2019 Denver Broncos Season
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2019 Denver Broncos Season
2019 Denver Broncos season
Head coachVic Fangio
General managerJohn Elway
OwnerEstate of Pat Bowlen
Home fieldEmpower Field at Mile High
Results
Record3-6
Division place4th AFC West
Uniform
Broncos uniforms.png

The 2019 season is the Denver Broncos' 50th in the National Football League, their 60th overall and their first under head coach Vic Fangio. It will also mark the first season under new ownership since 1984, as longtime owner Pat Bowlen died on June 13, 2019. The Broncos are attempting to improve on their 6-10 record from last season and return to the playoffs for the first time since their 2015 Super Bowl-winning season. However, they suffered their first 0-4 start since 1999,[1] before recording their first win in Week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Coaching changes


  • December 31, 2018: One day after the Broncos' 2018 regular-season finale, head coach Vance Joseph was fired, after posting an 11-21 record in his two seasons as the Broncos' head coach.[2]
  • January 15: Brandon Staley was hired as the outside linebackers coach. Staley served in the same capacity with the Chicago Bears during the previous two seasons (2017-2018), alongside current Broncos' head coach Vic Fangio.[5]Ed Donatell was hired as the defensive coordinator. This will be Donatell's third stint with the Broncos, having coached the defensive backs from 1995-1999 and 2009-2010. Donatell also served as a defensive backs alongside Vic Fangio during the previous eight seasons--with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014 and the Chicago Bears from 2015-2018.[6]
  • January 16: Rich Scangarello, who spent 2017 and 2018 as the San Francisco 49ers' quarterbacks coach, was hired as the offensive coordinator.[7]
  • January 17: Wade Harman was hired as the tight ends coach. Harman worked in the same capacity with the Atlanta Falcons from 2015-2018.[8]Renaldo Hill was hired as the defensive backs coach. This will be Hill's second season as an assistant coach, having worked in the same capacity with the Miami Dolphins in 2018. As a player, Hill was also a Broncos' safety from 2009-2010.[9]
  • January 22: Chris Kuper, who was a Broncos' offensive lineman from 2006-2013, was hired as an assistant offensive line coach. Kuper spent the previous three season (2016-2018) as a Miami Dolphins' offensive assistant.[10]
  • January 31: T. C. McCartney was hired as the quarterbacks coach. McCartney served as an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015, 2017 and 2018--the latter two seasons alongside current offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello.[11] McCartney replaced Klint Kubiak, who accepted the same position with the Minnesota Vikings two weeks earlier.[12]

Front office changes

On January 14, Gary Kubiak, the team's senior personnel advisor during the previous two seasons, departed for an assistant head coach/offensive advisor position with the Minnesota Vikings.[12]

Death of owner Pat Bowlen

On June 13, owner Pat Bowlen died at the age of 75, following a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Bowlen, who had served as the team's majority owner since 1984, relinquished control of the team prior to the 2014 season after privately battling the disease five years prior. This resulted in team president Joe Ellis and executive vice president/general manager John Elway taking control[clarification needed] of the team. Bowlen was the fastest owner to reach 300 wins, and during Bowlen's 35 seasons as majority owner, the team posted the league's second-best winning percentage (354-240-1, .596), behind only the New England Patriots. The team also reached seven Super Bowls, winning three (XXXII, XXXIII and 50) and suffered a league-low seven losing seasons. Bowlen's death occurred two months before he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[13]

Roster changes

Free agents

Unrestricted

Position Player 2019 team Notes
LB Shaquil Barrett Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed with the Buccaneers on March 15[14]
CB Tramaine Brock Arizona Cardinals signed with the Cardinals on April 2[15]
G Max Garcia Arizona Cardinals signed with the Cardinals on March 16[16]
LB Jerrol Garcia-Williams TBD originally an ERFA
C Gino Gradkowski TBD
TE Jeff Heuerman Denver Broncos re-signed March 15[17]
QB Kevin Hogan TBD originally an RFA, re-signed March 21,[18] waived August 31[19]
DE Zach Kerr TBD re-signed March 16,[20] released August 26[21]
TE Matt LaCosse New England Patriots originally an ERFA, signed with the Patriots on March 14[22]
LB Brandon Marshall Oakland Raiders signed with the Raiders on March 28[23]
LB Deiontrez Mount TBD
C Matt Paradis Carolina Panthers signed with the Panthers on March 13[24]
TE Brian Parker TBD originally an ERFA
DT Domata Peko TBD
LB Shane Ray Baltimore Ravens signed with the Ravens on May 17[25]
CB Bradley Roby Houston Texans signed with the Texans on March 13[26]
CB Jamar Taylor Seattle Seahawks signed with the Seahawks on May 9[27]
WR Jordan Taylor Minnesota Vikings originally an RFA, signed with the Vikings on April 13[28]
G Billy Turner Green Bay Packers signed with the Packers on March 14[29]
OT Jared Veldheer None signed with the Patriots on May 13,[30] retired May 21[31]

