I had declared the Broncos season over. My podcast partner, John Reidy had, too. We were recording the South Stands Denver Fancast live at Boone’s Tavern when we watched the Broncos getting whipped by the San Diego Chargers in the first half of a much anticipated clash on Monday Night Football.
The game was supposed to be a turning point in the Broncos season. Having already lost to the Falcons, Texans and Patriots, Denver needed a spark. The week six divisional contest with San Diego provided them with an opportunity to improve their record to .500 and get their season moving back in the right direction. Unfortunately, the Broncos were collapsing before our very eyes.
It was during the half-time show that John and I proclaimed the 2012 Denver Broncos dead and gone. They simply would not be able to recover from losing twice as many games as they had won in the early part of the season and they would have fallen too far behind the Chargers to catch up. 2012 was never going to be their year, anyway, we decided. The Peyton Manning experiment would work - but we would not taste the fruits of success until 2013.
Then it happened.
The Broncos scored 35 unanswered points on route to one of the greatest comebacks in team history. They beat San Diego and began a winning streak that would not end.
Since the second half began in week six at Qualcomm, the Denver Broncos have scored 346 points. Their opponents have scored 151. Denver won eleven straight, starting with that Monday Night Football game in San Diego. They finished the 2012 season with a record of 13-3, the best record in the NFL.
And it all started with the Broncos down 24-0 at half time.
Whatever kind of magic took command over the Broncos that night, it has never let go. The beating the Chargers were in the midst of handing them awoke something in the Denver Broncos. It’s as though Peyton Manning went into that locker room and simply made a decision that there was to be no more losing.
I’m certain that I speak for my partner, John Reidy, when I say that I have never been more happy to have been so wrong. By declaring the Broncos’ season “over” on October 15th we both made ourselves look like fools. But we’re not the only ones. Nobody could have predicted that Denver would go on an historic run from that point in the season forward.
Today the Broncos are the top seed in the AFC and looking forward to a bye week. The road to the Super Bowl goes through the Mile High City. Meanwhile, the Chargers have fired their head coach and their GM and are looking ahead to an uncertain future.
What a difference a half makes.