Denver Broncos fans are a complicated bunch. During bad times, like those following the first four losses of the 2019-2020 season
, they're apt to descend into despair. But if the team strings together a couple of victories, loyalists are ready to talk playoffs despite the incredibly high degree of difficulty in actually achieving that goal.
For proof, turn your ear to the social-media chatter following Denver's 16-0 triumph over the woeful Tennessee Titans yesterday, October 13. A week after many sports fans were angry that the squad defeated the Los Angeles Chargers
because it probably hurt its draft status ("Broncos so bad they can't even tank right," one person wrote), the Twitterverse is suddenly filled with debates over division-championship scenarios.
The reason for such optimism was the performance of the Broncos' defense, a supposed strength coming into the campaign that was directly responsible for unnecessary last-second defeats at the hands of the Chicago Bears
and Jacksonville Jaguars
. Superstar Von Miller still isn't wreaking the kind of havoc many of us anticipated, but the amount of attention being paid to him has opened up opportunities for ballers such as DeMarcus Walker, who recorded two sacks versus Tennessee, and Alexander Johnson, credited with one and a half. Moreover, off-season acquisition Kareem Jackson, whose impact was limited early because of injury, suddenly seems more than worth the money, and Todd Davis, also back to full health, is dispensing the kind of justice that makes rival coaches break out into a James Brown-style cold sweat.
But while hanging a goose egg on anyone in the NFL is impressive, the Titans clearly represent the most negative definition of "offensive." Quarterback Marcus Mariota was so inept that he was benched after halftime in favor of ex-Miami Dolphin Ryan Tannehill, who's spent his entire career being overrated — and while the latter's stats look decent (13-16 for 144 yards), he still wasn't able to stitch together any drives that reached pay dirt.
Moreover, the Broncos didn't perform much better when they had the ball. QB Joe Flacco continues to look competent, but little more than that, and the running-back tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman needed 26 attempts to (barely) break 100 yards. We hope no viewers decided to guzzle a shot after every punt, since the combined total of seventeen would have put them into an alcoholic coma.
Still, a win is a win is a win, and while the Broncos' record is a depressing 2-4, they can come within one game of the division lead on Thursday night if they somehow manage to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, who lost their second consecutive contest yesterday. The odds of this happening are slim: The Chiefs will be looking to get well, and odds are strong that they will...even though the tilt is at Mile High. Then again, it's nice to see a sudden resurgence of hope among Broncos fans, even if it'll probably turn out to be false.
Count down our picks for the twenty most memorable post-game tweets below.