Monday, October 15, 2012 – A Day Now Etched In Denver Bronco History
By Craig Hurst
In my opinion, autumn is the perfect season – the weather is not too hot, not too cold – it’s just right; and it’s football season. My expectations for the Broncos’ Monday night football game in San Diego was the same – I wanted it to be just right.
To capitalize on the awesome autumn weather, I took Monday afternoon off to get eighteen holes of golf in with my father in-law. Mondays are typically a pretty down day because they come right after a weekend, and they’re the farthest day from another weekend. Prior to the golf outing, I had lunch with my wife, and before leaving, I reminded her to set the DVR to record the ESPN pregame show and Monday Night Football. Recording every Bronco game, if available on local cable in central Kansas, is normal operating procedure in my home because Bronco games are always a major event; not just something to kill three hours of time. Besides, you never know what is going to happen, so you might just want to capture it electronically. Little did I know, this would be one of the best decisions of the afternoon!
Although I had shots on the golf course that caused some frustration, none of them caused the level of frustration that the first half of the Bronco game caused. Going into the game, I just wanted the Broncos to execute from the opening kickoff and not get themselves into a major hole. The term “unraveling at the seams” comes to mind as I think back to the first half of this game. While I’m sure many fair-weather Bronco fans/football fans turned the channel at halftime, I just couldn’t bring myself to quit watching, basically giving up. Even though I continued watching, I felt a Bronco victory was as realistic as me shooting par or better on the golf course.
At halftime the Broncos found themselves in a familiar spot – down by 24 points. Could the Broncos come back from a 24 point deficit in only two quarters?
My quick halftime analysis was that the Broncos had better sustain a drive and score a touchdown to open the third quarter or this would be a major blowout. Rather than thinking about the greatest comebacks in the Broncos’ history, I would be thinking about greatest blowout losses in the team’s history. The Broncos came out of the locker room and drove right down the field, capping off an eight play, eighty-five yard drive with a twenty-nine yard touchdown from Peyton Manning to Demaryius Thomas. Although I was satisfied with the opening drive, I was still doubtful the Broncos could overcome the 24-7 deficit to record a win in Week Six. Over the next two hours, the Denver Broncos proved me wrong. The offense rose up and scored three times, and the defense came up huge forcing five turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns. When it was all said and done, the Broncos had put together one of their greatest halves of football this season, if not in their team history, outscoring the Chargers 35-0.
What started out as an evening Bronco fans would just soon forget, turned into an evening that will be remembered for a very long time. Years from now, when die-hard Bronco fans think back on past Bronco games, this game will definitely make the list of most memorable Bronco games – the 1977 AFC Championship game against the Oakland Raiders, The Cleveland Brown saga – The Drive, The Fumble; The Drive II against the Houston Oilers in the 1988 playoffs, the 1984 Monday night football game against the Packers in the snow (28 years to the day of the Bronco comeback against the Chargers); the 1998 AFC Championship in Pittsburgh followed by the Broncos’ first Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XXXII, the 20-19 win against the Chiefs in 1992; Elway’s final game at Mile High in the 1999 AFC Championship against the New York Jets; the multiple, Tebow led comebacks during the 2011 season; of course, the throw and catch on the first play of overtime against the Steelers’ last season; and now, the second half comeback against the Chargers in 2012!
The Broncos scored 35 unanswered points in the second half as they came from behind to beat the Charges 35-24. The win improved the Broncos record to 3-3 and first place in the AFC West.
Will the next memorable game occur this season? Who knows, but I am looking forward to watching and hoping. If anything is for sure, after six games into the season, you can’t give up on this team, because they will fight to the end – as fans, we’re fortunate last Monday’s effort resulted in a win.
The only thing I can guarantee is that the Broncos will not add another notch to their memorable game belt this weekend, because this is their bye week. Scratch that – I’m going to add another notch to that belt; although a replay, I’m going to watch the DVR’d game between the Broncos and Chargers this weekend…. at least the last two quarters anyway!
Enjoy the bye week Bronco fans.
Next up on the docket – the Saints and Drew Brees visit the Mile High city in Week Eight for Sunday Night Football.
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