With ten minutes left in the fourth quarter of the final game of the season for the Broncos, Case Keenum connected with fullback Andy Janovich for a touchdown against the Chargers.
Up to that point, both teams had played ugly football, and the low score, 9-14, indicated that. Following the touchdown, Broncos coach Vance Joseph decided to go for a two-point conversion to bring the Broncos within a field goal of tying it up.
Keenum dropped back and whipped the ball in the area of Courtland Sutton, only to see it end up in the hands of Chargers defensive back Casey Hayward, who ran it 102 yards in the opposite direction. The pick two, a rare occurrence in football, gave the Chargers a 9-16 lead, which increased by another touchdown in the waning minutes of the game.
Although that failed two-point conversion attempt resulted in only a four-point swing, the moment embodied the Broncos' whole 6-10 season: It lulled fans into thinking there's hope, only to disappoint them.
Broncos fans and media personalities on Twitter voiced their characteristically strong feelings about just how much the team blew it this season during and after the week 17 loss to the Chargers. And Joseph's firing this morning served as the coup de grace they have all been waiting for.
This tweet from 104.3 personality Zach Bye captured what every fan was feeling while watching the game against the Chargers:
This game for the Broncos is the NFL version of purgatory. A state of suffering after the death of their playoff life that everyone wants to see end as quickly as possible.— Zach Bye (@byesline) December 30, 2018
When the highlight of the game is a halftime running of livestock, it's obvious the Broncos are not very entertaining:
After dominating mutton busting performance, ???? sheep dash to end zone for picture. Believe me when I say cheers were louder for this than anything during first half. #Denver7 #Broncos pic.twitter.com/WvCHsvXniF— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) December 30, 2018
Despite Joseph's firing, questions continue to mount about whether John Elway is any good at his job, especially when it comes to evaluating the quarterback position. But, as PFTCommenter of Barstool Sports points out, Elway could be drafting and signing subpar quarterbacks so that none of them can capture his legacy as the greatest Broncos quarterback of all time:
Hes actualy very good at it he just wants to make sure he remains the best broncos Qb In history. Ultmate competitor— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) December 31, 2018
Regardless of who was throwing the ball, fans continued to question the team's play-calling:
Some observers from as far away as California commented on just how bad the Broncos looked:
It's early, but Chargers-Broncos threatening to break record for worst game ever.— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) December 30, 2018
Closer to home, Mike Klis pointed out what he believed to be a referendum on Joseph:
Broncos had 12,073 no shows today. I think the fans just voted. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) December 30, 2018
The referendum passed, and Joseph got the boot:
#Broncos have fired coach Vance Joseph, source said. Two season without a viable QB and now unemployed.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018
Even Trump tuned in to express his delight at Vance Joseph's demise:
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Trump may be happy, but the best football teams have continuity, not chaos, at the head coach position:
If the Broncos fire Vance Joseph, that’ll be four head coaches in the Elway era (since 2011). Only the Browns will have had more turnover in that span.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) December 31, 2018
The Broncos are already shopping for a new head coach. The team, holding the tenth overall pick in the 2019 draft, also might be on the lookout for a new quarterback. Let's hope Elway can get it right this time.