It's hard to believe that just 24 hours ago, a significant percentage of Denver Broncos fans were optimistic that the squad could still make the playoffs even after a horrific 0-4 start. Beat the wounded, faltering Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, they said, and suddenly the team would be a single W off the division lead, riding a three-game winning streak and trending in the right direction.
Oh, what a difference a day makes. After being eviscerated 30-6 before a national television audience last night, October 17, the Broncos are as irrelevant as they were in the 1960s — and the current situation is actually worse than during that nascent period. After all, there were no expectations back then, when Denver regularly racked up five victories or fewer per annum. Today, by contrast, we're just a little over three years removed from a downtown parade celebrating the Super Bowl 50 championship.
The franchise's subsequent fall explains the social-media reaction to yesterday's meet-and-greet with rock bottom (we hope). So. Much. Anger.
Prior to kickoff, upbeat prognosticators saw the Chiefs as ultra-vulnerable for a slew of reasons that made sense to the typical Broncos Kool-Aid drinker. KC had lost two straight because Patrick Mahomes, the most exciting young QB to enter the league in a decade, was struggling with an ankle injury that impeded his pocket-busting play, and the defense seemed incapable of stopping the ground attack, resulting in a time-of-possession disparity that Denver runners Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman appeared fully capable of duplicating.
That's not how it worked out. Lindsay and Freeman registered only 36 and 35 yards, respectively, forcing quarterback Joe Flacco to throw — or at least try to do so. The Chiefs' much-maligned pass rushers made the largely immobile Flacco look like a department-store mannequin amid a tsunami, just waiting for a wave to crash through the glass (i.e., the totally inept offensive line) and wash him away. He was sacked eight times and gave up a fumble for a touchdown that would have been enough to secure a triumph all by itself. The Broncos managed just six points during the first quarter (a quizzical two-point conversion try failed) and none in the three quarters that followed. Even a second-quarter injury to Mahomes didn't make a difference, since backup Matt Moore contributed a touchdown pass of his own to add to the misery.
Given last night's results, even the most passionate Broncos loyalists will be able to recognize that the team is toast. Expect conversations to shift to ancillary questions, such as: Will John Elway start trading everyone to clear salary? Could Von Miller be shipped out? Will rookie quarterback Drew Lock be put into the lineup when he gets off injured reserve? Is he the answer, or another in a long line of Elway-selected busts? Will Big John be fired? Will he quit? Will he spend his nights wandering drunk down the 16th Street Mall, crying into one of his old Super Bowl trophies?
While we wait for answers, here are our picks for the most memorable tweets about the debacle, with blame for what happened placed on everything from the curse of Tim Tebow to the Blue Mustang at Denver International Airport. Warning: Each take includes the word "fucking."
Fully done with this fucking bullshit team, all I want it the sb50 winning team back, yet all the Broncos seem to do is not get a good o line, fuck you guys https://t.co/Ja8YiashAw— Jayden Bligh (@BlighJayden) October 18, 2019
Broncos couldn’t beat a Patrick Mahomeless team At least we’re in the run to get another top 5 pick, which I hope we use on a GOOD and NOT tall asf QB or a fucking lineman who can block cause Garret Bolles SUCKS DICK— Broncos (2-5) (@yslbiggie) October 18, 2019
The Tebow curse. That's what they get for fucking over Tim.— Deuce Train (@DeuceTrain) October 18, 2019
I literally JUST figured out that fucking blue devil horse exists at DIA because Denver has the Broncos. I JUST put two and two together.— Witchi Nine-Oh-Nine (@mitchi909) October 18, 2019
The Broncos aren't an all-volunteer football team are they? I mean they do get paid, right? Cuz it almost looks like they don't care if they win. I don't know what they're being paid, but it's way too fucking much!— SheaD.Slim (@SheadSlim) October 18, 2019
Let me just say this about the @Broncos:— Blackknight232 ???????? (@Blackknight232) October 18, 2019
I would not be shocked if anything happens between now and next Sunday.
Because tonight's game was a fucking embarrassment for all of #BroncosCountry. This shit has gone on long enough and something has to change now.
Man my broncos are fucking turrible smh— DJ SIMON SEZ™ (@djsimonsez) October 18, 2019
If getting spanked by Matt fucking Moore and a terrible defense isnt a wake up call for the Broncos that they're not a contender this year, I dont know what is. It's time to re build. Sell what's worth value while it still has value. I.e. Harris, Sanders, Miller etc https://t.co/24CotjDofv— Dom (@itsbabydom) October 18, 2019
Yeah, why is Garret Bolles still on the team? Why is our OC fucking terrible? Why is Joe Flacco our QB?— Depressed Broncos Fan (@_TaylorHarris_) October 18, 2019
The broncos are fucking garbage— omobryan (@nextdoorRager) October 18, 2019
Broncos are fucking ASS! Most boring team in the NFL, get them the fuck off my screen.— Swoleman Jones (@swolegirthjones) October 18, 2019
This team is a fucking joke— The Lonewolf (@JayLonewolf1990) October 18, 2019
@Broncos so...we sign Flacco to like getting sacked? Dude looked like he was just holding it waiting to get hit. Fucking throw the god damn ball I promise I'd of made 2 or 3 more plays than the fucking offense.— Joshua Mitchell (@Joshua70mega777) October 18, 2019
Exactly, we all love our team but it doesn't mean we can't get pissed at them when they fucking suck!!! Goodnight— Maris (@true_BroncosFan) October 18, 2019
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.