DENVER — Where has that been?
“I’m still confused how this all happened the last eight weeks,” defender Shelby Harris said after the Broncos, well, looked like the Broncos at Mile High.
Colorado’s long statewide nightmare is over. After eight straight down, the Broncos finished up.
Broncos 23, J-E-T-S 0. Yes, yes, yes.
The Broncos did not tie the franchise record for consecutive defeats (9). They did not commit more turnovers (zero) than they collected (two). They did not fumble away punts, play with 12 men on the field, make the natives restless. Finally, the Broncos were not in the conversation for worst team in the NFL.
And an NFL team that’s capable of shutting out an NFL team should not be 4-9.
Now confusion reigns. This lopsided result underscored two beliefs: Denver has been miserably coached, and Broncos Country remains the best.
It took Vance Joseph an entire training camp and 14 weeks of the regular season to put his foot down and figure out Jordan “Sunshine” Taylor — not Isaiah “Butterfingers” McKenzie — should be returning punts.
And when the Broncos gave them every reason to turn away, 70,332 folks still showed up to root for the home team. On a postcard-perfect afternoon, only 5,186 stayed home. They washed down $7.50 pizzas with $9.25 premium beers. Question its sanity. But never question the loyalty of Broncos Country.
Mile High has been sold out a football-record 372 games and counting.
“They’re smart and they know the game,” quarterback Trevor Siemian said.
Hold the parade. It’s the Jets, and the Broncos still own a top-five pick if the draft started today.
But it all makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Sunday was how this was all supposed to look: Von Miller dancing after one of Denver’s four sacks, the “No Fly Zone” gloating after an interception by Darian Stewart, Siemian and the offense being conspicuous by the absence of turnovers. The most basic things were basic things.
“I feel like all year we’ve been able to do this,” Adam Gotsis said.
“We’re capable of doing that,” Chris Harris Jr. said.
“Our technique has been killing us on defense,” Von Miller said.
The Broncos allowed the Jets to gain 100 yards of offense. Total. The Jets had nowhere to run and no ability to pass. The "No Fly Zone" dies hard.
“When we’re playing with a lead it plays into our hands. Our back end is phenomenal. Our (pass) rush is amazing,” Todd Davis said. “When you’re trying to throw the ball there’s not much you do when you have to face those guys.”
Again: Where has that been?
“The difference is that we didn't turn the ball over,” Joseph said.
Congratulations to "VJ." I can’t imagine how difficult, trying and demoralizing it must be to realize a lifelong dream and then have it crash and burn like this Broncos season. But if Sunday’s performance showed anything, it’s that the Broncos never should have been in this situation in the first place.
These Broncos are nowhere near Super Bowl-caliber. But in a division that shows two teams barely above .500 — the 7-6 Chiefs and Chargers — these Broncos should not be out of it before Santa goes wheels up.
The Broncos defense scored a shutout for the first time since Nov. 20, 2005. Not even the Super Bowl 50 champs scored a shutout.
“This is the result we all knew we could have every week,” Shelby Harris said.
Confusing, isn't it?