Restricted and exclusive-rights

Position Player Tag 2019 team Notes
DE Shelby Harris RFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 7,[32] resigned April 2[33]
LB Joseph Jones ERFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 7,[34] resigned April 2[33]
LS Casey Kreiter RFA Denver Broncos re-signed March 7[35]
WR Tim Patrick ERFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 7,[34] resigned April 2[33]
S Dymonte Thomas ERFA TBD assigned tender on March 7,[34] re-signed April 2,[33] waived August 31[19]
OT Elijah Wilkinson ERFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 7,[34] resigned April 2[33]
Restricted Free Agent (RFA): Players with three accrued seasons whose contracts expired at the end of the previous season
Exclusive-Rights Free Agent (ERFA): Players with two or fewer accrued seasons whose contracts expired at the end of the previous season

Signings

Position Player 2018 team(s) Notes
QB Brandon Allen None signed September 1[36]
LB Jeremiah Attaochu New York Jets signed October 1[37]
CB De'Vante Bausby Philadelphia Eagles signed April 4,[38] placed on injured reserve October 8[39]
FB/TE Andrew Beck None signed September 1[36]
PK Taylor Bertolet None signed April 29,[40] waived July 23[41]
OT Adam Bisnowaty None signed August 9,[42] waived August 31[19]
WR Fred Brown Practice squad promoted from the practice squad on September 24,[43]
CB Bryce Callahan Chicago Bears signed March 15[44]
CB Rashard Causey None signed August 11,[45] waived August 31[19]
FB Orson Charles Cleveland Browns signed August 21,[46] released August 31[19]
WR River Cracraft Denver Broncos initially waived September 1,[36] re-signed September 11,[47]
waived September 24[43]
WR Steven Dunbar Jr. San Francisco 49ers signed July 18,[48] waived August 31[19]
OT Chaz Green New Orleans Saints
Oakland Raiders
signed June 3,[49] released August 31[19]
CB Devontae Harris Cincinnati Bengals signed September 2[50]
DE Jonathan Harris None originally undrafted, signed by the Chicago Bears after the draft,
claimed off waivers on October 23[51]
TE Bug Howard None signed May 13,[52] placed on injured reserve August 21[46]
CB Kareem Jackson Houston Texans signed March 13[53]
OT Ja'Wuan James Miami Dolphins signed March 13[53]
G Tyler Jones None signed August 21,[46] waived August 31,[19]
assigned to the practice squad on September 1[36]
C/G Corey Levin None signed September 1,[36] waived September 14[54]
LB Corey Nelson Atlanta Falcons signed September 2,[50] placed on injured reserve November 1[55]
LB Dadi Nicolas None claimed off waivers on August 21,[52]
designated as waived/injured on August 31[19]
NT Mike Purcell None signed April 22[56]
RB Theo Riddick Detroit Lions signed August 4,[57] placed on injured reserve September 2[50]
OT Jake Rodgers None signed April 22,[56] waived September 1[36],
assigned to the practice squad on September 3,[58]
promoted to the active roster on September 14[54]
CB Coty Sensabaugh Pittsburgh Steelers signed October 8[39]
WR Diontae Spencer None signed September 1[36]
P Justin Vogel None signed July 23,[41] waived July 27[59]
RB David Williams Jacksonville Jaguars signed July 19,[60] waived August 31[19]
DE DeShawn Williams None signed May 13,[52] waived August 31[19]
WR Nick Williams Los Angeles Rams
Tennessee Titans
signed July 26,[61] released August 26[21]
DE Billy Winn None signed April 22,[56] placed on injured reserve August 4[57]

Trades

  • March 7: The Broncos traded quarterback Case Keenum and a 2020 seventh-round selection to the Washington Redskins in exchange for the Redskins' 2020 sixth-round selection.[63] This trade, along with the aforementioned trade for Joe Flacco, became official on March 13--the first day of the 2019 league year.[53]
  • April 27: The Broncos acquired linebacker Dekoda Watson as part of a trade that sent their fifth-round selection to the San Francisco 49ers--see draft trades below. This would have been Watson's second stint with the Broncos--he previously played one season with the Broncos in 2016 before signing with the 49ers in 2017;[64] however, he was later released on August 26.[21]

Departures

Position Player Notes
S Su'a Cravens waived August 31[36]
QB Garrett Grayson waived May 2[67]
WR Chad Hansen waived May 2[68]
LB Jeff Holland waived August 11[45]
WR Andre Holmes designated as waived/injured on January 24[69]
OT Andreas Knappe waived April 15[70]
CB Craig Mager waived April 18[71]
S Darian Stewart released on March 7[72]

Draft

The Broncos did not have selections in the fourth or seventh rounds--see draft trades below.

2019 Denver Broncos Draft
Round Selection Player Position College Notes
1 20 Noah Fant TE Iowa signed May 23[73]
2 41 Dalton Risner OT Kansas State signed July 16[74]
42 Drew Lock QB Missouri signed July 18,[75] placed on injured reserve September 2[50]
3 71 Dre'mont Jones DT Ohio State signed June 11[76]
5 156 Justin Hollins LB Oregon signed May 14[77]
6 187 Juwann Winfree WR Colorado signed May 13[78]

