Denver Broncos lose heartbreaker to Chiefs, show promise for future

Denver Broncos QB #3 Drew Lock Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos QB #3 Drew Lock Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos show promise in heartbreaking loss to Chiefs.

There is no way around it– the Denver Broncos‘ 22-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football was gut-wrenching. It is no secret that most fans and most of the world came into this matchup with no expectations for the Broncos.

The Broncos were a heavy underdog and had to travel to Arrowhead in December, one of the worst equations in the NFL for an opposing team. The Chiefs came into the game as the #2 seed with a record of 10-1, and have a very realistic chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.

Meanwhile, the Broncos limped into this game at 4-7, after playing the previous week without a quarterback, a troubling consequence as a result of COVID-19 protocol violations. Although not mathematically eliminated, a playoff appearance simply is not happening for this team, this year.

While this game felt as if it had no expectations, the Denver Broncos came out and shocked the world. If you asked the panel of experts who unanimously picked a Chiefs’ victory, it is likely that not a single one would have predicted the Broncos would lose this game by just six points and would have an opportunity to win the game up until the last second.

The Broncos’ defense came up huge in this game, especially with big performances from guys like Alexander Johnson, A.J. Bouye, and of course, Shelby Harris, who this defense missed sorely in his absence due to COVID. Meanwhile, the offense showed vast amounts of improvement, especially from Melvin Gordon, who rushed for 131 yards on the night.

Pat Shurmur’s play-calling was a level above normal, and the offense could move the ball at will, although once again, scoring under 20 points on the night.

If you were to go on social media, you would see that the verdict is still out on Drew Lock. Lock had his flashes of brilliance, and then had flashes of questionable, if not bad decision making, and his second interception of the night is what sealed the Broncos’ doom.

Lock threw two touchdowns on the night but also threw two interceptions, and under 200 pass yards. It is very hard to imagine that there will not be a new quarterback on the depth chart in 2021 to compete against Drew Lock.

Of course, there are no moral victories for this franchise. The Denver Broncos sit at 4-8, and for the fourth season in a row, will not finish the year with a winning season, and the playoffs are all but out of the question. In Sunday’s post-game presser, head coach Vic Fangio commended his team for their effort, but addressed that it is still a loss:

Of course, a loss isn’t a positive in anyone’s book. However, it is impossible to not praise the Denver Broncos for the effort they gave tonight. It is fair to say that even most fans expected a blowout, and probably even expected this team to be out of the game by halftime, or even early in the third quarter.

That wasn’t the case, although the Broncos have won four games this year, even in a loss, this was the best team football they have played. This team, on every unit, played with grit and determination. Although the offense has scored more points in contests this season, this is the most stabilized football they’ve also played all season.

It was questionable what direction this team was headed in prior to tonight’s game. Now, it feels like the Broncos are absolutely headed in the right direction, and are building on an extremely bright future.

The Denver Broncos may have lost tonight, but they put the league on notice that they are resurrecting.