3. 2009: Broncos 12, Bengals 7
2009 marked the beginning of the dreaded Josh McDaniels era in Denver. Before things spiraled out of control, the McDaniels-led Broncos actually showed some promise. The team started 6-0 that season, and the first of those wins came on a miracle play in a 12-7 victory in Cincinnati.
From an entertainment perspective, the first 55 minutes of this game were a snooze fest. Through practically the entire game, neither team could muster much offense. Both teams were dropping passes and making mistakes left and right. For the Broncos, trading Jay Cutler away in the off season appeared to be the wrong move as the Kyle Orton-quarterbacked offense looked flat and lifeless in the season opener.
Holding just a 6-0 lead late in the fourth quarter, the Denver defense finally broke. Carson Palmer drove his Bengals to the Broncos' one-yard line where Cedric Benson would punch it in to help Cincinnati take a 7-6 lead with just seconds to play.
After Eddie Royal stumbled on the kick return, Denver was set up at its own 17-yard line. With defeat seemingly inevitable, Kyle Orton launched a desperation heave deep down the sideline. Bengals defensive back Leon Hall tipped the ball up, but it fell right into the arms of Brandon Stokley who took it 87 yards for a miraculous game-winning touchdown.
Despite the miracle win helping Denver get off to a torrid hot start in 2009, the Broncos would ultimately finish 8-8 and out of the playoffs. The season as a whole was a crushing experience, but this week one gem taught me miracles can happen in even the most dire circumstances.