The Denver Broncos looked like a completely different team than the one we saw on Christmas Day.
Following that loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Broncos did some housecleaning, firing head coach Nathaniel Hackett and a couple of other coaches. Jerry Rosburg took over as the interim head coach and the team looked noticeably improved.
Not only did the Broncos give the Kansas City Chiefs all they wanted on Sunday, they likely should have won the game. The Chiefs survived 27-24 for their 15th straight win over the Broncos, a streak that dates back to September 2015. But the Broncos had their chances.
One play, in particular, seemed to completely change the trajectory of the game.
With the Broncos leading 17-13 late in the third quarter, they faced a 3rd-and-11 from their own 16-yard line. Russell Wilson dropped back and heaved a ball into the air in the direction of Courtland Sutton, who had two red jerseys around him.
Sutton leaped up and made a tremendous play to haul the pass in. It was a gain of 44 yards down to the Kansas City 40-yard line. The Broncos suddenly had all of the momentum and Arrowhead Stadium was silent, a rarity.
But there was also a yellow flag on the field.
Pass interference was called against Sutton. Replays showed he barely pushed the arm of a Kansas City defender aside. It was a questionable call, to say the least, and one that erased one of the biggest plays of the game.
After failing to convert on 3rd-and-21 the following play, the Broncos had to punt. The Chiefs scored six plays later on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to Blake Bell to regain the lead, one they would not relinquish again.
The Broncos’ next offensive play was an interception and the Chiefs scored another touchdown four plays later to take a 10-point lead.
The Broncos fought valiantly to the end but never seemed to overcome the offensive pass interference penalty.
The Broncos drop to 4-12 on the season and will conclude their year next Sunday at home against the Los Angeles Chargers.