2011 Denver Broncos season

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2011 Denver Broncos season
Head coach John Fox
General manager Brian Xanders
Owner Pat Bowlen
Home field Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Local radio 850 KOA (AM)
Results
Record 8–8
Division place 1st AFC West
Playoff finish Won Wild Card Playoffs (Steelers) 29–23 (OT)
Lost Divisional Playoffs (Patriots) 45–10
Pro Bowlers CB Champ Bailey
DE Elvis Dumervil
LB Von Miller
AP All-Pros LB Von Miller (2nd team)
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 2010 2012

The 2011 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 42nd season in the National Football League and the 52nd overall. It also marked the first season under head coach John Fox, as well as the first with John Elway as the team's Executive Vice President of Football Operations.

On July 25, the NFLPA and NFL owners agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement, which was ratified on August 4.[1] The Broncos training camp began on July 28 at the team headquarters in Dove Valley, Colorado, and the preseason and regular season started on time.[2]

The first five weeks of the season were dominated by a quarterback controversy involving Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow, with fans voicing their displeasure with the play of Orton, which resulted in a 1–4 start, and the public outcry for Tebow to be moved to starter. On October 11, Tebow was named the starting quarterback beginning with the team's Week 7 game at the Miami Dolphins on October 23. Tebow compiled an 8–5 record (including the playoffs, with a six-game win streak from Weeks 9–14) since replacing Orton, including game-winning drives in the fourth quarter and/or overtime in six of those games, despite constant criticism of his unorthodox mechanics and abilities as a passer.[3] Orton was later waived on November 22.[4] Another notable roster change was the trade that sent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for a conditional 2012 draft selection.[5]

The Broncos doubled their win total from 2010, finishing in a three-way tie with the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers for the AFC West division title, with an 8–8 record. However, the Broncos won the AFC West based on tiebreakers,[6] thus clinching their first playoff berth and division title since 2005.

The Broncos opened the playoffs with a 29–23 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round, but were defeated by the New England Patriots in the Divisional round by a score of 45–10.

Coaching and front-office changes[edit]

  • January 5: Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway was hired as the team's Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Brian Xanders remained as general manager, but Elway had the final word in all football matters. Joe Ellis, who served as the team's chief operating officer for the past three years, was promoted to team president.[7]
  • January 17: The following changes were made to the Broncos' coaching staff: Clancy Barone was moved from offensive line coach to tight ends coach, replacing Bob Ligashesky. Dave Magazu was named the new offensive line coach. Tyke Tolbert was named the new wide receivers coach. Magazu and Tolbert both previously served on John Fox's staff with the Panthers. Brian Callahan was moved to the offensive quality control position, while Jay Rodgers was moved to the defensive quality control position. Eric Studesville, who served as the team's interim head coach for the final four games of the 2010 season, retained his position as the running backs coach.[9]
  • January 20: Adam Gase, who served as the Broncos' wide receivers coach during the previous two seasons, was named the team's new quarterbacks coach, replacing Ben McDaniels. That same day, Jeff Rodgers, who served on John Fox's staff with the Panthers during the previous two seasons, was named the team's new special teams coach.[10]
  • January 25: Ron Milus was hired as the new secondary coach, replacing Dennis Allen, while Richard Smith was hired as the new linebackers coach. Milus previously served as the Broncos' secondary coach in 2000, while Smith previously served as the Broncos' special teams coach and linebackers coach in the mid-1990s, and both previously served on John Fox's staff with the Panthers during the past two seasons.[12]
  • January 27: The coaching staff was finalized, when Keith Burns was brought back as the assistant special teams coach and Sam Garnes was hired as the teams' new assistant secondary coach. Garnes served on John Fox's staff with the Panthers last season.[13]

Pre-lockout roster changes[edit]

The Broncos made the following roster moves prior to the decertification of the NFLPA on March 11 and subsequent 2011 NFL Lockout:

2011 draft class[edit]

Main article: 2011 NFL Draft

Despite the 2011 NFL Lockout, the 2011 NFL Draft was held from April 28–30. However, no undrafted free agents were signed until after the lockout ended on July 25.[21]

2011 Denver Broncos Draft
Round Selection Player Position College Notes
1 2 Von Miller LB Texas A&M signed July 28[22]
2 45[A] Rahim Moore S UCLA signed July 28[24]
46[B] Orlando Franklin OT Miami signed July 29[26]
3 67 Nate Irving LB NC State signed July 29[26]
4[C] 108[A] Quinton Carter S Oklahoma signed July 29[26]
129[D] Julius Thomas TE Portland State signed July 27[30]
5 None[A][D][E]
6[D][F] 189[C] Mike Mohamed LB California signed July 27,[30] waived September 22,[33]
promoted to the active roster on November 28[34]
7 204[D] Virgil Green TE Nevada signed July 27[30]
247[G] Jeremy Beal DE Oklahoma signed July 27,[30] waived September 3[36]

Post-lockout roster changes[edit]

Free agents[edit]

The following free agents were left unsigned after the beginning of the 2011 NFL Lockout in March (cornerback Champ Bailey and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson were re-signed before the lockout):

Position Player Tag 2011 Team Notes
FB Kyle Eckel UFA None
NT Ronald Fields UFA Carolina Panthers signed with the Panthers on September 13[37]
OT Ryan Harris UFA Philadelphia Eagles signed with the Eagles on August 2,[38]
re-signed by the Broncos on January 2, 2012[39]
RB Laurence Maroney UFA None
DE Ryan McBean ERFA Denver Broncos signed tender July 29[40]
PK Matt Prater RFA Denver Broncos signed tender July 29[40]
DT/NT Marcus Thomas UFA Denver Broncos re-signed July 31[41]
LB Wesley Woodyard RFA Denver Broncos signed tender July 29[40]

Undrafted free agents[edit]

All undrafted free agents were signed on July 27, two days after the end of the 2011 NFL Lockout.[42]

Position Player College Notes
CB Brandon Bing Rutgers waived September 3[36]
DT Ronnell Brown James Madison waived September 3[36]
WR Mark Dell Michigan State designated as waived/injured on August 13[43]
LB Derek Domino South Dakota State designated as waived/injured on August 15,[44]
released from the waived/injured list on December 13[45]
RB Mario Fannin Auburn designated as waived/injured on August 6[46]
WR D'Andre Goodwin Washington waived September 3,[36]
assigned to practice squad September 4,[47]
promoted to the active roster on January 10, 2012,[48]
on final roster
OT Adam Grant Arizona waived September 3,[36]
assigned to practice squad on September 4[47]
CB Chris Harris Kansas on final roster
WR Jamel Hamler Fresno State placed on injured reserve September 3,[36]
waived September 12[49]
LB A. J. Jones Florida waived August 16[50]
LB Deron Mayo Old Dominion waived August 29[16]
OT Curt Porter Jacksonville State waived August 29[16]
CB James Rogers Michigan released August 1[51]
FB Austin Sylvester Washington waived September 3,[36]
assigned to practice squad September 4,[47]
promoted to the active roster on December 27,[52]
waived January 13, 2012[53]
QB Adam Weber Minnesota waived September 3,[36]
assigned to practice squad on September 4[47]
DT Colby Whitlock Texas Tech released August 2[54]
WR Marshall Williams Wake Forest released August 1[55]

Signings[edit]

Position Player 2010 Team Notes
WR David Anderson Houston Texans signed July 30,[56] waived September 3[36]
LS David Binn San Diego Chargers signed January 13, 2012,[53] on final roster
LB Alvin Bowen Jacksonville Jaguars signed August 15,[44] waived September 3[36]
S Rafael Bush Atlanta Falcons signed October 17,[57] on final roster
CB Tony Carter Practice squad player promoted to the active roster on December 13,[45]
on final roster
WR/RS Quan Cosby Cincinnati Bengals signed September 20,[58] waived December 27[52]
TE Daniel Fells St. Louis Rams signed August 1,[51] on final roster
RB C. J. Gable New Orleans Saints signed August 6,[46] waived August 29[16]
DE Derrick Harvey Jacksonville Jaguars signed August 1,[51] on final roster
OT Tony Hills Pittsburgh Steelers signed September 6,[17] on final roster
LB Brian Iwuh Chicago Bears signed January 3, 2012,[59] on final roster
RB Jeremiah Johnson Practice squad player promoted to the active roster on September 16,[60]
waived September 20,[58]
promoted to the active roster on November 14,[61]
on final roster
FB Quinn Johnson Tennessee Titans signed October 10,[62] waived December 17[63]
S Kyle McCarthy Practice squad player promoted to the active roster on November 28,[34]
waived December 13,[45]
promoted to the active roster on December 17,[63]
waived January 3, 2012[59]
RB Willis McGahee Baltimore Ravens signed July 31,[64] on final roster
WR Greg Orton Spokane Shock (AFL) signed August 13,[43] waived September 3[36]
DT DeMario Pressley Houston Texans signed August 17,[65] waived September 3[36]
TE Dante Rosario Carolina Panthers signed August 1,[55] released September 3,[36]
re-signed September 22,[33] on final roster
DT Ty Warren New England Patriots signed August 2,[66]
placed on injured reserve September 17[67]
CB Jonathan Wilhite New England Patriots signed September 4,[47] on final roster
Indicates that the player was a free agent at the end of his respective team's 2010 season.