Draft trades

Trade partner Broncos give Broncos receive Source
Baltimore Ravens Original 2019 fourth-round selection--No. 113 Quarterback Joe Flacco [62]
Cincinnati Bengals 2019 second-round selection (No. 52--from PIT)
2019 fourth-round selection (No. 125--from HOU)
Original 2019 sixth-round selection--No. 182
2019 second-round selection--No. 42 [79]
Carolina Panthers 2019 sixth-round selection (No. 212--from SF)
2019 seventh-round selection (No. 237--from HOU)
2019 sixth-round selection--No. 187 [80]
Houston Texans Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas
2019 seventh-round selection (No. 220--from NYG)
2019 fourth-round selection (No. 125--later traded to CIN)
2019 seventh-round selection (No. 237--later traded to CAR)
[81]
Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Trevor Siemian
2018 seventh-round selection
2019 fifth-round selection--No. 156 [82]
New York Giants Punter Riley Dixon 2019 seventh-round selection (No. 220--later traded to HOU) [83]
Philadelphia Eagles Original 2019 seventh-round selection--No. 222 Guard Allen Barbre [84]
Pittsburgh Steelers Original 2019 first-round selection--No. 10 2019 first-round selection--No. 20
2019 second-round selection (No. 52--later traded to CIN)
2020 third-round selection
[85]
San Francisco 49ers Original 2019 fifth-round selection--No. 148 Linebacker Dekoda Watson
2019 sixth-round selection (No. 212--later traded to CAR)
[64]

Undrafted free agents

All undrafted free agents were signed after the 2019 NFL Draft concluded on April 27,[86] unless noted otherwise.

2019 Denver Broncos Undrafted Free Agents
Player Position College Notes
Calvin Anderson OT Texas originally signed and waived by the New England Patriots,
then signed and waived by the New York Jets,
signed October 1[37]
George Aston FB Pittsburgh waived August 31[19]
Quinn Bailey OT Arizona State waived August 31,[19] assigned to the practice squad on September 1[36]
Trinity Benson WR East Central waived August 31[19]
Ryan Crozier C UConn designated as waived/injured on August 31[19]
Joe Dineen LB Kansas designated as waived/injured on August 31[19]
Austin Fort TE Wyoming placed on injured reserve August 9[42]
Ahmad Gooden LB Samford waived August 31,[19] assigned to the practice squad on September 1[36]
Romell Guerrier WR Florida Tech designated as reserve/retired on July 20[87]
Alijah Holder CB Stanford waived August 31,[19] assigned to the practice squad on September 1[36]
Devontae Jackson RB West Georgia waived August 31[19]
Nathan Jacobson OT UNLV signed May 13,[52] waived July 19[60]
Jaylen Johnson DT Washington waived May 13[52]
John Leglue OT Tulane waived August 31[19]
Kelvin McKnight WR Samford waived August 31[19]
Malik Reed LB Nevada made the Week 1 roster[19]
Brett Rypien QB Boise State waived August 31,[19] assigned to the practice squad on September 1,[36]
promoted to the active roster on November 1[55]
Deyon Sizer DE Colorado State - Pueblo signed May 13,[52] waived July 26,[61]
re-signed August 4,[88] waived August 31[19]
Moral Stephens TE Florida signed July 27,[59] waived August 31[19]
Brian Wallace OT Arkansas waived May 13[52]
Josh Watson LB Colorado State waived September 1,[36] assigned to the practice squad on September 3,[58]
promoted to the active roster on November 1[55]
Jamarius Way WR South Alabama signed July 20,[87] waived August 4[88]

Injuries

  • September 2: Two days after trimming their roster to a league-mandated 53 players, the Broncos placed three players on injured reserve: quarterback Drew Lock, running back Theo Riddick and tight end Jake Butt.[50] Lock, the team's second-round draft selection, sprained the thumb on his throwing hand during the team's fourth preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.[90] Riddick injured his shoulder during the team's second preseason game at the Seattle Seahawks.[91] Butt underwent a follow-up surgery following a setback in the recovery from an ACL tear in his knee that he suffered during the 2018 season.[92]
  • September 11: Wide receiver Tim Patrick was placed on injured reserve due to a fractured hand that he suffered during the team's Week 1 loss to the Oakland Raiders.[47] He was later given a designation for return (DFR) on October 30, and began practicing that same day. The Broncos will have a 21-day window to activate Patrick to the active roster, and as a result, will only be allowed to reinstate one player from injured reserve to the active roster for the remainder of the season.[93]
  • September 25: The Broncos announced that cornerback Bryce Callahan will miss at least four weeks due to a procedure on his injured foot. Callahan initially suffered the injury as a member of the Chicago Bears during Week 14 of the 2018 season, and experienced complications from the surgery that he underwent and missed the entire preseason.[94]
  • November 1: Quarterback Joe Flacco and linebacker Corey Nelson were each placed on injured reserve. Four days earlier (October 28), the team announced that Flacco sustained a herniated disc in his neck, one day after the team's Week 8 loss to the Indianapolis Colts (October 27), and was subsequently ruled out for the Broncos' Week 9 game vs. the Cleveland Browns. Nelson suffered torn biceps during the loss to the Colts.[55]

Staff

Current roster

Preseason

The Broncos played the Atlanta Falcons in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, August 1, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The Broncos were represented by late owner Pat Bowlen, who died on June 13, as well as cornerback Champ Bailey. It marked the Broncos' fourth appearance in the game and the first since 2004, when John Elway was inducted into the Hall of Fame.[95]

