Outlined against a periwinkle blue December sky, the Poor Horsemen won again.
After the dark, dismal skies of October and November and into this month, after dreadful defeats from Los Angeles to Miami, Philadelphia to Oakland, and Kansas City to Denver (three times), the Broncos positively, progressively prevailed on the 70th day.
Gasoline was priced at ONLY $2.43 a gallon way back in the good old days (Oct. 1, 2017) when the Broncos last won a football game. I think Grantland Rice was writing and Jerry Rice was catching passes that long ago. I know the Broncos still were considered a postseason contender then.
By virtue of a shutout-blowout vs. the Jets, the local lads accomplished many goals Sunday afternoon:
• The Broncos will not set the record for most consecutive defeats in franchise history. They must settle for falling one loss short of the legendary 1967 Broncos, who were beaten in nine straight games from Sept. 3 to Nov. 12 before ultimately overwhelming the Bills in Buffalo 21-20, then promptly falling in San Diego.
• The ’17 team will not end up being the only Broncos in 58 seasons to lose a record 13 games. At 4-9, they, nevertheless, have a genuine chance to tie the mark of 12 defeats in 2010 during the Josh McDaniels Error.
• For those who haven’t thought of this dubious potential honor, the Broncos did not lose to all three New York state teams for the first time ever. The Broncos’ first two defeats of the year were against the Bills and the Giants. The Broncos did manage to lose twice in California, and were rather lucky they don’t have to play the other two California teams. They have lost to teams from eight states and have a chance to lose in Indiana and just outside the District of Columbia.
• The Broncos tried to “Make Those Miracles Happen’’ (theme of the ’77 Super Bowl team) because they had a minuscule mathematical chance to make the playoffs on Sunday. But the Bills’ triumph over the Colts officially eliminated the Broncos, and they can go on about planning January vacations in the last three weeks. Many players and coaches can contemplate their next jobs, in or out of football.
• The Broncos are assured of not being the worst team in the NFL at season’s conclusion. The Browns were punished for the 12th game in a row and cannot surpass the Broncos. The Giants won’t, either. But the Broncos can be lumped in a category of also-rans with the 49ers, the Bucs, the Bears, the Texans and the Colts. That Thursday night game in Indianapolis will be an attractive matchup. Both horse teams should wear all-Blue Christmas uniforms. (Tickets are available, really, for under $10.)
• As a giddy coach Vance Joseph said afterward, the “Broncos flipped what we’ve been seeing the last two months.’’ The Jets were just exactly what the Broncos have been – by turning the ball over with a fumble and an interception, failing miserably on offense and not scoring a point, losing their starting quarterback to injury and playing like a team going nowhere in a hurry-hurry.
• The Broncos did continue their streak of winning 32 straight games (dating to 2012) when they have fewer turnovers – in this game, none – than the opponent. The organization should hold a parade in downtown Denver. There would be a million no-shows. Actually, the Broncos only had several hundred no-shows on Sunday, but the actual attendance probably was the lowest since the last time the Jets played in Denver (2011).
• The Broncos now have more victories (4) than defeats (3) at SAFAMH – (Space Available) Field at Mile High. Unfortunately, no company in the country is willing to pay the Broncos millions of dollars annually to have its name associated with the stadium. How about a GoFundMe?
• And, best of all, the Broncos were in a festive mood, with special reason, and Joseph handed out game balls to everybody on the defense for blanket-blanking the Jets. The Broncos haven’t thrown a shutout since 2005. Guess who that was against? The Jets, of course. The Broncos blistered New York 24-0. This is the 18th of all time for the Broncos.
The shutout deserves a shout out -- with glee.