Departures[edit]

Position Player Notes
RB Correll Buckhalter released July 29[15]
G Stanley Daniels waived September 3[36]
TE Daniel Coats released July 29[15]
CB Perrish Cox waived September 3[36]
G Stanley Daniels waived September 3[36]
WR Britt Davis waived September 3[36]
LB Dominic Douglas waived July 31[68]
TE Dan Gronkowski waived September 3[36]
PK Steven Hauschka waived September 3[36]
S Renaldo Hill released July 30[69]
CB Chevis Jackson waived August 4[70]
CB Nate Jones released August 29[16]
LB Braxton Kelley waived August 29[16]
DT Louis Leonard released August 15[44]
S Darcel McBath released September 4[47]
G Eric Olsen waived September 3[36]
QB Kyle Orton waived November 22[4]
S Nick Polk released August 1[51]
TE Richard Quinn designated as waived/injured on August 22,[71]
released from injured reserve on August 26[72]
LB Lee Robinson waived September 3[36]
DE David Veikune waived August 29[16]
RB LenDale White released August 16[50]

Trades[edit]

  • October 17: Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd was traded to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for a sixth-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft;[5] the selection was later upgraded to a fifth-rounder after a condition was met in which Lloyd made a minimum of 30 receptions with the Rams.[75]

Injuries[edit]

  • July 27: Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was placed on the non-football injury list. Thomas suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon shortly after the end of the 2010 season, and had surgery back in February.[76] Thomas later suffered a broken finger during practice on September 8, and missed the first six weeks of the regular season.[77]
  • August 15: Defensive tackles Marcus Thomas and Ty Warren each sustained separate injuries in practice. Thomas suffered a strained pectoral muscle, and missed the first four weeks of the regular season. Warren suffered torn triceps, and was initially expected to return in November, but was placed on the season-ending injured reserve on September 17.[67][78]
  • October 10: Defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson was placed on injured reserve, after suffering an ankle injury during the team's Week 5 loss to the San Diego Chargers the previous day.[62]
  • November 28: Cornerback/return specialist Cassius Vaughn was placed on injured reserve, after suffering a broken bone in his leg during the team's Week 12 win over the San Diego Chargers the previous day.[34]
  • January 2, 2012: Guard Chris Kuper was placed on injured reserve, after suffering a broken leg during the team's regular season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs the previous day.[39]

Staff[edit]

2011 Denver Broncos staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

Final roster[edit]

2011 Denver Broncos final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics
53 Active, 9 Inactive, 8 Practice squad

Schedule[edit]

Preseason[edit]

The Broncos' preseason schedule was announced on April 12, 2011,[81] with kickoff times finalized on July 26, one day after the end of the 2011 NFL Lockout.[82]

Week Date Kickoff Opponent Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
1 August 11 6:30 p.m. MDT at Dallas Cowboys L 23–24 0–1 Cowboys Stadium KUSA Recap
2 August 20 6:30 p.m. MDT Buffalo Bills W 24–10 1–1 Sports Authority Field at Mile High KUSA Recap
3 August 27 7:00 p.m. MDT Seattle Seahawks W 23–20 2–1 Sports Authority Field at Mile High KUSA Recap
4 September 1 8:00 p.m. MDT at Arizona Cardinals L 7–26 2–2 University of Phoenix Stadium KUSA Recap

Regular season[edit]

The Broncos' regular season schedule was announced on April 19, 2011.[83]

Week Date Kickoff Opponent Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
1 September 12 8:15 p.m. MDT Oakland Raiders L 20–23 0–1 Sports Authority Field at Mile High ESPN[H] Recap
2 September 18 2:15 p.m. MDT Cincinnati Bengals W 24–22 1–1 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap
3 September 25 11:00 a.m. MDT at Tennessee Titans L 14–17 1–2 LP Field CBS Recap
4 October 2 2:15 p.m. MDT at Green Bay Packers L 23–49 1–3 Lambeau Field CBS Recap
5 October 9 2:15 p.m. MDT San Diego Chargers L 24–29 1–4 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap
6 Bye
7 October 23 11:00 a.m. MDT at Miami Dolphins W 18–15 (OT) 2–4 Sun Life Stadium CBS Recap
8 October 30 2:05 p.m. MDT Detroit Lions L 10–45 2–5 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Fox Recap
9 November 6 2:05 p.m. MST at Oakland Raiders W 38–24 3–5 O.co Coliseum CBS Recap
10 November 13 11:00 a.m. MST at Kansas City Chiefs W 17–10 4–5 Arrowhead Stadium CBS Recap
11 November 17 6:20 p.m. MST New York Jets W 17–13 5–5 Sports Authority Field at Mile High NFLN[I] Recap
12 November 27 2:15 p.m. MST at San Diego Chargers W 16–13 (OT) 6–5 Qualcomm Stadium CBS Recap
13 December 4 11:00 a.m. MST[J] at Minnesota Vikings W 35–32 7–5 Mall of America Field at the
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Fox[J] Recap
14 December 11 2:05 p.m. MST Chicago Bears W 13–10 (OT) 8–5 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Fox Recap
15 December 18 2:15 p.m. MST New England Patriots L 23–41 8–6 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap
16 December 24 11:00 a.m. MST at Buffalo Bills L 14–40 8–7 Ralph Wilson Stadium CBS Recap
17 January 1, 2012 2:15 p.m. MST Kansas City Chiefs L 3–7 8–8 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Postseason[edit]

Playoff round Date Kickoff Opponent (seed) Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
Wild Card January 8, 2012 2:30 p.m. MST Pittsburgh Steelers (5) W 29–23 (OT) 1–0 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap
Divisional January 14, 2012 6:00 p.m. MST at New England Patriots (1) L 10–45 1–1 Gillette Stadium CBS Recap

Game summaries[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Week 1: vs. Oakland Raiders[edit]

Week One: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 0 16 0 7 23
Broncos 3 0 10 7 20

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter
  • DEN – 9:55 Matt Prater 28-yard FG. Drive: 4 plays, 5 yards, 0:55. (DEN 3–0)
Second quarter
  • OAK – 13:28 Marcel Reece 3-yard TD pass from Jason Campbell, Sebastian Janikowski kick. Drive: 8 plays, 42 yards, 4:34. (OAK 7–3)
  • OAK – 11:14 Sebastian Janikowski 37-yard FG. Drive: 4 plays, 4 yards, 2:09. (OAK 10–3)
  • OAK – 1:27 Sebastian Janikowski 21-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 51 yards, 2:45. (OAK 13–3)
  • OAK – 0:00 Sebastian Janikowski 63-yard FG. Drive: 3 plays, 31 yards, 0:24. (OAK 16–3)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 12:31 Eric Decker 90-yard punt return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. (OAK 16–10)
  • DEN – 1:55 Matt Prater 30-yard FG. Drive: 12 plays, 77 yards, 4:56. (OAK 16–13)
Fourth quarter
  • OAK – 12:33 Jason Campbell 1-yard TD run, Sebastian Janikowski kick. Drive: 3 plays, 65 yards, 1:38. (OAK 23–13)
  • DEN – 3:43 Lance Ball 9-yard TD pass from Kyle Orton, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 12 plays, 80 yards, 3:56. (OAK 23–20)
Top passers
  • OAK – Jason Campbell: 13/22, 105 yards, 1 TD
  • DEN – Kyle Orton: 24/26, 304 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
Top receivers
Top tacklers

The Broncos donned their alternate orange jerseys and kicked off their 2011 season at home against their AFC West rival Oakland Raiders, the Broncos' first Week 1 home opener since 2004. The Broncos took an early lead in the first quarter, with a 28-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. The Raiders reeled off 16 unanswered points in the second quarter, with a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jason Campbell to fullback Marcel Reece, followed by three field goals of 37, 21 and 63 yards by placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, the latter of which tied the record for the longest field goal in NFL history. The Broncos responded in the third quarter, with kick returner Eric Decker returning a punt 90 yards for a touchdown, followed by a 30-yard field goal by Prater. The Raiders increased their lead in the fourth quarter, with a 1-yard touchdown run by Campbell. The Broncos tried to rally, with quarterback Kyle Orton throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass to running back Lance Ball. However, Oakland would run out the clock.[85]

With the loss, the Broncos began the season at 0–1.

