You wouldn’t believe it given how down Broncos Country has been in October, but the Denver Broncos came into Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs having won two of their last four with one of those losses on the road in a hard-fought win by Kansas City just two weeks prior.
However, from the minute the kickoff happened it was clear this Broncos team was on a mission and that mission stayed the course for the entire 60 minutes. The result was one of Patrick Mahomes’ worst games as a professional and a 24-9 dismantling of the defending Super Bowl champions.
Now the Broncos are winners of three of their last five heading into the Bye Week and, surprisingly, back in the thick of the 7th seed in the AFC and a rather soft schedule in the second half of the season. Forget the playoff deadline, this team has new life for this season.
Here are Mile High Report’s game balls for their Week 8 win over Kansas City:
I’ve got a rather long winded game ball to hand out, but its important to recap the incredible journey defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has taken through the teams first eight games. Nothing is easy in the NFL and Joseph has proven that with enough work and dedicated, you can turn things around on a dime.
Simmons credited Vance Joseph for the creative ways in which he mixed up calls today.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) October 30, 2023
Think back to just over a month ago. On September 24th, the Broncos headed to Florida to take on the Miami Dolphins and it was a game made of nightmares - especially for Vance Joseph. 10 total touchdowns and a 70-20 embarrassing defeat. Joseph shouldered the blame entirely for that debacle saying, “When those things happen, it’s me first. I’ll fix it quickly. We have to.”
He was openly mocked by fans and they began the drumbeat to have him canned midseason. Many were surprised he even made it to the next week, especially midway through the third quarter against the lowly Chicago Bears where the defense had helped Denver into a 28-7 hole. That was the turning point... or the beginning of one. The Broncos rallied on both sides of the ball to score 24 unanswered points to get their first win of the season.
Another loss at home, this time to the New York Jets, and it seemed like it was going to turn into the same ole, same ole. Then Thursday Night Football against the Chiefs happened. Denver’s defense held Mahomes to one touchdown in five red zone attempts and had Denver in the game until the very end. Sadly, the offense didn’t show up. The defense followed it up with another strong performance save a brief moment in the second half where they gave up two touchdowns in rather quick succession, but a win is a win.
I ask you fans in our survey last week if the turnaround on defense was legit or a mirage. Only 27% of you believed a turnaround had occurred. I wasn’t one of them either, but like many of you here today... I’m a believer now.
Vance Joseph, well done! I didn’t think you could do, but this is the kind of win that makes believers out of haters. Let’s see what you guys can do down the stretch! - Tim Lynch
Justin Simmons: “We’ll go to war for VJ week in and week out.”— Parker Gabriel (@ParkerJGabriel) October 30, 2023
We knew that the game plan for defeating the Chiefs would be to run the ball and keep Mahomes off the field. That’s what Javonte Williams was able to do. The offensive line had a decent day in the run blocking department, but it was Williams that consistently broke through tackles and extended plays. That’s consecutive weeks of strong rushing performances, and it appears that he’s returning to pre-injury form. - Ross Allen
Javonte Williams scores a touchdown off a screen pass from QB Russell Wilson to give the Broncos a 7-0 lead over the Chiefspic.twitter.com/9lQSMixclc— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) October 29, 2023
Baron Browning had a rough first game back last week, but he proved his pass-rushing chops this weekend against the Chiefs. He dialed in his timing and did exactly what you need a starting edge rusher to do: Pressure & take down the opposing QB in the most critical moments. Browning blew up in the 4th quarter, with 2.0 total sacks on Patrick Mahomes- one of them a strip sack. His unrelenting assault on the Chiefs’ backfield played a huge role in crushing the Chiefs’ penultimate drive and forcing Mahomes into a desperation heave that let Justin Simmons put the game on ice.
Gotta also say... we should add an honorary Game Ball to the entire roster. Snapping a 16 game losing streak to a division rival deserves game balls all ‘round. - Taylor Kothe
Russel Wilson gets my game ball this week for being himself and playing solid football on the way to the first victory we’ve seen our team get over the Chiefs in 8 years. Wilson threw 3 touchdowns on just 19 throws. He ran 8 times for 30 yards as well keeping the chains moving for his offense. With the Broncos defense improving and our running game producing, Wilson will only get better over the season. - Sadaraine
Sean Payton is the first head coach since Gary Kubiak to beat the Chiefs. Whether this win leads to the Broncos turning the corner, we’ll see. The players played like a team on a mission and the coaches put the players in a position to have success. The fact Payton did something no head coach has done since 2015 is a huge accomplishment. Hopefully this is the first big win of many with Payton as head coach. - Ian St. Clair
I want to give Justin Simmons the game ball, not just for tonight’s efforts — like that fantastic interception and smooth fumble recovery — but for the efforts throughout his entire tenure in Denver so far. This guy takes his job of forcing turnovers very seriously, and he’s always getting the ball back into our offense’s hands; it’s just what he does. So yeah, my game ball goes to Simmons for being such an integral part of our leadership and secondary. - Elizabeth Nicholson
Justin Simmons gets his 5th career INT of QB Patrick Mahomes to end the Chiefs hope of a comebackpic.twitter.com/t2TlbBjRhY— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) October 29, 2023
My game ball goes to Ja’Quan McMillian. The undrafted free agent second year CB had himself a great game finishing with 6 tackles (5 solo), 1 PBU, 2 TFL and 1 INT. He did his best Chris Harris Jr impression, stepping into the void left by injured slot CB K’Waun Williams. He proved that his flash at the end of last season was not a fluke; he’s got game and he may have cemented his place as our CB3 (slot corner) for the rest of the season. Not only did he show great awareness and anticipation in coverage, but he also proved that he was not afraid to tackle in the run game. - Joe Mahoney
Gameball for Courtland Sutton. It wasn’t like Sutton had a career day. He only made two catches for 29 yards, but one of those catches has to be pretty special for him. He has spent his whole career losing to the Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. In the 4th quarter of the Broncos victory the game was still close. 14-9 wasn’t exactly a comfortable lead. Then a muffed punt turned into a scoring chance. Russ had to be evasive behind the line of scrimmage, but found Sutton in the corner of the end zone.
Russell Wilson throws his third touchdown of the game, this time, to WR Courtland Sutton— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) October 29, 2023
Can they pull off the upset??pic.twitter.com/vzofRKwHWG
The game wasn’t over, but it was now a 2-score game in the 4th quarter, and the Broncos had a little breathing room. - Adam Malnati
Thank you for not attending the game and allowing the Chiefs to meet their demise to the Broncos. Please schedule all tours during the NFL season and start the curse of Taylor Swift. - Scotty Payne