Well that was fun.
It was a nasty, cold game in which the Broncos defense, seemingly completely transformed from the unit who was embarrassed in Miami just a few weeks ago, dominated the Chiefs offense on the way to victory.
It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means, but it’s a sweet victory over the Chiefs as well as a sign the team is far better than the one that started the season.
After stumbling in Kansas City two weeks prior, the team gets to face the kings of the AFC West yet again. Yay...
What an opening sequence!
Talk about clicking on all cylinders to start the game...a three-and-out by the defense, a 31-yard punt return into KC territory by Marvin Mims, and a beautifully executed touchdown drive on the back of the run game. Not sure where that’s been all year, but damn if it didn’t look efficient.
Turnover and a score? Yes, please
A turnover forced by Josey Jewell on KC receiver Marquez Valdes-Scanting gave the Broncos the ball at the 50. Following a 39-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Jerry Jeudy, Wilson would again find Jeudy two plays later for an 11-yard touchdown. Not only did the Broncos turn the Chiefs over, but the offense actually capitalized on it. What team is this?
ANOTHER KC turnover?!?! Is this real?
Rookie DB Ja’Quan McMillian picked off Patrick Mahomes to once again to give the Broncos the ball in Chiefs territory. Could the offense actually go up 21-3 while receiving the ball first after halftime? What is this team?
Ah, there’s the team we’re used to
The Broncos this time didn’t capitalize, and the offense that struggled to move the ball the past two games once again reared its ugly head. The unit went just 34 yards the next three series, and Russell Wilson took sacks on a fourth down and two third downs, taking too long to make a decision. Luckily, the defense still pulled their weight and kept Kansas City out of the end zone, forcing them into two field goals rather than touchdowns. 14-9 Broncos at the half.
Just hold on and don’t mess up...please
What appeared to have the makings of a lopsided lead for the Broncos has turned into quite the tight situation. The Broncos offense remains anemic, and Wilson has again been sacked on critical third downs three more times (although one was negated due to a defensive penalty). The defense, however, remains a force to be reckoned with. The Broncos could really use just one big break in their favor...
And there it is!
A punt back to the Chiefs is MUFFED, and the Broncos recover inside the 10-yard line! Denver gets the ball early in the fourth quarter in prime position to score!
Are the Broncos actually going to pull this off?
And BOOM! Two plays, and Russell Wilson’s third touchdown pass of the game, and the Broncos pull ahead 21-9. With just over 10 minutes remaining, the end of the streak is looking more and more like a reality.
The defense DELIVERS!
No matter the performance on this particular day, one couldn’t be faulted if he was just waiting for the defense to cave to Mahomes and Kelce. There’s just no way the unit could maintain, could they? They could. Stopping KC on downs inside the Denver 30-yard line only to have to bail out the offense yet again after a three-and-out (capped off by...you guessed...a Russell Wilson sack on third down), Justin Simmons would pick off Mahomes to give the ball back to the Broncos. Now the Broncos just have to hold on...
And that’s game!
The interception, which put the Broncos in the red zone, allowed the offense to control the clock the rest of the way. Russell Wilson converted a third down on a sneak, and Will Lutz was able to split the uprights on a 28-yard field goal to put the game away. The streak is officially over!
What happens now?
While it’s great to get a win, what does this mean for the rest of the season? The Broncos are still just 3-5 with a tough schedule remaining. Do they go full throttle and try to salvage what remains of the season? Do they sell off by tomorrow’s trade deadline?
If the plan is to keep the foot on the pedal, fix Russ on third downs
A lot has been said about the improvements from Russell Wilson this season, much of the praise warranted, but he still hurts the team too often in critical situations. He simply can’t hold onto the ball so long on third and fourth downs. The line is not as good as they should be, and Garret Bolles is simply unreliable as a left tackle, but a lot still falls on Wilson. If he continues to struggle in this manner, it’s difficult to envision the Broncos having any kind of a meaningful turnaround. But if he and Sean Payton can put their heads together to have him move quicker on third downs, this could have the potential for somewhat of a Cinderella season.