Week 2: vs. Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

Week Two: Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 0 3 12 7 22
Broncos 7 3 7 7 24

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • CIN – 6:33 Mike Nugent 45-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 14 yards, 3:02. (DEN 7–3)
  • DEN – 0:12 Matt Prater 34-yard FG. Drive: 16 plays, 64 yards, 6:21. (DEN 10–3)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 10:57 Eric Decker 25-yard TD pass from Kyle Orton, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 5 plays, 59 yards, 2:12. (DEN 17–3)
  • CIN – 8:54 Mike Nugent 37-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 61 yards, 2:03. (DEN 17–6)
  • CIN – 3:36 Andre Caldwell 10-yard TD pass from Andy Dalton, two-point pass failed. Drive: 6 plays, 72 yards, 3:14. (DEN 17–12)
  • CIN – 1:05 Mike Nugent 23-yard FG. Drive: 4 plays, 9 yards, 1:13. (DEN 17–15)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 13:30 Eric Decker 52-yard TD pass from Kyle Orton. Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards, 2:35. (DEN 24–15)
  • CIN – 11:17 A. J. Green 5-yard TD pass from Andy Dalton. Drive: 4 plays, 80 yards, 2:13. (DEN 24–22)
Top passers
  • CIN – Andy Dalton: 27/41, 332 yards, 2 TD
  • DEN – Kyle Orton: 15/25, 195 yards, 2 TD
Top rushers
  • CIN – Cedric Benson: 16 rushes, 59 yards
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 28 rushes, 101 yards
Top receivers
  • CIN – Jerome Simpson: 4 receptions, 136 yards
  • DEN – Eric Decker: 5 receptions, 113 yards
Top tacklers

Following their Monday Night loss to the Raiders, the Broncos remained on home turf to face the Cincinnati Bengals. The Broncos took the lead in the first quarter, with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Willis McGahee. The Bengals got on the board in the second quarter, with a 45-yard field goal by placekicker Mike Nugent. The Broncos responded, with a 34-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater just before halftime. In the third quarter, the Broncos extended their lead, with a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kyle Orton to wide receiver Eric Decker. The Bengals reeled off 12 unanswered points, with a 37-yard field field goal by Nugent, a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton to wide receiver Andre Caldwell (with a failed two-point conversion attempt), followed by a 23-yard field goal by Nugent, narrowing the Broncos' lead to 17–15. In the fourth quarter, the Broncos once again increased their lead, with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Orton to Decker, but the Bengals responded, with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Dalton to running back A. J. Green. The Broncos' defense prevented any more scoring.[86]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 1–1.

Week 3: at Tennessee Titans[edit]

Week Three: Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 0 7 0 14
Titans 0 10 0 7 17

at LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee

Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • TEN – 11:37 Nate Washington 14-yard TD pass from Matt Hasselbeck, Rob Bironas kick. Drive: 9 plays, 85 yards, 4:05. (tied 7–7)
  • TEN – 1:11 Rob Bironas 46-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 29 yards, 2:39. (TEN 10–7)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 1:17 Willis McGahee 5-yard TD pass from Kyle Orton, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 16 plays, 80 yards, 8:09. (DEN 14–10)
Fourth quarter
  • TEN – 4:24 Daniel Graham 4-yard TD pass from Matt Hasselbeck, Rob Bironas kick. Drive: 7 plays, 95 yards, 3:30. (TEN 17–14)
Top passers
  • DEN – Kyle Orton: 24/29, 173 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
  • TEN – Matt Hasselbeck: 27/36, 311 yards, 2 TD
Top rushers
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 22 rushes, 52 yards
  • TEN – Chris Johnson: 13 rushes, 21 yards
Top receivers
  • DEN – Eric Decker: 7 receptions, 48 yards
  • TEN – Nate Washington: 8 receptions, 92 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Following their close win over the Bengals, the Broncos traveled to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. The Broncos took the lead in the first quarter, with a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kyle Orton to wide receiver Matthew Willis. The Titans responded in the second quarter, with a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to wide receiver Nate Washington, followed by a 46-yard field goal by placekicker Rob Bironas. The Broncos re-claimed the lead in the third quarter, when Orton connecting with running back Willis McGahee on a 5-yard touchdown pass. However, after recovering a Hasselbeck fumble in Titans' territory late in the third quarter, the Broncos failed to capitalize on the turnover, as Tennessee's defense denied the Broncos from extending their lead with a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter. The Titans later claimed the lead, when Hasselbeck, playing on his 36th birthday, threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Graham, who played with the Broncos from 2007–2010. Tennessee's defense thwarted the Broncos' final drive.[87]

With the loss, the Broncos fell to 1–2.

Week 4: at Green Bay Packers[edit]

Week Four: Denver Broncos at Green Bay Packers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 3 14 0 6 23
Packers 14 14 14 7 49

at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

  • Date: October 2
  • Game time: 3:15 p.m. CDT/2:15 p.m. MDT
  • Game weather: 67 °F (19 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 70,529
  • Referee: Scott Green
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • GB – 12:18 Aaron Rodgers 11-yard TD run, Mason Crosby kick. Drive: 7 plays, 53 yards, 3:32. (GB 21–3)
  • DEN – 10:27 Eric Decker 5-yard TD pass from Kyle Orton, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 69 yards, 1:51. (GB 21–10)
  • DEN – 3:21 Eric Decker 33-yard TD pass from Kyle Orton, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 8 plays, 71 yards, 4:58. (GB 21–17)
  • GB – 0:24 Greg Jennings 17-yard TD pass from Aaron Rodgers, Mason Crosby kick. Drive: 10 plays, 80 yards, 2:57. (GB 28–17)
Third quarter
  • GB – 8:26 Aaron Rodgers 8-yard TD run, Mason Crosby kick. Drive: 12 plays, 80 yards, 6:34. (GB 35–17)
  • GB – 1:12 James Jones 16-yard TD pass from Aaron Rodgers, Mason Crosby kick. Drive: 5 plays, 86 yards, 4:09. (GB 42–17)
Fourth quarter
  • GB – 7:46 Donald Driver 8-yard TD pass from Aaron Rodgers, Mason Crosby kick. Drive: 8 plays, 46 yards, 4:09. (GB 49–17)
  • DEN – 3:02 Daniel Fells 7-yard TD pass from Kyle Orton, two-point run failed. Drive: 12 plays, 78 yards, 4:44. (GB 49–23)
Top passers
  • DEN – Kyle Orton: 22/32, 273 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
  • GB – Aaron Rodgers: 29/38, 408 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
Top receivers
  • DEN – Brandon Lloyd: 8 receptions, 136 yards
  • GB – Greg Jennings: 7 receptions, 136 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Hoping to avenge their loss at Tennessee, the Broncos traveled to Lambeau Field to face the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. The Broncos took the early lead, with a 27-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. However, the Packers responded, with a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers to wide receiver Jordy Nelson, followed by cornerback Charles Woodson returning an interception off Broncos' quarterback Kyle Orton 30 yards for a touchdown. After recovering an onside kick, the Packers added to their lead early in the second quarter, with Rodgers scrambling 11 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos responded, with Orton throwing two touchdown passes to wide receiver Eric Decker: a 5-yarder, followed by a 33-yarder. The Packers responded just before halftime, when Rodgers connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Jennings. The Packers increased their lead on the opening possession of the third quarter, with Rodgers scrambling for an 8-yard touchdown run, followed by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to wide receiver James Jones. The Packers continued their onslaught in the fourth quarter, with Rodgers hooking up with wide receiver Donald Driver on an 8-yard touchdown pass. The Broncos scored a late touchdown, when Orton connected with tight end Daniel Fells on a 7-yard touchdown pass (with a failed two-point conversion attempt), but the outcome of the game had already been decided in Green Bay's favor.[88]

With the loss, the Broncos fell to 1–3.

