels twice to build a 17-9 halftime lead, as the Patriots missed a key PAT after answering the Broncos first touchdown in the first quarter. The second half would be a defensive struggle as the Broncos managed just one Brandon McManus Field Goal. Leading 20-12 the Broncos defense appeared to run out of gas as Tom Brady led the Patriots down the field highlighted by a 40-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski and third and long. The Patriots got in the endzone with 12 seconds left, but that earlier missed extra point loomed large as they needed a two-point conversion to tie. Bradley Roy would pick off Brady in the endzone to keep the Broncos in front as they recovered the on-side kick and advanced to Super Bowl 50 with a 20-18 win.
Super Bowl 50: The story of Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara was Peyton Manning as all reports seemed to indicate he would retire following the season. In a complete reversal of their trip to the Meadowlands two years earlier, the Denver Broncos had the top ranked defense in the NFL and faced the Carolina Panthers who had the league’s best offense. In most Super Bowl match ups with the top defense and top offense facing off it was the top defense that won. After Brandon McManus opened the scoring with a 34-yard Field Goal, the Broncos defense showed just how strong it could be as Von Miller knocked the ball loose from Panthers QB Cam Newton. The ball was recovered by Malik Jackson in the endzone giving the Broncos a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. McManus would add another Field Goal in the second quarter as Carolina got on the board with a touchdown from Jonathan Stewart. In the second half, the Broncos defense continued to frustrate Cam Newton, with McManus adding another Field Goal in the third quarter. Leading 16-10, Miller got another strip sack of Newton to set the Broncos up at the Carolina four-yard line. C.J. Anderson would take full advantage with a two-yard score with 3:08 left. Peyton Manning would complete a two-point conversion pass to Bernie Fowler to complete the scoring and give the Broncos a third Lombardi Trophy with a 24-10 win. Von Miller who had five tackle, two and half sacks and two forced fumbles would be named Super Bowl MVP as Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset with a championship just like John Elway did 17 years earlier.
2016: After winning the Super Bowl the Denver Broncos were forced to find a new quarterback with the retirement of Peyton Manning and the free agent departure of Brock Osweiler. At first the Broncos signed Mark Sanchez, who was released after struggling in the preseason. This left Trevor Siemian as the starter in Week 1, as Rookie Paxton Lynch, whom the Broncos traded up to draft was the backup. In the NFL’s Thursday Night kickoff, the Broncos hosted the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of Super Bowl 50. The Panthers controlled the game in the first half leading 17-7, but the Broncos defense took over in the second half. After a scoreless third quarter, the Broncos drew within three points on a 25-yard run by C.J. Anderson on the first play of the fourth quarter. Following an interception by Chris Harris Jr., the Broncos took the lead on a second touchdown by Anderson. The Panthers answered with a long drive, but only managed a field goal. The Panthers would have the ball late, but an intentional grounding call against Cam Newton stalled the drive, as Graham Gano’s attempt to win the game with a 50-yard field goal as time expired sailed wide left, allowing the Broncos to hold for a 21-20 win. A week later against the Indianapolis Colts, the Broncos defense broke open a close game late, as Aqib Talib returned an interception 46 yards and Shane Ray returned a fumble 15 yards in the fourth quarter to close a 34-20 win at Mile High. In their first road game, the Broncos got a big game from Siemian passing for 312 yards with four touchdowns while Shane Ray had three sacks on defense to lead Denver to a 29-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Broncos would reach 4-0, with a 27-7 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but lost Trevor Siemian to a shoulder injury. Returning home, the Broncos suffered their first loss of the season to the Atlanta Falcons 23-16 as Paxton Lynch struggled in his first start. Trevor Siemian returned four days later, but the Broncos lost again 21-13 on the road against the San Diego Chargers, as Coach Gary Kubiak missed the game suffering from a severe migraine. In a Monday Night battle with the Houston Texans, Denver fans let Brock Osweiler hear the boos for his decision to leave the Broncos. The Broncos defense made life even worse for Osweiler, as they limited the Texans to just three field goals in a dominant 27-9 win. A week later the Broncos would face the Chargers for the second time in three weeks, the Broncos No Fly Defense would frustrate Phillip Rivers all day with three interceptions in a 27-19 win. With first place on the line in Week 9, the Broncos fell into a black hole, losing a Sunday Night battle with the Oakland Raiders 30-20. At the Superdome, the Broncos played a crazy game against the New Orleans Saints after taking an early 10-0, found themselves down 17-10 in the fourth quarter. After tying the game on a touchdown reception by Demaryius Thomas the Broncos defense came up big but settled for two Brandon McManus field goals to take a 23-17 lead. The Saints would answer, scoring with 1:22 left on a 32-yard pass from Drew Brees to Brandin Cooks. With the Saints on the verge to take the lead with the PAT, Justin Simmons blocked Will Lutz kick, the ball was scooped up by Will Parks who