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue NFL.com
recap
HOF August 1 vs. Atlanta Falcons W 14-10 1-0 Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium Recap
1 August 8 at Seattle Seahawks L 14-22 1-1 CenturyLink Field Recap
2 August 19 San Francisco 49ers L 15-24 1-2 Broncos Stadium at Mile High Recap
3 August 24 at Los Angeles Rams L 6-10 1-3 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Recap
4 August 29 Arizona Cardinals W 20-7 2-3 Broncos Stadium at Mile High Recap

Regular season

Schedule

The Broncos' schedule was announced on April 17. This marked the first time since 2010 in which the Broncos opened the season on the road.[96]

Week Date Kickoff (MT) Opponent Result Record Venue TV NFL.com
recap
1 September 9 8:20 p.m. at Oakland Raiders L 16-24 0-1 RingCentral Coliseum ESPN Recap
2 September 15 2:25 p.m. Chicago Bears L 14-16 0-2 Empower Field at Mile High Fox Recap
3 September 22 11:00 a.m. at Green Bay Packers L 16-27 0-3 Lambeau Field Fox Recap
4 September 29 2:25 p.m. Jacksonville Jaguars L 24-26 0-4 Empower Field at Mile High CBS Recap
5 October 6 2:05 p.m. at Los Angeles Chargers W 20-13 1-4 Dignity Health Sports Park CBS Recap
6 October 13 2:25 p.m. Tennessee Titans W 16-0 2-4 Empower Field at Mile High CBS Recap
7 October 17 6:20 p.m. Kansas City Chiefs L 6-30 2-5 Empower Field at Mile High Fox/NFLN/
Amazon Prime
Recap
8 October 27 11:00 a.m. at Indianapolis Colts L 13-15 2-6 Lucas Oil Stadium CBS Recap
9 November 3 2:25 p.m. Cleveland Browns W 24-19 3-6 Empower Field at Mile High CBS Recap
10 Bye
11 November 17 11:00 a.m. at Minnesota Vikings U.S. Bank Stadium CBS
12 November 24 11:00 a.m. at Buffalo Bills New Era Field CBS
13 December 1 2:25 p.m. Los Angeles Chargers Empower Field at Mile High CBS
14 December 8 11:00 a.m. at Houston Texans NRG Stadium CBS
15 December 15 11:00 a.m. at Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead Stadium CBS
16 December 22 2:05 p.m. Detroit Lions Empower Field at Mile High CBS
17 December 29 2:25 p.m. Oakland Raiders Empower Field at Mile High CBS

Notes

  • Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
  • Networks and times from Weeks 13-17 are subject to change as a result of flexible scheduling.

Game summaries

Week 1: at Oakland Raiders

In the season opener, the Broncos made their final visit to Oakland, prior to the Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas for 2020. The Broncos fell behind 14-0 in the first half against the Raiders on Monday Night Football. On the game's opening drive, Raiders' quarterback Derek Carr threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyrell Williams, and running back Josh Jacobs added a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Broncos placekicker Brandon McManus missed short on a 63-yard field goal attempt just before halftime. The Broncos reached the red zone on their first three possessions of the second half, but were forced to settle for field goals by McManus on each drive--two 26-yarders in the third quarter and a 39-yarder midway through the fourth quarter. Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton dropped a potential touchdown pass on the second drive. Following the second field goal, the Raiders increased their lead to 21-6, with Jacobs' second touchdown run of the game (a 4-yarder), and then to 24-9, with a 29-yard field goal by placekicker Daniel Carlson at the 4:41 mark of the third quarter. After three red zone attempts that all resulted in short field goals, the Broncos finally reached the end zone with 2:18 remaining in the fourth quarter. Joe Flacco, in his debut as the Broncos' starting quarterback, connected on a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to narrow the Raiders' lead to 24-16. However, the Broncos were unable to prevent the Raiders from running out the clock.[97] With the loss, the Broncos opened the season at 0-1 for the first time since 2011, which was also a loss to the Raiders on Monday Night Football.[98]

Week 2: vs. Chicago Bears

In the Broncos' home opener, the only points of the first half came by way of field goals--a 43-yarder by Broncos' placekicker Brandon McManus on the game's opening drive, and 43- and 52-yarders by Bears' placekicker Eddy Piñeiro in the second quarter. The Bears increased their lead to 13-3 late in the third quarter, with running back David Montgomery diving for a 1-yard touchdown. For a second consecutive week, the Broncos were held without a touchdown for the first three quarters, and were once again plagued by red-zone woes. The Broncos reached the red zone early in the fourth quarter, but were forced to settle on a 32-yard field goal by McManus to pull to within a 13-6 deficit. After forcing a Bears' punt, the Broncos were attempting to tie the game and reached the Bears' 2-yard line with 4:51 remaining; however, quarterback Joe Flacco was intercepted by Bears' cornerback Kyle Fuller. The Broncos forced another Bears' punt, and got the football back at their own 38-yard line with 2:48 remaining in the game. After burning all of their timeouts, the Broncos finally reached the end zone with 37 seconds remaining, with Flacco connecting with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on a 7-yard touchdown pass. The Broncos were initially planning to go for the two-point conversion, but a delay-of-game penalty pushed them back five yards. The Broncos then attempted the game-tying extra point, which McManus missed wide right; however, Bears' cornerback Buster Skrine was whistled for an offsides penalty. The Broncos attempted another two-point conversion, which was successful, with a Flacco completion to Sanders. The Bears had one final drive, which began at their own 25-yard line with 31 seconds remaining. On the first play, Broncos' linebacker Bradley Chubb was whistled for a questionable roughing the passer penalty on Bears' quarter Mitchell Trubisky, which added 15 yards to a 5-yard completion to tight end Trey Burton. After three consecutive incomplete passes and a 5-yard penalty for having too many men on the field, the Bears faced a 4th-and-15 from their own 40-yard line. Trubisky completed a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Allen Robinson in the middle of the field to the Broncos' 35-yard line, and the Bears' final timeout was called with one second remaining. This set up the game-winning 53-yard field goal by Piñeiro as time expired.[99]