Week 5: vs. San Diego Chargers[edit]

Week Five: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Chargers 6 17 0 6 29
Broncos 7 3 0 14 24

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter
  • SD – 8:37 Nick Novak 24-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 46 yards, 4:54. (SD 3–0)
  • DEN – 5:58 Cassius Vaughn 55-yard interception return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. (DEN 7–3)
  • SD – 0:45 Nick Novak 32-yard FG. Drive: 10 plays, 66 yards, 5:13. (DEN 7–6)
Second quarter
  • DEN – 11:10 Matt Prater 35-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 63 yards, 4:35. (DEN 10–6)
  • SD – 7:19 Philip Rivers 2-yard TD run, Nick Novak kick. Drive: 7 plays, 80 yards, 3:51. (SD 13–10)
  • SD – 1:47 Nick Novak 28-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 56 yards, 3:42. (SD 16–10)
  • SD – 0:13 Malcom Floyd 42-yard TD pass from Philip Rivers, Nick Novak kick. Drive: 5 plays, 54 yards, 0:49. (SD 23–10)
Third quarter

No scoring

Fourth quarter
  • SD – 13:35 Nick Novak 51-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 30 yards, 4:13. (SD 26–10)
  • DEN – 6:35 Tim Tebow 12-yard TD run, Willis McGahee run for a two-point conversion. Drive: 4 plays, 51 yards, 2:19. (SD 26–18)
  • DEN – 3:19 Knowshon Moreno 28-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, two-point pass failed. Drive: 3 plays, 41 yards, 1:19. (SD 26–24)
  • SD – 0:24 Nick Novak 35-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 63 yards, 2:55. (SD 29–24)
Top passers
  • SD – Philip Rivers: 18/29, 250 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 4/10, 79 yards, 1 TD
Top rushers
  • SD – Ryan Mathews: 24 rushes, 125 yards
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 16 yards, 125 yards
Top receivers
  • SD – Malcom Floyd: 3 receptions, 100 yards, 1 TD
  • DEN – Daniel Fells: 3 receptions, 47 yards
Top tacklers

Hoping to rebound from their blowout loss at Green Bay, the Broncos returned home for an AFC West duel with the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers took the early lead in the first quarter, with a 24-yard field goal by placekicker Nick Novak. The Broncos grabbed the lead, when cornerback Cassius Vaughn returned an interception off Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers 55 yards for a touchdown. The Chargers responded, with a 32-yard field goal by Novak. The Broncos extended their lead in the second quarter, with a 32-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. However, the Chargers would re-claim the lead, with a 2-yard touchdown run by Rivers, a 28-yard field goal by Novak, followed by a 42-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to wide receiver Malcom Floyd, giving San Diego a 23–10 halftime lead. The Broncos benched quarterback Kyle Orton in favor of Tim Tebow. After a scoreless third quarter, the Chargers added to their lead, with a 51-yard field goal by Novak. The Broncos responded, when Tebow scrambled for a 12-yard touchdown (with a two-point conversion run by running back Willis McGahee), then threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to running back Knowshon Moreno (with a failed two-point conversion attempt), to pull the Broncos to within 26–24 with just over three minutes left in the game. The Chargers responded, with a 35-yard field goal by Novak. The Broncos tried to rally with 24 seconds remaining in regulation, but Tebow's last-second desperation pass into the end zone was unsuccessful, sealing the win for San Diego.[89]

With the loss, the Broncos dropped to 1–4, entering their bye week.

Injuries[edit]

Defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson suffering an ankle injury early in the game. Though he later returned, he was placed on injured reserve one day later (October 10).[62]

Week 7: at Miami Dolphins[edit]

Week Seven: Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins – Game summary
1 2 3 4 OT Total
Broncos 0 0 0 15 3 18
Dolphins 0 6 0 9 0 15

at Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

Game information
First quarter

No scoring

Second quarter
  • MIA – 14:18 Dan Carpenter 38-yard FG. Drive: 10 plays, 41 yards, 2:26. (MIA 3–0)
  • MIA – 2:46 Dan Carpenter 36-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 22 yards, 3:13. (MIA 6–0)
Third quarter

No scoring

Fourth quarter
  • MIA – 15:00 Anthony Fasano 16-yard TD pass from Matt Moore, two-point pass failed. Drive: 11 plays, 72 yards, 6:31. (MIA 12–0)
  • MIA – 7:34 Dan Carpenter 43-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 50 yards, 5:05. (MIA 15–0)
  • DEN – 2:44 Demaryius Thomas 5-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards, 2:39. (MIA 15–7)
  • DEN – 0:17 Daniel Fells 3-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow run for a two-point conversion. Drive: 10 plays, 56 yards, 2:27. (tied 15–15)
Overtime
  • DEN – 7:24 Matt Prater 52-yard FG. Drive: 4 plays, 2 yards, 2:06. (DEN 18–15)
Top passers
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 13/27, 161 yards, 2 TD
  • MIA – Matt Moore: 22/33, 197 yards, 1 TD
Top rushers
Top receivers
Top tacklers

Hoping to snap their three-game losing streak, and coming off their bye week, the Broncos traveled to Sun Life Stadium to face the Miami Dolphins, where the Broncos had never won in their franchise history. After a scoreless first quarter, the Dolphins grabbed the lead in the second quarter, with field goals of 38 and 36 yards by kicker Dan Carpenter. After a scoreless third quarter, the Dolphins extended their lead in the fourth quarter, with quarterback Matt Moore throwing a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Fasano (with a failed two-point conversion attempt), followed by a 43-yard field goal by Carpenter, giving Miami a 15–0 lead. However, after each team traded punts, the Broncos staged a rally with just over five minutes remaining, with quarterback Tim Tebow throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to pull to within 15–7 with 2:44 remaining. After the Broncos recovered an onside kick, they subsequently marched down the field, with Tebow connecting on a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Fells, followed by Tebow scrambling for the two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. On the Dolphins' second possession in overtime, Broncos' linebacker D. J. Williams forced a fumble off Moore, giving the Broncos possession at the Dolphins' 36-yard line. Four plays later, kicker Matt Prater, who had missed two field goals in the first half, nailed the game-winning 52-yard field goal.

With the win, the Broncos not only improved to 2–4, but also earned their 400th win in franchise history, their first-ever win at Miami in eight tries, and became the first team in NFL history since the AFL–NFL merger to win a game after trailing by 15 or more points with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.[90][91]

Week 8: vs. Detroit Lions[edit]

Week Eight: Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 7 17 14 7 45
Broncos 3 0 0 7 10

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • DET – 14:44 Jason Hanson 50-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 57 yards, 2:34. (DET 10–3)
  • DET – 4:11 Tony Scheffler 1-yard TD pass from Matthew Stafford, Jason Hanson kick. Drive: 8 plays, 68 yards, 4:39. (DET 17–3)
  • DET – 0:29 Maurice Morris 1-yard TD run, Jason Hanson kick. Drive: 7 plays, 49 yards, 1:36. (DET 24–3)
Third quarter
  • DET – 13:26 Cliff Avril 24-yard fumble return, Jason Hanson kick. (DET 31–3)
  • DET – 6:18 Calvin Johnson 56-yard TD from Matthew Stafford, Jason Hanson kick. Drive: 2 plays, 67 yards, 0:48. (DET 38–3)
Fourth quarter
  • DET – 12:04 Chris Houston 100-yard interception return for a TD, Jason Hanson kick. (DET 45–3)
  • DEN – 8:19 Eric Decker 14-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards, 3:45. (DET 45–10)
Top passers
  • DET – Matthew Stafford: 21/30, 267 yards, 3 TD
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 18/39, 172 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
  • DET – Maurice Morris: 13 rushes, 58 yards, 1 TD
  • DEN – Knowshon Moreno: 14 rushes, 69 yards
Top receivers
  • DET – Calvin Johnson: 6 receptions, 125 yards, 1 TD
  • DEN – Eric Decker: 6 receptions, 72 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Hoping to build on the momentum of their comeback win at Miami, the Broncos donned their alternate orange jerseys and returned home for an interconference duel with the Detroit Lions. The Broncos grabbed the early lead in the first quarter, with a 39-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. However, the Lions would dominate the remainder of the game, beginning with a 41-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford to wide receiver Titus Young, followed in the second quarter by a 50-yard field goal by placekicker Jason Hanson, a 1-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to tight end Tony Scheffler and a 1-yard touchdown run from running back Maurice Morris, giving Detroit a 24–3 halftime lead. The Lions continued their domination in the third quarter, with a 24-yard fumble return for a touchdown by defensive end Cliff Avril, a 56-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to wide receiver Calvin Johnson, followed in the fourth quarter by cornerback Chris Houston returning an interception off Broncos' quarterback Tim Tebow 100 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos finally got into the end zone, with Tebow throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker, but the outcome of the game had already been decided in Detroit's favor.[92]

With the loss, the Broncos dropped to 2–5.

