In approximately eleven weeks the 2012 NFL season will be upon us. Considering that it has been 5-1/2 months since the 2011 season came to an end in New England, we are well over the hump and on the very edge of another Bronco season. To help pass the time between now and the start of the regular season, I am continuing my look back at past Bronco games against teams they will face in 2012. Next up – the New Orleans Saints.
After getting a week off with their bye in Week Seven, the Broncos will make their second appearance of the season on Sunday Night Football when Drew Brees and the Sean Payton-less New Orleans Saints make their sixth trip in franchise history to Colorado to face the Broncos. The Broncos have won four of the five contests held in Denver. Continue reading for a brief synopsis of the five games in Denver.
September 21, 2008: After opening the 2008 season against the Raiders and Chargers, the Broncos welcomed their first opponent from the NFC South to Denver, Colorado. The Broncos took an early lead when Bronco quarterback Jay Cutler connected with Nate Jackson for a short touchdown pass. Near the end of the first quarter Jay Cutler threw his second touchdown pass of the afternoon when he hit Brandon Marshall for a 35 yard touchdown pass and a 14-3 lead. Approximately a minute later, Nate Webster picked up a New Orleans fumble and returned it 34 yards for a Bronco touchdown and a commanding 21-3 lead early in the second quarter. Prior to halftime, the Saints closed the gap to 24-19 thanks to touchdown runs by Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush plus a safety by the New Orleans defense. The teams exchanged touchdowns in the third quarter but the Broncos lead was extended to 34-26 going into the fourth quarter when Matt Prater successfully kicked his second field goal of the day from 34 yards. The only scoring in the fourth quarter was done by the Saints early in the quarter when Pierre Thomas scored his second rushing touchdown of the day closing the gap to 34-32. New Orleans was unsuccessful on the two point conversion and the final score would end up remaining 34-32. The win was the Broncos third straight win in the early 2008 season and it was also the third week in a row scoring more than thirty points. The win streak would come to an end when the Broncos travelled to Kansas City in Week Four and were badly beaten by the Chiefs 33-19.
December 24, 1994: The Broncos ended a disappointing season on Christmas Eve when the New Orleans Saints visited Denver for the fourth time. Both teams finished the 1994 season with losing records and out of the playoffs but, unfortunately Denver fell to 7-9, while the Saints improved to 7-9 with the 30-28 victory over the Broncos. Jason Elam was the offensive standout for the Broncos in the first half by booting field goals of 32 and 30 yards, but it was little help as the Broncos found themselves on the short side of a 17-6 halftime score. Bronco Derrick Clark narrowed the gap when he rushed for a short touchdown in the third quarter. The touchdown, combined with a two point conversion from Hugh Millen to Shannon Sharpe, made the score 17-14. Whatever momentum the Broncos gained by getting within three points was quickly lost when Saints quarterback Jim Everett connected with Torrance Small for a 75 yard touchdown pass. The touchdown pass from Everett to Small was the second time in this game that the duo connected for a score. The first score, a 36 yard completion, occurred in the second quarter. Both touchdown connections followed Bronco scores and were momentum changers. Two additional Bronco touchdowns in the fourth quarter, one by Derrick Clark and one a Millen to Sharpe pass, proved to be too little, too late, as the Broncos were unable to end the season with a win. Morten Anderson kicked two of his three field goals on the day in the fourth quarter, which kept the victory just out of reach for the Broncos. The Saints victory over the Broncos was their first and only victory over the Broncos in Denver. Let’s hope that is still the case come Monday, October 29th 2012 (the day after this season’s game).
September 15, 1985: After opening the 1985 season on the road in Los Angeles against the Rams, the Broncos faced their second NFC opponent in two weeks, when they welcomed the Saints to Mile High Stadium to get the home campaign underway. John Elway didn’t wait long to excite the home crowd as his first touchdown pass was a 65 yard completion to Butch Johnson in the first quarter. Elway went on to complete 28 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns on the afternoon. In addition to the Butch Johnson touchdown, Clint Sampson, Gene Lang, and Clarence Kay were recipients of Elway passes that resulted in touchdowns as well. One of the highlights for the Saints may have been when Morten Anderson made a 55 yard field goal in the third quarter. The successful field goal, as long as it was, brought little consolation to the Saints and their fans as it brought the total score to 24-9. The Broncos would never allow the Saints to gain any momentum and would go on to easily win 34-23. The Broncos would go on to win a total of eleven games in 1985 but failed to win the division or make the playoffs.
November 4, 1979: The lone touchdown in this defensive battle came in the fourth quarter when Rick Upchurch scored on a twelve yard pass from Craig Morton. Prior to that scoring play, Jim Turner gave the Broncos a 3-0 lead in the first quarter when he made a 28 yard field goal. That lead would stand until Saints kicker Garo Yepremian tied the score when his 20 yard field goal split the uprights. Peyton Manning’s father, Archie Manning, was starting quarterback for the Saints and was in his eighth season with New Orleans. The 10-3 victory improved the Broncos record to 7-3 on the year. The team would finish the 1979 season with a 10-6 record and would make the playoffs as a Wild Card. The Houston Oilers, the other AFC wild card team, ended the Bronco season when they beat the Broncos 13-7.
October 13, 1974: The Saints very first trip to the Mile High City did not end in a good way for the black and gold. Behind the arm of Steve Ramsey, the legs of Otis Armstrong, and a Bill Thompson interception returned for a Bronco touchdown, the Broncos soundly beat the Saints 33-17, bringing their record to 2-2-1. Ramsey ended the day with 295 yards passing and two touchdowns while Armstrong added two rushing touchdowns on thirteen attempts for a total of 57 yards. Haven Moses was the leading receiver for the Broncos with five receptions for 132 yards.
Topics: Archie Manning, Bill Thompson, Brandon Marshall, Butch Johnson, Clarence Kay, Clint Sampson, Craig Morton, Denver Broncos, Drew Brees, Garo Yepremian, Gene Lang, Haven Moses, Hugh Millen, Jason Elam, Jay Cutler, Jim Everett, Jim Turner, John Elway, Matt Prater, Morten Anderson, Nate Jackson, Nate Webster, New Orleans Saints, Otis Armstrong, Peyton Manning, Rick Upchurch, Sean Payton, Shannon Sharpe, Steve Ramsey, Sunday Night Football, Torrance Small