Week 3: at Green Bay Packers

On the game's opening drive, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers launched a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Broncos return specialist Diontae Spencer returned the ensuing kickoff to the Packers' 43-yard line, but the Broncos' offense went three-and-out on their initial possession. After forcing a Green Bay punt, the Broncos pulled even early in the second quarter, with running back Phillip Lindsay rushing for a 1-yard touchdown. The next two scoring plays came from each placekicker--a 42-yard field goal by the Packers' Mason Crosby, followed by one from 30 yards by the Broncos' Brandon McManus. The Broncos suffered turnovers on two of their next three possessions, and the Packers capitalized as a result. First, Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco was strip-sacked by Packers linebacker Preston Smith at the Denver 5-yard line. The Packers reclaimed the lead just before halftime, with a 7-yard touchdown run by running back Aaron Jones. Then early in the third quarter, linebacker Jaire Alexander forced a fumble off Broncos tight end Noah Fant at the Denver 37-yard line, and Jones' second rushing touchdown--from 1 yard out--increased the Packers' lead to 24-10. The Broncos responded with a 12-play, 75-yard drive, with Lindsay's second 1-yard touchdown run--this one on a 4th-and-goal. However, McManus hit the left upright on his extra point attempt, leaving the score at 24-16. After forcing the Packers to punt, the Broncos advanced to the Green Bay 38-yard line late in the third quarter; however, Flacco was intercepted by safety Darnell Savage Jr. The Packers increased their lead to 27-16 with less than 6 minutes to play, thanks to a 41-yard field goal by Crosby. The Broncos had two more possessions, but could not reach midfield on either drive--both ending with Flacco getting sacked and turning over the football on downs. Flacco was sacked six times, and for a third consecutive game, the Broncos' defense failed to record a sack or force a turnover. The Broncos suffered their first 0-3 start since 1999.[100] With the loss, the Broncos dropped to 0-6-1 in road games against the Packers, going 0-5 at Lambeau Field and 0-1-1 in two meetings in Milwaukee. To date, the Packers remain as the only team that the Broncos have never defeated on the road in their franchise history.[101]

Week 4: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Broncos grabbed a 17-3 lead over the Jaguars by the second quarter, with quarterback Joe Flacco throwing a pair of touchdown passes--a 25-yarder to tight end Noah Fant in the first quarter followed by a 7-yarder to wide receiver Courtland Sutton in the second quarter, and placekicker Brandon McManus adding a 33-yard field goal. The Broncos reached the Jaguars' 33-yard line 1:05 remaining until halftime, and were attempting to add to their lead; however, Flacco was intercepted by Jaguars' safety Ronnie Harrison, who advance the football to the Broncos' 43-yard line. This set up a 40-yard field goal by placekicker Josh Lambo just before halftime. On the opening possession of the second half, the Jaguars pulled to within a 17-13 deficit, with a 16-play, 75-yard drive, culminating in a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew II to running back Ryquell Armstead. After the Broncos went three-and-out on their first possession of the second half, the Jaguars took a 20-17 lead, with Minshew, starting in place of the injured Nick Foles, connecting on an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end James O'Shaughnessy. The key play of the drive was an 81-yard run by running back Leonard Fournette. With 9:54 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars assembled a 13-play, 78-yard drive, with a 34-yard field goal by Lambo to increase the Jaguars lead to 23-17 with three minutes remaining. Six plays later, and with only one timeout remaining, the Broncos took a 24-23 lead, with Flacco throwing his third touchdown pass of the game--an 8-yarder to Sutton with 1:38 remaining. However, for the second time in three weeks, the Broncos were unable to prevent a game-winning drive by their opponent. On the second play of the Jaguars' game-winning drive, linebacker Von Miller was whistled for a roughing the passer penalty after the Broncos forced their first fumble of the season. Lambo kicked the game-winning 32-yard field goal as time expired. After failing to record a sack in their first three games, the Broncos sacked Minshew five times, including two by Von Miller, who reached 100 career sacks in his 124th game, the fourth-fastest player to reach that landmark.[102] With the loss, the Broncos suffered their first 0-4 start since 1999.[103]

