2012 Denver Broncos season

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2012 Denver Broncos season
Head coach John Fox
General manager John Elway
Owner Pat Bowlen
Home field Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Local radio 850 KOA (AM)
Results
Record 13–3
Division place 1st AFC West
Playoff finish Lost Divisional Playoffs (Ravens) 38–35 (2OT)
Pro Bowlers
AP All-Pros
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 2011 2013

The 2012 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 43rd season in the National Football League, the 53rd overall and the second under head coach John Fox. The offseason was dominated by the signing of former Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning on March 20, leading to the team trading incumbent quarterback Tim Tebow and a seventh-round selection to the New York Jets in exchange for two draft selections. While the Broncos did not have a first-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the team selected Derek Wolfe as the team's first pick in the second round of the draft.

Throughout the season, Peyton Manning set numerous individual, franchise and league records, including 300-yard passing games and game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. Another team record that was set during the season was linebacker Von Miller's 18.5 quarterback sacks.

After a 2–3 start to the season, the Broncos finished the regular season on an eleven-game winning streak, and with a record of 13–3, the team exceeded their win total from the previous two seasons combined. The Broncos won their second consecutive AFC West division title, as well as earning a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, but were narrowly defeated by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional round by a double-overtime score of 38–35.

Coaching and front-office changes[edit]

  • January 17: Matt Russell, who served as the team's director of college scouting during the past three seasons, was promoted to director of player personnel.[1] That same day, the Broncos announced that Rich Tuten, the team's strength and conditioning coach since 1995, will not return for the 2012 season.[2]
  • May 7: The Broncos parted ways with general manager Brian Xanders after four seasons. The team never did announce a replacement.[6]
  • May 14: Wayne Nunnely, who served as the team's defensive line coach during the past three seasons, retired. His position was filled by Jay Rodgers, who served as a coaching assistant during the past three seasons.[7]
  • May 29: Cory Undlin was hired as the new defensive quality control coach — a position previously held by Jay Rodgers. Undlin previously worked on Jack Del Rio's staff with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the previous three seasons.[8]

Roster changes[edit]

Free agents[edit]

Position Player Tag 2012 Team Notes
RB Lance Ball ERFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 13,[9] re-signed March 20[10]
LS David Binn UFA None
DT Brodrick Bunkley UFA New Orleans Saints signed with the Saints on March 21[11]
OT Chris Clark ERFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 13,[9] re-signed April 6[10]
P Britton Colquitt ERFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 13,[9] re-signed April 4[12]
S Brian Dawkins UFA None retired on April 23[13]
TE Daniel Fells UFA None
LB Mario Haggan UFA St. Louis Rams signed with the Rams on May 15[14]
DE Derrick Harvey UFA None
C/G Russ Hochstein UFA Kansas City Chiefs signed with the Chiefs on September 26[15]
DE Jason Hunter UFA None re-signed March 29,[16] placed on injured reserve August 27[17]
FB Spencer Larsen UFA None
DT Ryan McBean RFA Baltimore Ravens assigned tender on March 13,[9] tender rescinded April 16,[18]
signed with the Ravens on May 7[19]
LB Joe Mays UFA Denver Broncos re-signed March 18,[20] placed on injured reserve October 30[21]
PK Matt Prater FT Denver Broncos assigned franchise tag on March 5,[22] signed 4-year contract on July 2[23]
QB Brady Quinn UFA Kansas City Chiefs signed with the Chiefs on March 18[24]
G Manny Ramirez UFA Denver Broncos re-signed March 22[25]
TE Dante Rosario UFA San Diego Chargers signed with the Chargers on March 21[26]
WR Eddie Royal UFA San Diego Chargers signed with the Chargers on March 15[27]
DT Marcus Thomas UFA None
CB Jonathan Wilhite UFA None
WR Matthew Willis RFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 13,[9] re-signed April 16[28]
LB Wesley Woodyard UFA Denver Broncos re-signed March 22[25]

Signings[edit]

Position Player 2011 team Notes
S Mike Adams Cleveland Browns signed March 15,[29] on final roster
DT Justin Bannan St. Louis Rams signed April 11,[30] on final roster
LB Keith Brooking Dallas Cowboys signed August 6,[31] on final roster
WR Andre Caldwell Cincinnati Bengals signed March 22,[25] on final roster
G C. J. Davis Carolina Panthers signed February 15,[32] waived September 11,[33]
assigned to the practice squad on September 13[34]
promoted to active roster September 18,[35] on final roster
TE Joel Dreessen Houston Texans signed March 23,[36] on final roster
CB Drayton Florence Buffalo Bills signed May 10,[37] released August 31[38]
QB Caleb Hanie Chicago Bears signed March 24,[39] released September 8,[40]
re-signed September 11,[33] on final roster
RB Jacob Hester San Diego Chargers signed November 26,[41] on final roster
WR Jason Hill Jacksonville Jaguars signed February 15,[32] released August 31[38]
WR/RS Trindon Holliday Houston Texans claimed off waivers from the Texans on October 11,[42] on final roster
WR Cameron Kenney Seattle Seahawks signed August 1,[43] waived August 27[44]
C Dan Koppen New England Patriots signed September 11,[33] on final roster
S Jim Leonhard New York Jets signed August 4,[45] on final roster
QB Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts signed to a five-year contract on March 20,[46] on final roster
LB Mike Mohamed Practice squad player promoted to the active roster on September 29,[47] waived October 1[48]
CB Tracy Porter New Orleans Saints signed March 22,[49] on final roster
DT Sealver Siliga Practice squad player promoted to the active roster on September 8,[40] on final roster
WR Brandon Stokley New York Giants signed April 16,[50] on final roster
TE Jacob Tamme Indianapolis Colts signed March 23,[51] on final roster
Indicates that the player was a free agent at the end of his respective team's 2011 season.

