In Broncos locker room, it’s clear that snapping the skid to Chiefs would be a big deal
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In a wrecked season, with hopes of a division title and even a winning season gone, one carrot remains in front of the Broncos:
To stop THE STREAK.
“This win would absolutely mean everything, especially playing it at home,” said safety Justin Simmons, the second-longest-tenured current Bronco.
Kansas City’s 13-game winning streak in the series is the longest at the Broncos’ expense since the Raiders ripped of 14 consecutive wins from Nov. 21, 1965 until a 30-23 stunner in Oakland on Oct. 22, 1972.
That win came in John Ralston’s first season as head coach. It didn’t mark the end of the Raiders’ dominance; Denver went 1-7-1 in the next nine games in the series. But it got the ball rolling in myriad ways for the then-hapless Broncos. A year later, Ralston’s Broncos earned their first-ever winning season.
An upset win Sunday won’t change the outcome of the season. It might not even start even a modest winning streak to end the campaign. But it will give the Broncos something to which they can point — and at least one goal accomplished from an underwhelming campaign.
“Absolutely. That’s the conversation. The season hasn’t worked out like we wanted, but at the end of the day, this is Chiefs week. It’s an AFC West game,” wide receiver Kendall Hinton said.
“It’s a big rivalry, and we’re gonna go out and attack like it’s such.”
Indeed, it’s a big rivalry in which the Broncos have been occasionally competitive, but perpetually on the short end in recent years.
“Definitely a lot of attention on this game,” inside linebacker Josey Jewell said, “and a lot more at stake — it feels like sometimes, playing them — since we haven’t gotten a win in a while.”
Sep. 17, 2015, to be precise.
In the final seconds that night, Brandon Marshall knocked the football loose from Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles, Bradley Roby scooped it up and dashed to the end zone, and left Arrowhead Stadium in shocked silence.
Since then, it’s been nothing but Denver misery.
“I think we kind of went over it this morning, while eating breakfast,” defensive lineman Mike Purcell said. “2015 was the last time Denver won. I didn’t even think it was that.
“It’s been a long time coming, and it definitely needs to change, for sure.”
Only one Bronco is left from their last win in the series: kicker Brandon McManus. The rest of the roster has turned over. The skid spans two general managers, two ownership groups and three head coaches; if the Broncos don’t pull off the upset Sunday, it will become four.
An upset Sunday won’t be the end of the Broncos’ woes. But it could be a turning point.
“I think that would be huge,” Hinton said. “Especially with the way the season’s gone, being able to get one of those big staple games this year — it would be a big game for us, for sure, and I think going into next year, having that momentum, and even the next game against them. I think that would be a big step for this team.”
That being said, the Broncos also just need a win, period.
“More than anything, I want to get a win for this team,” edge rusher Jonathon Cooper said. “I feel like we need a win, we need a big win and we need it in a big fashion.
“And what’s a better way to do that than this Sunday?”