Week 5: at Los Angeles Chargers

The Broncos jumped out to a 14-0 lead over the Chargers on their first two offensive possessions, courtesy of a 4-yard touchdown run by running back Phillip Lindsay, followed by a 70-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to wide receiver Courtland Sutton. The Broncos reached the Chargers' 29-yard line on their third possession, but Flacco was strip-sacked by linebacker Uchenna Nwosu on the first play of the second quarter, with linebacker Jatavis Brown recovering the fumble. The Chargers managed to get to the Denver 16-yard line on their ensuing possession, but quarterback Philip Rivers was flagged for intentional grounding on a 3rd-and-5, with the penalty pushing them back to the 30-yard line. The ensuing 48-yard field goal attempt from Chase McLaughlin was blocked by Broncos' defensive end Dre'Mont Jones. The Broncos increased their lead to 17-0 on their next possession, with a 40-yard field goal by Brandon McManus. The Chargers reached the Broncos' 1-yard line with seven seconds remaining before halftime, with Rivers completing a short pass to running back Austin Ekeler near the left sideline. However, Broncos' safety Kareem Jackson forced a fumble before Ekeler could break the plane of the goal line near the pylon, and the football went out of the corner of the end zone for a touchback, keeping the Chargers scoreless.[104]

After a series of punts to start the second half, the two teams exchanged turnovers. First, with the Broncos backed up near their own goal line, Flacco was intercepted on a deflected pass by linebacker Kyzir White, giving the Chargers a very short field at the 7-yard line. Three plays later, the Broncos returned the favor, with linebacker A. J. Johnson intercepting Rivers in the end zone for a touchback. After the Broncos went three-and-out, the Chargers finally got on the scoreboard with 49 seconds remaining in the third quarter, with Desmond King returning a punt 51 yards for a touchdown--the Chargers' only touchdown of the game. After McManus missed wide left on a 54-yard field goal attempt, the Chargers narrowed the Broncos' lead to 17-10, with a 45-yard field goal by McLaughlin. Following an exchange of punts, a 46-yard field goal by McManus increased the Broncos' lead to 20-10 at the two-minute warning. The Chargers attempted a rally, with a 32-yard field goal by McLaughlin with only 15 seconds remaining. However, the onside kick attempt was unsuccessful, giving the Broncos their first win of the season and snapping an eight-game losing streak dating back to last season. In addition, the Broncos earned their 500th win in franchise history and avoided their first ever 0-5 start. This was also the third and final meeting between the two teams at Dignity Health Sports Park--the Chargers' temporary home field, prior to the Chargers' move to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood for the 2020 season.[104]

Week 6: vs. Tennessee Titans

The Broncos' defense recorded seven sacks, three interceptions, and for the second consecutive week, did not allow an offensive touchdown, in a 16-0 shutout win over the Titans. The only points of the first half came courtesy of two field goals by placekicker Brandon McManus--a 31-yarder in the first quarter and a 53-yarder in the second. A 2-yard touchdown run by running back Phillip Lindsay increased the Broncos' lead to 13-0 late in the third quarter. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was benched midway through the third quarter following a poor performance that included two interceptions, and was replaced by backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Titans' offense did not advance past midfield until the fourth quarter, and reached the Broncos' 13-yard line with 9:22 remaining; however, Tannehill was sacked by defensive end DeMarcus Walker on a 4th-and-4. A 48-yard field goal by McManus increased the Broncos' lead to 16-0 with 4:57 remaining in the game. The Titans had one last offensive possession, and reached the Broncos' 5-yard line at the two-minute warning. Following an offensive holding penalty, a 10-yard sack of Tannehill by defensive tackle Derek Wolfe and an 18-yard pass completion from Tannehill to tight end Delanie Walker to the 12-yard line, Tannehill was intercepted by cornerback Kareem Jackson near the goal line, ending the Titans' rally attempt and preserving the shutout. Both team's offenses went a combined 4-for-28 (.143) on third down--2-for-14 by each team.[105]

Week 7: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The Broncos assembled a 10-play, 75-yard drive on the game's opening possession, which culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Royce Freeman. The drive was aided by a pair of penalties against the Chiefs' defense on two third-down plays. The Broncos elected for a two-point conversion attempt at the 1-yard line following an offside penalty against the Chiefs on the extra-point attempt. However, running back Phillip Lindsay was denied by the Chiefs' defense, and it was all downhill for the Broncos after that, as the Chiefs scored the final 30 points of the game. First, quarterback Patrick Mahomes connected on a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mecole Hardman, which was followed by a pair of field goals by placekicker Harrison Butker--a 33-yarder near the end of the first quarter and a 20-yarder midway through the second. Between the two field goals, Mahomes left the game with a dislocated patella and Broncos' punter Colby Wadman was sacked on a fake punt attempt. The Chiefs' defense then strip-sacked Broncos' quarterback Joe Flacco, with linebacker Reggie Ragland returning it 5 yards for a touchdown and a 20-6 halftime lead. Mahomes was replaced by backup quarterback Matt Moore, who launched a 57-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill in the third quarter, and Butker later added a 39-yard field goal in the fourth. After Broncos' placekicker Brandon McManus missed wide right on a 45-yard field goal attempt late in the second quarter, the Broncos' offense did not advance past the midfield line for the remainder of the game. In addition, Flacco was sacked eight times by the Chiefs' defense, and for a second consecutive week, the Broncos' offense performed poorly on third down, going 1-for-13 (.077).[106]