Week 9: at Oakland Raiders[edit]

Week Nine: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 0 17 14 38
Raiders 3 14 7 0 24

at O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California

  • Date: November 6
  • Game time: 2:05 p.m. MST/1:05 p.m. PST
  • Game weather: 62 °F (17 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 58,125
  • Referee: John Parry
  • TV announcers (CBS): Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • OAK – 10:42 Michael Bush 11-yard TD pass from Carson Palmer, Sebastian Janikowski kick. Drive: 3 plays, 14 yards, 1:38. (OAK 10–7)
  • OAK – 1:30 Marcel Reece 40-yard TD pass from Carson Palmer, Sebastian Janikowski kick. Drive: 4 plays, 72 yards, 1:16. (OAK 17–7)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 10:48 Eddie Royal 26-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards, 4:12. (OAK 17–14)
  • OAK – 6:41 Jacoby Ford 18-yard TD pass from Carson Palmer, Sebastian Janikowski kick. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards, 4:07. (OAK 24–14)
  • DEN – 2:52 Matt Prater 43-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 52 yards, 3:49. (OAK 24–17)
  • DEN – 0:00 Willis McGahee 60-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 1 play, 60 yards, 0:07. (tied 24–24)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 5:53 Eddie Royal 85-yard punt return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. (DEN 31–24)
  • DEN – 1:53 Willis McGahee 24-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 77 yards, 2:02. (DEN 38–24)
Top passers
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 10/21, 124 yards, 2 TD
  • OAK – Carson Palmer: 19/35, 332 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
Top rushers
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 20 rushes, 163 yards, 2 TD
  • OAK – Michael Bush: 19 rushes, 96 yards
Top receivers
  • DEN – Eric Decker: 3 receptions, 47 yards, 1 TD
  • OAK – Jacoby Ford: 5 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Hoping to rebound from their disastrous home loss to the Lions, the Broncos traveled to the O.co Coliseum for an AFC West rematch with the Oakland Raiders. In the first quarter, the Raiders grabbed the early lead, with a 48-yard field goal by placekicker Sebastian Janikowski. The Broncos responded, with quarterback Tim Tebow hooking up with wide receiver Eric Decker on a 27-yard touchdown pass. The Raiders re-claimed the lead in the second quarter, with quarterback Carson Palmer throwing two touchdown passes: an 11-yarder to running back Michael Bush, followed by a 40-yarder to fullback Marcel Reece. In the third quarter, the Broncos cut into the Raiders' lead, with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Tebow to wide receiver Eddie Royal. The Raiders responded, with Palmer throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jacoby Ford, giving Oakland a 24–14 lead. However, the Broncos would dominate the remainder of the game, beginning with a 43-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater, followed by running back Willis McGahee rushing for a 60-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter. The Broncos grabbed the lead with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, when Royal returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown, then pulled away with a 24-yard touchdown run by McGahee.[93]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 3–5.

Week 10: at Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

Week Ten: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 3 0 7 17
Chiefs 0 0 7 3 10

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Date: November 13
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. CST/11:00 a.m. MST
  • Game weather: 67 °F (19 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 72,908
  • Referee: Ron Winter
  • TV announcers (CBS): Bill Macatee (play-by-play) and Steve Tasker (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
  • DEN – 7:38 Tim Tebow 7-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 8 plays, 57 yards, 4:11. (DEN 7–0)
Second quarter
  • DEN – 7:51 Matt Prater 38-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 34 yards, 4:32. (DEN 10–0)
Third quarter
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 6:52 Eric Decker 56-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards, 5:21. (DEN 17–7)
  • KC – 0:07 Ryan Succop 32-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 55 yards, 1:48. (DEN 17–10)
Top passers
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 2/8, 69 yards, 1 TD
  • KC – Matt Cassel: 13/28, 93 yards, 1 TD
Top rushers
Top receivers
  • DEN – Eric Decker: 1 reception, 56 yards, 1 TD
  • KC – Dexter McCluster: 6 receptions, 48 yards
Top tacklers

Coming off their win at Oakland, the Broncos traveled to Arrowhead Stadium for an AFC West duel with the Kansas City Chiefs. In the first quarter, the Broncos grabbed the early lead, with quarterback Tim Tebow scrambling for a 7-yard touchdown, followed in the second quarter by a 38-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. The Chiefs got on the board in the third quarter, with a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Cassel to fullback Le'Ron McClain. The Broncos responded in the fourth quarter, with Tebow throwing a 56-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker. The Chiefs tried to rally, with placekicker Ryan Succop nailing a late 32-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining, but the ensuing onside kickoff was unsuccessful, sealing the win for the Broncos.[94]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 4–5, matching their win total from 2010.

Injuries[edit]

Running back Knowshon Moreno suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during the first quarter, and was placed on injured reserve.[61]

Week 11: vs. New York Jets[edit]

Week Eleven: New York Jets at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Jets 0 3 7 3 13
Broncos 3 0 7 7 17

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: November 17
  • Game time: 6:20 p.m. MST
  • Game weather: 54 °F (12 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 74,746
  • Referee: Bill Leavy
  • TV announcers (NFLN[I]): Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Mike Mayock (color commentator) and Alex Flanagan (sideline reporter)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
  • DEN – 5:08 Matt Prater 37-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 15 yards, 2:55. (DEN 3–0)
Second quarter
  • NYJ – 12:04 Nick Folk 21-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 32 yards, 3:20. (tied 3–3)
Third quarter
  • NYJ – 10:57 Matt Slauson 1-yard fumble recovery for a TD, Nick Folk kick. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards, 4:03. (NYJ 10–3)
  • DEN – 4:25 André Goodman 26-yard interception return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. (tied 10–10)
Fourth quarter
  • NYJ – 9:14 Nick Folk 45-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 42 yards, 5:34. (NYJ 13–10)
  • DEN – 0:58 Tim Tebow 20-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 12 plays, 95 yards, 4:56. (DEN 17–13)
Top passers
  • NYJ – Mark Sanchez: 24/40, 252 yards, 1 INT
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 9/20, 104 yards
Top rushers
  • NYJ – Joe McKnight: 16 rushes, 59 yards
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 8 rushes, 68 yards, 1 TD
Top receivers
Top tacklers

Coming off their win at Kansas City, the Broncos returned home for an AFC duel against the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football. The Broncos grabbed the lead in the first quarter, with a 37-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. The Jets tied the game in the second quarter, with a 21-yard field goal by placekicker Nick Folk, then grabbed the lead in the third quarter, when guard Matt Slauson returned a fumble off Jets' running back Bilal Powell into the end zone for a touchdown. The Broncos tied the game, when cornerback André Goodman returned an interception off Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez 26 yards for a touchdown. The Jets re-claimed the lead in the fourth quarter, with a 45-yard field goal by Folk. After each team traded punts, the Broncos got the ball with 5:54 remaining, when quarterback Tim Tebow led the Broncos on a 12-play, 95-yard drive, culminating with Tebow scrambling 20 yards for a touchdown with 58 seconds remaining. The Broncos' defense thwarted Sanchez' last-second desperation pass toward the end zone.[95]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 5–5, exceeding their win total from 2010.

Week 12: at San Diego Chargers[edit]

Week Twelve: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 OT Total
Broncos 0 7 3 3 3 16
Chargers 3 7 3 0 0 13

at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

  • Date: November 27
  • Game time: 2:15 p.m. MST/1:15 p.m. PST
  • Game weather: 84 °F (29 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 64,436
  • Referee: Jeff Triplette
  • TV announcers (CBS): Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Dan Fouts (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
  • SD – 11:34 Nick Novak 53-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 45 yards, 3:26. (SD 3–0)
Second quarter
Third quarter
  • SD – 9:30 Nick Novak 25-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 48 yards, 3:48. (SD 13–7)
  • DEN – 0:33 Matt Prater 41-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 57 yards, 6:08. (SD 13–10)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 1:34 Matt Prater 24-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 68 yards, 3:53. (tied 13–13)
Overtime
  • DEN – 0:29 M.Prater 37-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 38 yards, 2:02. (DEN 16–13)
Top passers
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 9/18, 143 yards, 1 TD
  • SD – Philip Rivers: 19/36, 188 yards, 1 TD
Top rushers
Top receivers
Top tacklers

Coming off their win over the Jets, the Broncos traveled to Qualcomm Stadium for an AFC West rematch with the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers jumped out to a 10–0 lead, with a 53-yard field goal by kicker Nick Novak in the first quarter, followed in the second quarter by a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Philip Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates. The Broncos responded just before halftime, with an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tim Tebow to wide receiver Eric Decker. The Chargers added to their lead in the third quarter, with a 25-yard field goal by Novak. The Broncos countered just before the end of the third quarter, with a 41-yard field goal by kicker Matt Prater. Novak missed a 48-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. Trailing 13–10 with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Broncos marched down the field and tied the game with a 24-yard field goal by Prater. The Broncos' defense subdued San Diego's final drive of the fourth quarter, sending the game to overtime. On the Chargers' second possession in overtime, Novak's potential game-winning 53-yard field goal was blocked. However, head coach John Fox had called a timeout prior to the kick. Novak missed the second attempt wide right. The Broncos' third possession in overtime began with 2:31 remaining, and Prater nailed the game-winning 37-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in overtime.[96]

With the win, the Broncos not only improved to 6–5, winning their fourth consecutive game, but they also swept their AFC West division rivals on the road for the second time in three seasons.

