The Denver Broncos are 15-5 at home following a bye week. We were 15-4. We are 6-3 on the road following the bye. The NFL started including bye weeks in the schedule in 1990, so overall our team is 21-8 the week after our bye. We still have the second best record in the league following our bye week, but that’s cold comfort after watching our favorite team embarrass themselves on national TV against a team at half-strength.
|16||HOU / TEN||15||13||0||0.536|
|20||RAM / STL / LAR||13||14||1||0.482|
|24||PHO / ARI||13||15||0||0.464|
|27||RAI / OAK||12||16||0||0.429|
The most sobering thing is that in the previous four years when we have lost at home immediately following our bye week, it was a sign that the team was just not that good. Let’s look at each season.
This is the Brian Griese superbowl hangover team that finished the year 6-10. This was the year when Terrell Davis blew out his knee trying to tackle a defender after Griese threw a pick. We had a late bye that year (week 12) and the season was effectively over for us, but at 4-7 we had an outside chance to make the playoffs with a five game winning streak to end the season. Instead we laid an egg at home against the Chiefs. We decided to go away from the run (despite being tied at halftime 10-10); we only had 17 designed runs. Griese threw the ball 36 times. We failed to score in the second half and last 16-10. We would go 2-2 in the final four games, but at 4-8 it didn’t matter. The season was already over.
This team had the bye in week 9. We entered the bye at 6-2, leading the division and looking like we were destined for a playoff spot. Then this game happened. Oakland came into town and punched us in the mouth. We whimpered in a corner and it set the tone for the rest of the season (we would go 3-5 down the stretch and miss the playoffs). What happened in this game? Well, we got down early and abandoned the run (21-7 in the 2nd quarter) after that - we had 19 designed runs and threw the ball 47 times. Asking Brian Griese to win the game with his arm was never a winning strategy. This game ended as a 34-10 loss with Griese putting up decent looking numbers except for the touchdowns (0) and interceptions (1) department. He was 34-47 for 293 yards. This was probably when Shanahan realized that Griese was not going to be the QB to lead this team anywhere in the post-season. Jake Plummer was brought in the following off-season.
This was Mike Shanahan’s final year as the HC in Denver. Denver had their bye in week 8. They stumbled into the bye at 4-3 but our defense, which would finish as one of the worst in league history, was getting gouged by the running game. Their offense was good between the 20s (great at putting up yards), but bad at scoring points (we’d finish 16th in scoring that year but 2nd in yards). At home following the bye they would face a Dolphins team that was also 4-3. We would get down early 13-0 and abandon the run (11 designed runs) and lose 26-17 despite making it close in the 4th (19-17). This team and this defense would stumble their way to an 8-8 finish with Jay Cutler having zero forks to give about his performance or the team and a defense that couldn’t stop a charging hamster. Sadly enough, this team stood at 8-5 with three games left to play and a legitimate shot to make the playoffs with one win in the final three. They were unable to do so losing the final three games by a combined score of 112-54. Shanahan was let go following this season and McDouchebag was hired to begin his disastrous 1+ year tenure as the head coach.
This bring us to the last season, when we also lost at home following a bye week. They had the bye in week 11 last year. The Broncos were 7-3 gong into the bye and had a good shot to make the playoffs with a strong finish. Unfortunately the team derped their way to a 2-4 finished in the final 6 games that started with this overtime loss to KC. This game started as a defensive slugfest with neither team able to score in the first quarter (DEN hardly scored at all in the first quarter in 2016). The first score of the game came via a holding penalty on Russell Okung in the endzone. Tyreek Hill would return the ensuing free kick 86 yards for a TD, but the Broncos would put together a decent drive before half-time to give into the break only down 6. The fireworks would start in the second half. Denver scored on a pass to Jordan Taylor to take a one point lead, then KC answered with another TD from Hill. DEN would score 14 unanswered to take a 24-16 lead late in the 4th quarter (3:00 minutes left), but the NFZ would falter and allow KC to score the tying TD with three seconds left to play. After trading FGs in overtime, McManus would miss on a 61 yard attempt giving KC a short field which would lead to them winning on a 34-yard FG that would doink off of the uprights and go in. The team would struggle on offense after that game, beating Jacksonville 20-10 on the strength of a defensive touchdown. and scoring 10, 3 and 10 points in the next three games to waste one of the best pass defenses in the history of the game. If you can’t remember, the Broncos finished 9-7.
The four times before when our team has laid an egg at home following the bye the team has finished 6-10, 9-7, 8-8 and 9-7. Without dramatic improvements from our QB and our offensive line, 6-10 this year is much more likely than 9-7.
Which record is most likely for the Broncos?
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