Week 8: at Indianapolis Colts

After a scoreless first quarter, the Broncos failed to capitalize on two red zone opportunities, settling for a pair of short field goals by placekicker Brandon McManus in the second quarter--from 21 and 29 yards out. Colts' placekicker Adam Vinatieri, who missed wide-right on a 45-yard field goal attempt on the game's opening drive, kicked a 55-yard field goal at the end of the first half. The Broncos took the opening possession of the second half, and increased their lead to 13-3, with running back Royce Freeman rushing for a 4-yard touchdown. However, the Broncos were held scoreless for the remainder of the game. After a 45-yard field goal by Vinatieri, Colts' running back Marlon Mack rushed for a 10-yard touchdown. However, Vinatieri missed wide-left on the extra-point attempt, keeping the score at 13-12. After an exchange of punts, which included the Broncos nearly blocking a punt in the Colts' end zone, Broncos' defensive end Derek Wolfe forced a fumble off Colts' quarterback Jacoby Brissett near midfield and midway through the fourth quarter; however, the Broncos were unable to capitalize, going three-and-out. The Broncos failed to convert a 3rd-and-5 at the Colts' 43-yard line at the two-minute warning, giving the Colts the football on their own 11-yard line. On the first play, Brissett evaded a sack by linebacker Von Miller, and completed a 35-yard pass to wide receiver T. Y. Hilton on the right sideline that was reviewed, but upheld by instant replay. A personal foul horse-collar tackle penalty on linebacker A. J. Johnson added 15-yards to a 5-yard pass completion from Brissett to running back Nyheim Hines. Four plays later, Vinatieri atoned for the aforementioned missed field goal and extra-point attempts by kicking the go-ahead 51-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining. Without any timeouts, the Broncos had two offensive plays at their own 24-yard line, but failed to gain any yardage on either play. With the loss, the Broncos started with a 2-6 record for only the third time in franchise history--1983 and 2010 are the other two seasons.[107]

Week 9: vs. Cleveland Browns

Two days after quarterback Joe Flacco was placed on injured reserve, backup quarterback Brandon Allen got the start for the Broncos. He threw two touchdown passes--the first one to wide receiver Courtland Sutton for 21 yards in the first quarter, and the second one a 75-yarder to tight end Noah Fant early in the second quarter. The Broncos' defense yielded four red zone opportunities by the Browns' offense in the second quarter, but forced the Browns to settle for four field goals by placekicker Austin Seibert in the second quarter--the third one occurred after the Browns' defense forced a fumble deep in Broncos' territory. Broncos' placekicker Brandon McManus added a 43-yard field goal just after the two-minute warning for a 17-12 halftime lead. The Broncos' defense subdued the Browns on another red zone opportunity at the 5:23 mark of the third quarter, with linebackers Todd Davis and Von Miller denying Browns' quarterback Baker Mayfield on a 4th-and-1 at the 5-yard line. The Browns unsuccessfully challenged the ruling on the field, and seven plays later, the Broncos increased their lead to 24-12, with a 30-yard run by running back Phillip Lindsay late in the third quarter. The Browns responded on their next drive, and with 10:53 remaining in the fourth quarter, Mayfield connected with wide receiver Jarvis Landry on a 9-yard touchdown to narrow the Broncos' lead to 24-19. The drive was aided by a defensive pass interference penalty on cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. on a 3rd-and-7 at the Broncos' 19-yard line. After forcing a Broncos' punt, the Browns reached the Broncos' 28-yard line with 3:23 remaining in the game and no timeouts, facing a 4th-and-4. However, Mayfield's pass intended for Landry was incomplete, and the Broncos' ran out the clock, thanks to a critical third-down conversion by Lindsay on a wildcat formation. With the win, the Broncos entered their bye week with a 3-6 record, and improved to a 24-6 all-time record vs. the Browns (including the playoffs).[108][109]

Week 11: at Minnesota Vikings

Standings

Division

AFC West
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Kansas City Chiefs 6 4 0 .667 2-0 4-3 284 239 L1
Oakland Raiders 5 4 0 .556 2-1 3-2 208 240 W2
Los Angeles Chargers 4 6 0 .400 0-2 2-5 207 194 L1
Denver Broncos 3 6 0 .333 1-2 3-4 149 170 W1

