On Friday, we published ten great Broncos video moments against the Chiefs in part because we feared there might not be any on Sunday -- but we needn't have worried. The Broncos' 49-29 stomping of the K.C. crew featured more highlights than the rest of the season combined (see a new clip below). Why such an improvement? As Kris Kristofferson wrote, freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose.
Simply put, all of the Broncos, from the biggest names to the lowest special-teams grunts, played with desperation fueled by the certitude that losing a fifth straight game would unleash an unprecedented barrage of abuse from fans, not to mention the derision and contempt of their peers. And Coach Josh McDaniels gave them the tools to excel. Instead of allowing the offense to fall into cautious predictability, he opened the playbook wider than Jenna Jameson's knees, and quarterback Kyle Orton and company responded -- oh man, did they.
Suddenly, Knowshon Moreno was getting to the second level with ease, Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd were breaking free deep and making big grabs with aplomb, and Tim Tebow was even allowed to throw a pass -- for a touchdown, of course. Maybe it wasn't the most beautiful toss ever, but Tebow's play-to-touchdown ratio is so off-the-charts at this point that it absolutely didn't matter.
Meanwhile, defenders who seemed incapable of coming into contact with an opposing quarterback even if they went out on a date together were suddenly making Chiefs signal-caller Matt Cassel's life a continual misery. And even on those rare occasions when Cassel completed a pass, the receivers were met with hits more thunderous than any we've seen from this squad in quite some time. True, the likes of linebacker Joe Mays seemed borderline out-of-control on occasion -- but better to play with too much aggressiveness than not enough.
Throughout the game, tempo was key. With KO and squad maintaining a brisk pace, the overconfident Chiefs looked positively shell-shocked from the get-go, and they didn't recover until it was far too late. The game wasn't nearly as close as the final score implied -- and the tally suggested that K.C. had been barbecued.
The challenge now will be for the Broncos to keep up this level of balls-to-the-wall intensity the rest of the way, starting next Monday night against the Chargers. If they can give that dick Philip Rivers the same treatment they dished out to the Chiefs, some of us doubters may be willing to entertain the possibility of McDaniels sticking around for another season. If not -- if Sunday proves to be an anomaly rather than a turnaround -- the calls for Coach McD's head will continue, and intensify.
But today, let's not think about that. Better to glory in plays like these:
More from our Denver Blogs archive: "Tim Tebow, Brady Quinn have a long way to go to catch Kyle Orton, says Josh McDaniels."