Injuries[edit]

Cornerback Cassius Vaughn suffered a broken bone in his leg, and was placed on injured reserve the following day.[34]

Week 13: at Minnesota Vikings[edit]

Week Thirteen: Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 0 14 14 35
Vikings 5 10 7 10 32

at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • MIN – 3:40 Kyle Rudolph 19-yard TD pass from Christian Ponder, Ryan Longwell kick. Drive: 12 plays, 96 yards, 5:57. (MIN 12–7)
  • MIN – 0:03 Ryan Longwell 25-yard FG. Drive: 4 plays, 15 yards, 0:39. (MIN 15–7)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 11:24 Demaryius Thomas 21-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 9 plays, 78 yards, 3:42. (MIN 15–14)
  • MIN – 3:22 Percy Harvin 52-yard TD pass from Christian Ponder, Ryan Longwell kick. Drive: 6 plays, 85 yards, 3:23. (MIN 22–14)
  • DEN – 3:03 Demaryius Thomas 41-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 1 play, 41 yards, 0:24. (MIN 22–21)
Fourth quarter
  • MIN – 9:41 Percy Harvin 48-yard TD pass from Christian Ponder, Ryan Longwell kick. Drive: 4 plays, 77 yards, 1:36. (MIN 29–21)
  • DEN – 8:52 Willis McGahee 24-yard TD run, Tim Tebow run for a two-point conversion. Drive: 2 plays, 66 yards, 0:49. (tied 29–29)
  • MIN – 3:06 Ryan Longwell 39-yard FG. Drive: 13 plays, 59 yards, 5:46. (MIN 32–29)
  • DEN – 1:33 Matt Prater 46-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 52 yards, 1:33. (tied 32–32)
  • DEN – 0:00 Matt Prater 23-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 10 yards, 1:25. (DEN 35–32)
Top passers
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 10/15, 202 yards, 2 TD
  • MIN – Christian Ponder: 29/47, 381 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Top rushers
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 20 rushes, 111 yards, 1 TD
  • MIN – Toby Gerhart: 21 rushes, 91 yards
Top receivers
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 4 receptions, 144 yards, 2 TD
  • MIN – Percy Harvin: 8 receptions, 156 yards, 2 TD
Top tacklers
  • DEN – Mario Haggan: 7 tackles, 5 assists
  • MIN – Benny Sapp: 6 tackles

Coming off their overtime win at San Diego, the Broncos traveled to the Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for an interconference duel with the Minnesota Vikings. The game's first points came from the Vikings, when defensive end Jared Allen tackled running back Willis McGahee in the end zone for a safety. The Broncos grabbed the lead when linebacker Mario Haggan returned an interception off Vikings' quarterback Christian Ponder 16 yards for a touchdown. Vikings' kicker Ryan Longwell made a 40-yard field goal, then the Vikings reclaimed the lead in the second quarter, on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Ponder to tight end Kyle Rudolph, followed by another field goal by Longwell, this time from 25 yards, just before halftime. The Broncos narrowed Minnesota's lead in the third quarter, with a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tim Tebow to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, but the Vikings countered with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Ponder to wide receiver Percy Harvin. The Broncos responded with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Tebow to Thomas. Ponder then threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Harvin to give Minnesota a 29–21 lead. On the Broncos' next possession, McGahee rushed 24 yards for a touchdown and Tebow scrambled for a two-point conversion to tie the game at 29. The Vikings subsequently reclaimed the lead on Longwell's 39-yard field goal with 3:06 left in the game. The Broncos answered with kicker Matt Prater's 46-yard field goal with 1:33 left to tie the game at 32. On the Vikings' ensuing possession, Broncos' cornerback André Goodman returned an interception off Ponder to the Vikings' 15-yard line. Six plays later, Prater nailed the game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired to give the Broncos their fifth consecutive win.[97]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 7–5, winning their fifth consecutive game.

Week 14: vs. Chicago Bears[edit]

Week Fourteen: Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 OT Total
Bears 0 0 7 3 0 10
Broncos 0 0 0 10 3 13

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter

No scoring

Second quarter

No scoring

Third quarter
Fourth quarter
  • CHI – 14:55 Robbie Gould 57-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 24 yards, 3:53. (CHI 10–0)
  • DEN – 2:08 Demaryius Thomas 10-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 7 plays, 63 yards, 2:26. (CHI 10–7)
  • DEN – 0:03 Matt Prater 59-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 39 yards, 0:53. (tied 10–10)
Overtime
  • DEN – 8:34 Matt Prater 51-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 33 yards, 4:13. (DEN 13–10)
Top passers
  • CHI – Caleb Hanie: 12/19, 115 yards
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 21/40, 236 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
  • CHI – Marion Barber: 27 rushes, 108 yards, 1 TD
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 12 rushes, 49 yards
Top receivers
  • CHI – Johnny Knox: 3 receptions, 37 yards
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 7 receptions, 78 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Coming off their last-second win at Minnesota, the Broncos returned home for an interconference duel with the Chicago Bears. After a scoreless first half, which included Bears' defensive end Julius Peppers blocking a 28-yard field goal attempt by kicker Matt Prater in the second quarter, the Bears grabbed the lead in the third quarter, with running back Marion Barber rushing for a 9-yard touchdown. The Bears extended their lead to 10–0 early in the fourth quarter, with a 57-yard field goal by kicker Robbie Gould. With 4:34 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Broncos put together a 7-play, 63-yard drive, and finally got on the scoreboard with 2:08 remaining, when quarterback Tim Tebow threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. With no timeouts remaining, the Broncos tried an onside kick, but Chicago recovered prior to the two-minute warning. After one running play, the two-minute warning stopped the clock. On the next play, Broncos' linebacker D. J. Williams was able to push Barber out of bounds, saving 40 seconds of time. The Bears eventually punted to the Broncos' 20-yard line with 56 seconds remaining. Tebow subsequently led the Broncos on an 8-play, 39-yard drive, with Prater nailing a game-tying 59-yard field goal to send the game to overtime. This was the first game in NFL history that had two field goals of 57 yards or more. Chicago won the overtime coin toss, however, they deferred, and the Broncos went three-and-out on their first possession. The Bears drove into field goal range on their first overtime possesstion, but Broncos' linebacker Wesley Woodyard forced a fumble off Barber, with defensive end Elvis Dumervil recovering the fumble. Nine plays later, Prater nailed the game-winning 51-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Tebow was 18 of 24 with 191 yards passing and one touchdown.[98] In his first 11 starts, Tebow has six game winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. This is more than any other quarterback since the AFL–NFL merger, and breaks the previous record of five, last accomplished by Jake Delhomme in 1999.[99]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 8–5, winning their sixth consecutive game.

Week 15: vs. New England Patriots[edit]

Week Fifteen: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Patriots 7 20 7 7 41
Broncos 13 3 0 7 23

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: December 18
  • Game time: 2:15 p.m. MST
  • Game weather: 63 °F (17 °C), mostly sunny
  • Game attendance: 76,556
  • Referee: Mike Carey
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
  • DEN – 9:49 Tim Tebow 9-yard TD run, extra-point snap botched, two-point run failed. Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards, 5:11. (DEN 6–0)
  • NE – 7:24 Chad Ochocinco 33-yard TD pass from Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards, 2:25. (NE 7–6)
  • DEN – 5:01 Lance Ball 32-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 82 yards, 2:23. (DEN 13–7)
Second quarter
  • DEN – 13:47 Matt Prater 26-yard FG. Drive: 10 plays, 63 yards, 4:24. (DEN 16–7)
  • NE – 8:43 Aaron Hernandez 1-yard TD pass from Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 12 plays, 80 yards, 5:04. (DEN 16–14)
  • NE – 5:49 Stephen Gostkowski 21-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 16 yards, 2:42. (NE 17–16)
  • NE – 1:12 Tom Brady 1-yard TD run, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 6 plays, 40 yards, 3:20. (NE 24–16)
  • NE – 0:00 Stephen Gostkowski 34-yard FG. Drive: 1 play, 0:03. (NE 27–16)
Third quarter
  • NE – 0:39 Danny Woodhead 10-yard TD run, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 8 plays, 85 yards, 3:28. (NE 34–16)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 8:41 Tim Tebow 2-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 7 plays, 89 yards, 2:38. (NE 34–23)
  • NE – 4:10 BenJarvus Green-Ellis 1-yard TD run, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards, 4:31. (NE 41–23)
Top passers
  • NE – Tom Brady: 23/34, 320 yards, 2 TD
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 11/22, 194 yards
Top rushers
  • NE – Stevan Ridley: 11 rushes, 65 yards
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 12 rushes, 93 yards, 2 TD
Top receivers
Top tacklers

Coming off their overtime win over the Bears, the Broncos remained on home ground for an AFC duel with the New England Patriots. The Broncos grabbed the early lead, with quarterback Tim Tebow scrambling for a 9-yard touchdown (with a failed two-point conversion attempt after a botched extra-point snap). The Patriots responded, with quarterback Tom Brady throwing a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. The Broncos countered, with a 32-yard touchdown run by running back Lance Ball, followed in the second quarter by a 26-yard field goal by kicker Matt Prater. However, New England reeled off 27 unanswered points, 17 of which came off three Broncos' turnovers in the second quarter. Brady connected with tight end Aaron Hernandez on a 1-yard touchdown pass, placekicker Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 21-yard field goal, Brady ran a 1-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown and Gostkowski nailed a 34-yard field goal at the end of the first half. The Patriots added to their lead in the third quarter, with a 10-yard touchdown run by running back Danny Woodhead. The Broncos tried to cut into New England's lead in the fourth quarter, with Tebow scrambling for a 2-yard touchdown, but a 1-yard touchdown run by Patriots' running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis put the game out of reach.[100]

With the loss, the Broncos dropped to 8–6, snapping their 6-game winning streak.