Conference

# Team Division W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV STK
Division leaders
1 New England Patriots East 8 1 0 .889 4-0 6-1 .366 .315 L1
2 Baltimore Ravens North 7 2 0 .778 3-1 5-2 .423 .408 W5
3 Houston Texans South 6 3 0 .667 2-1 5-1 .506 .446 W2
4 Kansas City Chiefs West 6 4 0 .600 2-0 4-3 .575 .536 L1
Wild Cards
5 Buffalo Bills East 6 3 0 .667 2-1 4-2 .337 .214 L1
6[a][b] Pittsburgh Steelers North 5 4 0 .556 1-1 4-2 .566 .348 W4
In the hunt
7[a][c] Oakland Raiders West 5 4 0 .556 2-1 3-2 .547 .424 W2
8[b][c] Indianapolis Colts South 5 4 0 .556 2-0 4-4 .452 .468 L2
9 Tennessee Titans South 5 5 0 .500 0-2 3-4 .446 .383 W1
10 Jacksonville Jaguars South 4 5 0 .444 1-2 4-3 .482 .270 L1
11 Los Angeles Chargers West 4 6 0 .400 0-2 2-5 .505 .514 L1
12[d] Denver Broncos West 3 6 0 .333 1-2 3-4 .518 .414 W1
13[d] Cleveland Browns North 3 6 0 .333 1-0 3-3 .627 .556 W1
14[e] Miami Dolphins East 2 7 0 .222 1-2 2-5 .524 .389 W2
15[e] New York Jets East 2 7 0 .222 0-4 0-6 .524 .368 W1
16 Cincinnati Bengals North 0 9 0 .000 0-3 0-5 .645 .000 L9
Tiebreakers[f]
  1. ^ a b Pittsburgh wins tie break over Oakland based on best win percentage in conference games.
  2. ^ a b Pittsburgh wins tie break over Indianapolis based on head-to-head victory.
  3. ^ a b Oakland wins tie break over Indianapolis based on head-to-head victory.
  4. ^ a b Denver wins tie break over Cleveland based on head-to-head victory.
  5. ^ a b Miami wins tie break over NY Jets based on head-to-head victory.
  6. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest ranked remaining team from each division.

Statistics

Team leaders

Category Player(s) Value
Passing yards Joe Flacco 1,822
Passing touchdowns Joe Flacco 6
Rushing yards Phillip Lindsay 584
Rushing touchdowns Phillip Lindsay 5
Receptions Courtland Sutton 44
Receiving yards Courtland Sutton 692
Receiving touchdowns Courtland Sutton 4
Points Brandon McManus 57
Kickoff return yards Diontae Spencer 116
Punt return yards Diontae Spencer 172
Tackles Todd Davis
Justin Simmons
53
Sacks Derek Wolfe 5
Forced fumbles five players tied 1
Interceptions Justin Simmons 2

Team statistics updated through Week 9.
Source for this section: Denver Broncos' official website.[110]

League rankings

Offense
Category Value NFL rank
(out of 32)
Total yards 311.4 YPG 27th
Yards per play 5.2 24th
Rushing yards 111.9 YPG 16th
Yards per rush 4.3 14th
Passing yards 199.6 YPG 28th
Yards per pass 7.1 21st
Total touchdowns 15 T-28th
Rushing touchdowns 7 T-18th
Receiving touchdowns 8 31st
Scoring 16.6 PPG 28th
Pass completions 183/282 (.649) 14th
Third downs 32/112 (.286) 30th
First downs per game 17.7 27th
Possession average 28:47 24th
Fewest sacks allowed 30 25th
Turnover differential -3 T-23rd
Fewest penalties 65 T-10th
Least penalty yardage 549 16th
Defense
Category Value NFL rank
(out of 32)
Total yards 309.7 YPG 4th
Yards per play 5 7th
Rushing yards 107.6 YPG 17th
Yards per rush 4 9th
Passing yards 202.1 YPG 4th
Yards per pass 6.5 4th
Total touchdowns 15 3rd
Rushing touchdowns 6 T-7th
Receiving touchdowns 7 T-2nd
Scoring 18.9 PPG T-6th
Pass completions 188/294 (.639) 16th
Third downs 40/117 (.342) 7th
First downs per game 18.1 T-4th
Sacks 19 T-26th
Forced fumbles 5 T-26th
Fumble recoveries 1 T-31st
Interceptions 5 T-23rd
Fewest penalties 66 14th
Least penalty yardage 556 14th
Special teams
Category Value NFL rank
(out of 32)
Kickoff returns 27.1 YPR 4th
Punt returns 7.8 YPR 11th
Gross punting 44.2 YPP 26th
Net punting 38.5 YPP 29th
Kickoff coverage 31.5 YPR 32nd
Punt coverage 11.7 YPR 31st

League statistics updated through Week 10.
Source for this section: NFL.com.[111]

Awards and honors

Recipient Award(s)
A. J. Johnson October: Pro Football Focus' AFC Defensive Player of the Month[112]

Other news and notes

  • On August 28, the Broncos announced that the team will wear their orange color rush jerseys against the Detroit Lions in Week 16 (December 21 or 22), and will wear the alternate navy blue jerseys for two games--Week 6 (October 13) against the Tennessee Titans and Week 13 (December 1) against the Los Angeles Chargers.[113]
  • On September 4, Broncos Stadium at Mile High was rebranded as Empower Field at Mile High. The Broncos had been seeking a long-term naming rights partner for their home field since sporting goods retailer Sports Authority went bankrupt in 2016. Empower Retirement, a retirement plan provider that is based in Denver, had served as a team sponsor since 2015, with the Broncos agreeing to terms on a 21-year deal that will run through 2039, though financial terms were undisclosed. This marks the third naming rights change for the Broncos' home field, following "Invesco Field at Mile High" (2001-2010), "Sports Authority Field at Mile High" (2011-2017) and "Broncos Stadium at Mile High"--the latter of which was used on a temporary basis for the 2018 season.[114]
  • As the result of the negative differential of free agent signings and departures that the Broncos experienced during the first wave of the 2019 free agency period, the team is projected to receive up to three compensatory selections for the 2020 NFL Draft.[115] Free agent transactions that occur after May 7 will not factor into the team's formula for determining compensatory selections.[116]

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External links


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