returned it all the way for a defensive two point to give the Broncos a 25-23 lead. The stunned Saints were now forced to make an on-side kick which was recovered by Denver to seal the win. After going into the bye week at 7-3, the Broncos faced the Kansas City Chiefs in a Sunday Night battle which was key for the playoff battle. After falling behind 9-0 early in the game, the Broncos appeared on the verge of winning the game with a 35-yard reception by Emmanuel Sanders and a 76-yard reception by Bennie Fowler in the fourth quarter. However, the Chiefs tied game on a stunning 75-yard drive at the end of regulation that also needed a two-point play. Each team managed a field on their first overtime possession. On the Broncos second possession Gary Kubiak sent Brandon McManus out for a 62-yard attempt. The kick came up short, giving the Chiefs the ball at midfield, which would set up Cairo Santos to win the game for Kansas City 30-27. With Trevor Siemian, sidelined in Week 13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Paxton Lynch struggled again but the Broncos defense saved the day in a 20-10 win, with Bradley Roby’s 51-yard interception return playing a key role. Siemian returned a week later, as the Broncos suffered a stunning 13-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans, despite shutting down Marcus Mariotta. The Broncos returned home to face the New England Patriots, but faltered again the following week, losing 16-3 as their playoff hopes began to slip away. Facing the Chiefs in a Christmas Night showdown at Arrowhead Stadium, the Broncos were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since 2010 as their offense again faltered in a 33-10 loss. The Broncos would end the season with a 24-6 home win over the Raiders, finishing at 9-7. Following the game, Coach Gary Kubiak stepped down over health concerns.
2017: For the first time in five years, the Denver Broncos were not defending AFC West Champions, after a mediocre 2016 campaign, and Gary Kubiak’s resignation due to health issues. Vance Joseph was hired as the team’s new head coach, while a quarterback battle took place in the preseason between, Trevor Siemian, and Paxton Lynch. Ultimately Siemian won the job and was anointed the starter for the team’s Week 1 Monday Night Football game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Broncos started strong but had to hold on as the Los Angeles made a late charge with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns and appeared to have tied the game, but Vance Joseph called timeout before Younghoe Koo’s field goal attempt. On the second attempt after the icing, Koo’s kick was blocked by Shelby Harris as the Broncos won 24-21. Trevor Siemian was on the money in Week 2, passing for 231 yards with four touchdowns as the Broncos whipped the Dallas Cowboys 42-17. Denver’s defense which held Ezekiel Elliot to a career-worst eight yards. And picked off Dak Prescott twice, including a 103-yard pick six by Aqib Talib. After a 26-16 setback on the road against the Buffalo Bills, the Broncos strong start continued as they edged the Oakland Raiders 16-10. Following the bye week and sitting a 3-1 Denver was heavily favored going into a Sunday Night Football game with the winless New York Giants. The Broncos could never get their engine started, as the Giants ran all over them. Orleans Darkwa racked up 117 yards, leading the Giants to a 23-10 win at Mile High. The loss would trigger a sudden and surprising nosedive as the Broncos lost eight in a row. This included five straight games of double-digit losses. More embarrassing, they Broncos were shut out for the first time since 1992 in their Week 7 rematch against the Los Angeles Chargers, losing 21-0. After the Week 11 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver decided to part ways with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, hoping that quarterbacks’ coach, Bill Musgrave, could get the offense back on track after some putrid performances. Paxton Lynch was named the starter for the Week 12 game in Oakland, but Lynch suffered an ankle injury during the third quarter as the Broncos lost 21-14. The final loss of the losing streak was a blowout in Miami, against the Dolphins, where Jay Cutler led the Dolphins to a 35-9 win. Over the streak, Denver had pitiful performances from the offense as a whole, and the quarterbacks in particular. Brock Osweiler, was routinely juggled into the starting job due to poor play from Siemian. And later in the season, he would seize the starting job, in hopes of jump-starting the offense. Siemian would later get the reigns again, starting from weeks 13-15 before suffering a partial dislocation in his non-throwing shoulder, ending his season. At 3-9 the Broncos entered the final quarter of their season with Brock Osweiler as the starter. Shutting out the New York Jets 23-0 and then winning a Thursday night game against the Indianapolis Colts 25-13 brought them to 5-9. That would be the final wins of the season as the Broncos crash-landed at the finish line, losing their remaining two games to the Washington Redskins and then the rival Kansas City Chiefs. It was the Broncos first losing season since 2010. Despite rumors of a change, Vance Joseph was kept on as head coach. The Broncos poor season saw them get the fifth overall draft pick which they used to select Bradley Chubb a defensive standout from NC State. The Broncos also acquired Quarterback Case Keenum, who led the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship Game.
Written by Matt Malave
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Page created on July 13, 2002. Last updated on September 9, 2018 at 1:30 am ET.