Week 16: at Buffalo Bills[edit]

Week Sixteen: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 0 7 0 14
Bills 0 17 6 17 40

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: December 24
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST/11:00 a.m. MST
  • Game weather: 30 °F (−1 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 45,112
  • Referee: Walt Anderson
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
  • DEN – 7:13 Tim Tebow 1-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 11 plays, 73 yards, 5:40. (DEN 7–0)
Second quarter
  • BUF – 6:06 Dave Rayner 28-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 59 yards, 2:51. (DEN 7–3)
  • BUF – 4:05 Leodis McKelvin 80-yard punt return for a TD, Dave Rayner kick. (BUF 10–7)
  • BUF – 0:19 C. J. Spiller 4-yard TD run, Dave Rayner kick. Drive: 5 plays, 58 yards, 1:33. (BUF 17–7)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 11:42 Daniel Fells 17-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 7 plays, 74 yards, 3:18. (BUF 17–14)
  • BUF – 6:19 Dave Rayner 25-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 64 yards, 5:23. (BUF 20–14)
  • BUF – 2:32 Dave Rayner 25-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 56 yards, 2:45. (BUF 23–14)
Fourth quarter
  • BUF – 13:26 Dave Rayner 29-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 16 yards, 1:57. (BUF 26–14)
  • BUF – 8:03 Jairus Byrd 37-yard interception return for a TD, Dave Rayner kick. (BUF 33–14)
  • BUF – 7:45 Spencer Johnson 17-yard fumble return for a TD, Dave Rayner kick. (BUF 40–14)
Top passers
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 13/30, 185 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
  • BUF – Ryan Fitzpatrick: 15/27, 196 yards
Top rushers
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 15 rushes, 64 yards
  • BUF – C. J. Spiller: 16 rushes, 111 yards, 1 TD
Top receivers
Top tacklers

Hoping to rebound from their loss to the Patriots, the Broncos traveled to Ralph Wilson Stadium for an AFC duel with the Buffalo Bills. The Broncos grabbed the early lead in the first quarter, with quarterback Tim Tebow scrambling for a 1-yard touchdown. The Bills stormed back, reeling off 17 unanswered points in the second quarter, with a 28-yard field goal by placekicker Dave Rayner, an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown by Leodis McKelvin and a 4-yard touchdown run by running back C. J. Spiller. The Broncos cut into Buffalo's lead early in the third quarter, with Tebow throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Fells. However, the Broncos were held scoreless for the remainder of the game. The Bills added to their lead, with three field goals by Rayner—a pair of 25-yarders in the third quarter, followed by a 29-yarder early in the fourth quarter. The Bills pulled further away, converting two turnovers off Tebow into touchdowns—a 37-yard interception return by safety Jairus Byrd, followed by a 17-yard fumble return by linebacker Spencer Johnson.[101]

With the loss, the Broncos dropped to 8–7.

Week 17: vs. Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

Week Seventeen: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Chiefs 7 0 0 0 7
Broncos 0 0 3 0 3

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: January 1
  • Game time: 2:15 p.m. MST
  • Game weather: 35 °F (2 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 76,005
  • Referee: Pete Morelli
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter

No scoring

Third quarter
  • DEN – 8:11 Matt Prater 38-yard FG. Drive: 4 plays, 1:30. (KC 7–3)
Fourth quarter

No scoring

Top passers
Top rushers
  • KC – Dexter McCluster: 12 rushes, 61 yards, 1 TD
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 28 rushes, 145 yards
Top receivers
Top tacklers

Hoping to rebound from their tough loss at Buffalo and keep their playoff hopes alive, the Broncos returned home for an AFC West rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs, in the team's regular season finale. This was Chiefs' quarterback Kyle Orton's first visit to Denver since he was waived by the Broncos on November 22. The Chiefs grabbed the early lead in the first quarter, with a 21-yard touchdown run by running back Dexter McCluster. After a scoreless second quarter, which included a fumble by Broncos' quarterback Tim Tebow deep in Chiefs' territory, the Broncos got on the scoreboard in the third quarter, with a 38-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. However, both teams were held scoreless for the remainder of the game. Kansas City's defense thwarted the Broncos' last drive.[102]

With the loss, the Broncos dropped to 8–8, and were swept at home by their division rivals for the second time in three seasons. The Broncos finished tied with the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers for the AFC West division title. However, the Broncos won the tiebreakers over both teams based on record against common opponents (5–5 to the Raiders' and Chargers' 4–6), thus clinching their first playoff berth and division title since 2005.[6]

Injuries[edit]

Guard Chris Kuper suffered a broken leg during the first quarter, and was placed on injured reserve the following day (January 2).[39]

Postseason[edit]

AFC Wild Card Playoffs: vs. #5 Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

Main article: 3:16 Game
AFC Wild Card Playoffs: (#5) Pittsburgh Steelers at (#4) Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 OT Total
Steelers 6 0 7 10 0 23
Broncos 0 20 0 3 6 29

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter
  • PIT – 11:14 Shaun Suisham 45-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 53 yards, 3:46. (PIT 3–0)
  • PIT – 0:23 Shaun Suisham 38-yard FG. Drive: 12 plays, 47 yards, 5:50. (PIT 6–0)
Second quarter
  • DEN – 13:24 Eddie Royal 30-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards, 1:59. (DEN 7–6)
  • DEN – 10:36 Tim Tebow 8-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 73 yards, 2:18. (DEN 14–6)
  • DEN – 7:30 Matt Prater 20-yard FG. Drive: 4 plays, 16 yards, 1:44. (DEN 17–6)
  • DEN – 1:05 Matt Prater 28-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 59 yards, 4:04. (DEN 20–6)
Third quarter
  • PIT – 4:29 Mike Wallace 1-yard TD run, Shaun Suisham kick. Drive: 11 plays, 87 yards, 5:56. (DEN 20–13)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 13:10 Matt Prater 35-yard FG. Drive: 12 plays, 63 yards, 6:19. (DEN 23–13)
  • PIT – 9:59 Shaun Suisham 37-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 61 yards, 3:11. (DEN 23–16)
  • PIT – 3:48 Jerricho Cotchery 31-yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger, Shaun Suisham kick. Drive: 7 plays, 55 yards, 3:47. (tied 23–23)
Overtime
  • DEN – 14:49 Demaryius Thomas 80-yard TD pass from Tim Tebow. Drive: 1 play, 80 yards, 0:11.
Top passers
  • PIT – Ben Roethlisberger: 22/40, 289 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 10/21, 316 yards, 2 TD
Top rushers
Top receivers
Top tacklers

The Broncos opened the 2011–12 NFL Playoffs at home with a Wild Card matchup against the #5 seed Pittsburgh Steelers, the Broncos' first playoff game since 2005. The only points of the first quarter came from the Steelers, with field goals of 45 and 38 yards by placekicker Shaun Suisham. The Broncos reeled off 20 unanswered points in the second quarter, with quarterback Tim Tebow throwing a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eddie Royal, then scrambling for an 8-yard touchdown run, followed by field goals of 20 and 28 yards by placekicker Matt Prater. A 1-yard touchdown run by Steelers' wide receiver Mike Wallace on an end-around was the only scoring play of the third quarter. The Broncos added to their lead early in the fourth quarter, with a 35-yard field goal by Prater. The Steelers countered with a 37-yard field goal by Suisham. On the Broncos' following possession, running back Willis McGahee fumbled, and the Steelers subsequently tied the game with a 7-play, 55-yard drive, culminating with a 31-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. Each team traded punts on subsequent possessions, sending the game to overtime. The Broncos won the overtime coin toss, and on their first play, Tebow fired the game-winning 80-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.[103] It was not only the longest scoring play in NFL overtime playoff history, but Thomas also set a new Broncos' franchise record for receiving yards in a playoff game, with 204 yards.[104]

With the win, the Broncos advanced to face the New England Patriots in the Divisional round.

