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The 1965 Denver Broncos improve, but tend to stop winning games right around the midway point of each season

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos missed out on Joe Namath due to an idiotic trade, and to add insult to injury they used their second round pick on middle linebacker Dick Butkus -- who chose to sign with his hometown Chicago Bears, but at least they doubled their win total from the previous two seasons in 1965. That was largely due to a spike in offensive production, but 4-10 was still not a sign of major momentum.

Both Lionel Taylor and Cookie Gilchrist were the major components of that offensive resurgence. After starting the season 3-3, the offensive production continued but like previous years the franchise could not get both units to gel simultaneously.

The Broncos would lose seven of their final eight games giving up more than 32 points per game on defense. It was a common theme of these early seasons for the Broncos to get most of their wins during the first six or seven games, only to completely collapse to end the season.

An interesting footnote to the 1965 season comes in the fact that a fourth-year coach was added to coach up the Broncos’ offensive line. That coach was Red Miller who, after stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Colts and New England Patriots, would become the first Broncos head coach to not only lead the team into the playoffs but to a Super Bowl berth as well.

1965 Preseason
Aug. 7 17,707 L 30-24 Kansas City Chiefs University of Denver Stadium
Aug. 14 18,000 W 27-17 Oakland Raiders Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug. 21 18,913 L 21-6 San Diego Chargers University of Denver Stadium
Aug. 28 12,666 L 25-3 Houston Oilers San Antonio, Texas
Sept. 4 14,550 L 30-20 Oakland Raiders Sacramento, California
1965 Regular Season
Sept. 11 27,022 L 34-31 San Diego Chargers Balboa Stadium
Sept. 19 30,682 L 30-15 Buffalo Bills Bears Stadium
Sept. 24 26,782 W 27-10 Boston Patriots Fenway Park
Oct. 3 34, 988 W 16-13 New York Jets Bears Stadium
Oct. 10 31,001 L 31-23 Kansas City Chiefs Bears Stadium
Oct. 17 32,492 W 28-17 Houston Oilers Bears Stadium
Oct. 24 45,046 L 31-13 Buffalo Bills War Memorial Stadium
Oct. 31 53,717 L 45-10 New York Jets Shea Stadium
Nov. 7 33,073 L 35-21 San Diego Chargers Bears Stadium
Nov. 14 28,126 W 31-21 Houston Oilers Rice Stadium
Nov. 21 30,369 L 28-20 Oakland Raiders Bears Stadium
Dec. 5 19,023 L 24-13 Oakland Raiders Frank Youell Field
Dec. 12 27,207 L 28-20 Boston Patriots Bears Stadium
Dec. 19 14,421 L 45-35 Kansas City Chiefs Municipal Stadium

MHR MVP of 1965

I wanted to reward Lionel Taylor again for his incredible 85 catch, 1131 yard season with six touchdowns, but his record really stands for itself. Cookie Gilchrist really did have an outstanding season in 1965.

Gilchrist rushed 252 times from the fullback position for 954 yards and six touchdowns. Relatively speaking, that is roughly the same production as Taylor, yet Gilchrist also added another 18 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield to push him over the top.

Who gets your MVP?

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