Broncos’ Loss Means Playing For Pride

Todd Haley and Josh McDaniels meet for a warm embrace. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

You win some and you lose some, but the Denver Broncos have lost 17 of their last 22 games. A streak like that hasn’t been seen in years. Unfortunately, however, a game like today’s has been commonplace.

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Broncos 10 - 6 on a brisk but sunny day that was more reminiscent of Colorado weather. The Broncos were nowhere close to home, however. The chill in the air went to straight to the bones while the chill from the fans went straight to the soul.

Kansas City has never been a hospitable environment and for the Chiefs who have yet to lose a home game this year, home isn’t just a place where they live; it’s a place where the crowd understands them.

After losing to the Broncos by 20 points in their first meeting, everybody who knows anything about football would tell you that today’s game would be anything but a walk in the Mile High air that we witnessed in week 10.

While the scoreboard doesn’t indicate a roll-over-and-die performance by the Broncos, there really was not much vitality to the team that needed life the most on this day – a day that could theoretically prolong the Broncos’ season.

It was a close game, but the stats don’t lie – the Chiefs deserved to win the game.

The Chiefs had 21 first downs, 359 yards of total offense, went 6-for-14 on third down, and held the ball for 37:14. The Broncos, by comparison had 13 first downs, 247 yards of total offense, went 3-for-12 on first down, and had the ball for just 22:46.

Both quarterbacks had sub-par performances, and the team’s two leading receivers didn’t make an impact in the game. Matt Cassel cooled off after halftime and went 17-for-31 for 196 yards and 1 TD. Kyle Orton had an even worse performance going 9-for-28 for 117 yards. Brandon Lloyd, the Broncos’ game-leading receiver, had 2 catches for 31 yards and Dwayne Bowe didn’t have a reception. 

It was the “backfield burlesque show,” all running backs poking fun at the run defenses. Knowshon Moreno had a career day carrying the ball 23 times for 161 yards. That’s 7.0 yards per carry - potential Josh McDaniels saw, but the rest of the world was waiting for. Jamaal Charles had 23 carries for 116 yards.

The stats don’t really matter in the end. The Broncos had the Chiefs within reach and they couldn’t get more than two field goals on the scoreboard. It looked more like a game between the 49ers and Panthers rather than between two storied rivals in the AFC West.  

The orange and blue will never fade from the uniforms or from the city of Denver, but there is a giant grey cloud that hovers over the Broncos’ organization. As the losses pile up, the memories of AFC Championship titles, Super Bowl wins, and Elway touchdowns become much more pronounced. The fans need something to hang on to and a post-Shanahan 11-17 record doesn’t cut it.

Not even a hug can make things right.

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Topics: Denver Broncos, Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs, Knowshon Moreno

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