AFC Divisional Playoffs: at #1 New England Patriots[edit]

AFC Divisional Playoffs: (#4) Denver Broncos at (#1) New England Patriots – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 7 3 0 10
Patriots 14 21 7 3 45

at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

  • Date: January 14, 2012
  • Game time: 8:00 p.m. EST/6:00 p.m. MST
  • Game weather: 24 °F (−4 °C), partly cloudy and cold
  • Game attendance: 68,756
  • Referee: Gene Steratore
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Phil Simms (color commentator) and Steve Tasker (sideline reporter)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • DEN – 15:00 Willis McGahee 5-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 24 yards, 2:06. (NE 14–7)
  • NE – 7:49 Rob Gronkowski 12-yard TD pass from Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 8 plays, 52 yards, 3:35. (NE 21–7)
  • NE – 2:06 Deion Branch 61-yard TD pass from Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 2 plays, 72 yards, 0:30. (NE 28–7)
  • NE – 0:10 Rob Gronkowski 19-yard TD pass from Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 5 plays, 58 yards, 1:04. (NE 35–7)
Third quarter
  • NE – 11:53 Aaron Hernandez 17-yard TD pass from Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 4 plays, 44 yards, 1:40. (NE 42–7)
  • DEN – 2:19 Matt Prater 41-yard FG. Drive: 14 plays, 58 yards, 6:16. (NE 42–10)
Fourth quarter
  • NE – 12:44 Stephen Gostkowski 20-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 78 yards, 4:35. (NE 45–10)
Top passers
  • DEN – Tim Tebow: 9/26, 136 yards
  • NE – Tom Brady: 26/34, 363 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 17 rushes, 76 yards, 1 TD
  • NE – Aaron Hernandez: 5 rushes, 61 yards
Top receivers
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 6 receptions, 93 yards
  • NE – Rob Gronkowski: 10 receptions, 145 yards, 3 TD
Top tacklers

Following their overtime win over the Steelers in the Wild Card round of the 2011–12 NFL Playoffs, the Broncos traveled to Foxborough, Massachusetts to face the #1 seed New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, in the Divisional round. the Patriots jumped out to a 14–0 lead in the first quarter, with quarterback Tom Brady throwing a pair of touchdown passes—a 7-yarder to wide receiver Wes Welker and a 10-yarder to tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Broncos responded at the beginning of the second quarter, with running back Willis McGahee rushing for a 5-yard touchdown, but the Patriots subsequently added to lead, with Brady throwing three more touchdown passes—a 12-yarder to Gronkowski, a 61-yarder to wide receiver Deion Branch followed by a 19-yarder to Gronkowski just before halftime. The Patriots continued their onslaught in the third quarter, with a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez. A 41-yard field goal by Broncos' placekicker Matt Prater made the score 42–10. The Patriots added to their lead early in the fourth quarter, with a 20-yard field goal by placekicker Stephen Gostkowski, which would be the last scoring play of the game by either team, sealing the win for New England.[105]

With the loss, the Broncos' 2011 season ended with an overall record of 9–9.

Final standings[edit]

AFC West
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(4) Denver Broncos 8 8 0 .500 3–3 6–6 309 390 L3
San Diego Chargers 8 8 0 .500 3–3 7–5 406 377 W1
Oakland Raiders 8 8 0 .500 3–3 6–6 333 395 L1
Kansas City Chiefs 7 9 0 .438 3–3 4–8 212 338 W1

Statistics[edit]

Team leaders[edit]

Category Player(s) Value
Passing yards Tim Tebow 1,729
Passing touchdowns Tim Tebow 12
Rushing yards Willis McGahee 1199
Rushing touchdowns Tim Tebow 6
Receiving yards Eric Decker 612
Receiving touchdowns Eric Decker 8
Points Matt Prater 87
Kickoff return yards Quan Cosby 457
Punt return yards Quan Cosby 269
Tackles Wesley Woodyard 97
Sacks Von Miller 11.5
Forced fumbles D. J. Williams
Wesley Woodyard
3
Interceptions André Goodman
Champ Bailey
2

Source for this section: Denver Broncos' official website.[106]

League rankings[edit]

Offense
Category Value NFL rank
Total yards 316.6 YPG 23rd
Rushing yards 164.5 YPG 1st
Passing yards 152.1 YPG 31st
Yards per play 5 25th
Scoring 19.3 PPG 25th
Pass completions 217/429 (.506) 32nd
Third downs 66/214 (.308) 30th
Possession average 29:43 21st
Turnover differential −12 T-26th
Defense
Category Value NFL rank
Total yards 357.8 YPG 13th
Rushing yards 126.3 YPG 22nd
Passing yards 231.5 YPG 15th
Yards per play 5.4 16th
Scoring 24.4 PPG 24th
Pass completions 333/534 (.624) 23rd
Third downs 73/218 (.335) 27th
Sacks 41 T-10th
Forced fumbles 11 T-26th
Interceptions 9 T-28th
Special teams
Category Value NFL rank
Kickoff returns 24.5 YPR 11th
Punt returns 12.7 YPR 3rd
Gross punting 47.4 YPP 7th
Net punting 41.6 YPP 6th
Kickoff coverage 24.6 YPR 20th
Punt coverage 11.5 YPR 13th

Source for this section: NFL.com.[107]

Awards and honors[edit]

Recipient Award(s)
Champ Bailey Named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster[108]
Ryan Clady Named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster[108]
Brian Dawkins Named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster[108]
Eric Decker Named to the USA Football All Fundamentals Team[109]
Elvis Dumervil Named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster[108]
Orlando Franklin Named to the Football Outsiders All-Rookie Team[110]
Chris Harris Named to the Football Outsiders All-Rookie Team[110]
Named to the Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team[111]
Willis McGahee Week 9: FedEx Ground Player of the Week[112]
Named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster[108]
Von Miller First half of the season: Sports Illustrated Defensive Rookie of the Year.[113]
Week 10: AFC Defensive Player of the Week[114]
November: Defensive Rookie of the Month[115]
Named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster[108]
Named to the Football Outsiders All-Rookie Team[110]
Voted to The Associated Press 2011 NFL All-Pro Team[116]
Named to the Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team[111]
2011 season: Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year[117]
Matt Prater Week 14: AFC Special Teams Player of the Week[118]
December: AFC Special Teams Player of the Month[119]
Eddie Royal Week 9: AFC Special Teams Player of the Week[120]
Tim Tebow Week 14: GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year (come-from-behind/overtime win)[117]
Demaryius Thomas Best Moment at 2012 ESPY Awards (80-yard touchdown pass from Tim Tebow in the Wild Card playoffs)[121]
Wesley Woodyard Named as the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year[122]
Team Week 7: GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week (come-from-behind/overtime win)[123]
Week 10: GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week (touchdown pass from Tim Tebow to Eric Decker)[124]
Week 11: GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week (come-from-behind win),[125]
Week 12: GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week (come-from-behind/overtime win)[126]
Week 14: GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week (come-from-behind/overtime win)[127]

Other news and notes[edit]

  • This season was the last in which the Broncos wore their navy blue jerseys as their primary home jersey. The team used the alternate orange jerseys for games in Weeks 1 (vs. the Oakland Raiders) and 8 (vs. the Detroit Lions).[85][92] Beginning with the 2012 season, the Broncos announced that the orange jerseys — the team's alternate colored jersey since 2002 — will become the primary home jersey, while the navy blue jerseys, which had been the team's primary home jersey since their introduction in 1997, will switch to alternate designation. The change was made due to overwhelming popularity with fans, who clamored for the team to return to wearing orange at home, which was the team's predominant home jersey color from 1962–1996.[129][130]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Broncos traded their original second-round selection (No. 36 overall) to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the 49ers' second- (No. 45 overall), fourth- (No. 108 overall) and fifth- (No. 141 overall; later traded to the Green Bay Packers) round selections.[23]
  2. ^ The Broncos acquired this second-round selection as part of an April 2010 trade that sent wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins.[25]
  3. ^ a b The Broncos traded their original fourth-round selection (No. 99 overall) to the New England Patriots in exchange for the Patriots' sixth-round selection (No. 189 overall) and running back Laurence Maroney in September 2010.[27]
  4. ^ a b c d The Broncos acquired this fourth-round selection and this seventh-round selection in a trade that sent a fifth-round selection (No. 141 overall; previously acquired from the San Francisco 49ers) and a sixth-round selection (No. 186 overall; previously acquired along with tight end Dan Gronkowski in a September 2010 trade that sent cornerback Alphonso Smith and the team's original seventh-round selection — No. 205 overall — to the Detroit Lions) to the Green Bay Packers.[28][29]
  5. ^ The Broncos traded their original fifth-round selection (No. 135 overall) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for two 2010 seventh-round selections.[31]
  6. ^ The Broncos traded their original sixth-round selection (No. 168 overall), a 2012 conditional draft selection and fullback Peyton Hillis to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for quarterback Brady Quinn in March 2010.[32]
  7. ^ Compensatory selection.[35]
  8. ^ a b Simulcast on KTVD.
  9. ^ a b Simulcast on KWGN-TV.
  10. ^ a b c d The Week 13 game at Minnesota, originally scheduled at 2:05 p.m. MST on CBS, was changed to 11:00 a.m. MST, and shifted from CBS to Fox.[84]

References[edit]

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