Signing of Peyton Manning[edit]

On March 20, 2012, the Broncos reached an agreement with former Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning on a five-year, $96 million contract. Manning missed the entire 2011 season following multiple neck surgeries, and was released by the Colts two weeks earlier on March 7, one day before the Colts were due to pay him a $28 million roster bonus.[52] The Seattle Seahawks,[53] Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans were also in pursuit of the former Colts' quarterback; however, Manning informed Broncos' personnel to begin contract negotiations with the team on March 19,[54] and he was introduced as the Broncos' new quarterback in a press conference at the team's headquarters in Dove Valley the following day.[55]

The language of the contract contains the following conditions: Manning did not suffer a setback in his recovery from neck surgery prior to the end of the 2012 season; therefore, the Broncos owed Manning $18 million for the 2012 season. Manning passed a physical exam at the beginning of the 2013 league year,[56] and the Broncos will owe Manning $40 million through the 2014 season. The remaining years of the contract ($19 million apiece for 2015 and 2016) are dependent on Manning passing a physical exam prior to each season.[57]

Departures[edit]

Position Player Notes
CB André Goodman released April 13[58]
LB Brian Iwuh retired April 17[59]
LS Lonie Paxton released August 27[44]

Trades[edit]

Draft[edit]

Main article: 2012 NFL draft
2012 Denver Broncos Draft
Round Selection Player Position College Notes Trades
1 None [dr 1]
2 36 Derek Wolfe DT Cincinnati signed May 21[62]
57 Brock Osweiler QB Arizona State signed July 24[63]
3 67 Ronnie Hillman RB San Diego State signed July 24[63] [dr 2] [dr 3] [dr 4]
4 101 Omar Bolden CB Arizona State signed May 17[64]
108 Philip Blake C Baylor signed June 1,[65]
placed on injured reserve September 18[35]
5 137 Malik Jackson DE Tennessee signed May 18[66] [dr 5] [dr 6]
6 188 Danny Trevathan LB Kentucky signed May 22[67] [dr 7] [dr 8]
7 None
Draft trades
  1. ^ The Broncos traded their original first-round selection (No. 25 overall) to the New England Patriots in exchange for the Patriots' first- and fourth-round selections — Nos. 31 and 126 overall. The Broncos later traded both selections to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for the Buccaneers' second- and fourth-round selections (Nos. 36 and 101 overall).[68]
  2. ^ The Broncos traded their original third- and fourth-round selections (Nos. 87 and 120 overall) to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the Browns' third-round selection (No. 67 overall).[69]
  3. ^ See draft note 1.
  4. ^ The Broncos traded quarterback Tim Tebow and their seventh-round selection (No. 232 overall) to the New York Jets in exchange for the Jets' fourth- and sixth-round selections (Nos. 108 and 188 overall).[60]
  5. ^ The Broncos traded their original fifth-round selection (No. 160 overall) and a 2011 sixth-round selection to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for quarterback Brady Quinn.[70]
  6. ^ The Broncos acquired this fifth-round selection (No. 137 overall) in a trade that sent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to the St. Louis Rams.[71] The Rams originally sent a sixth-round selection to the Broncos in October 2011, however, 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 during the 2011 season.[72]
  7. ^ The Broncos traded their original sixth-round selection (No. 194 overall) to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for linebacker Joe Mays.[73] The Broncos originally traded running back J. J. Arrington to the Eagles in July 2010, with the condition that if Arrington did not make the Eagles' 53-man roster at the start of the 2010 season, the Broncos would instead send a 2012 sixth-round selection to the Eagles (Arrington was indeed released by the Eagles shortly before the 2010 season).[74]
  8. ^ See draft note 4.

Undrafted free agents[edit]

All undrafted free agents were signed just after the 2012 NFL Draft concluded on April 28,[75] unless noted otherwise.

Position Player College Notes
DE Jamie Blatnick Oklahoma State waived August 31,[38]
assigned to practice squad September 11,[76]
released from practice squad October 13[77]
LS Aaron Brewer San Diego State on final roster
LB Elliot Coffey Baylor waived August 27[44]
LB Jerry Franklin Arkansas waived August 31[38]
S Duke Ihenacho San Jose State waived August 31,[38]
assigned to practice squad September 1,[78]
promoted to active roster September 29,[47]
waived October 11,[42]
assigned to practice squad October 13,[77]
promoted to active roster October 30,[21]
waived November 13[79]
LB Steven Johnson Kansas on final roster
CB Coryell Judie Texas A&M waived July 25[80]
TE Anthony Miller California waived August 27[44]
WR Eric Page Toledo waived July 25[80]
OT Mike Remmers Oregon State waived August 27[44]
S Anthony Perkins Colorado signed July 28,[81] waived August 27[44]
WR Gerell Robinson Arizona State waived August 31[38]
G Wayne Tribue Temple waived August 31,[38]
assigned to practice squad September 1,[78]
released from practice squad September 11[33]
G Austin Wuebbels Missouri waived August 27[44]

Suspensions[edit]

  • March 9: Linebacker D. J. Williams, defensive tackle Ryan McBean and tight end Virgil Green were each suspended by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Williams and McBean were each suspended for the first six games of the 2012 season, while Green was given a four-game suspension. Williams and McBean each challenged the suspensions and took legal action against the NFL.[82] McBean later signed with the Baltimore Ravens on May 7, three weeks after his restricted free agent tender was rescinded by the Broncos.[19] On August 27, a federal appeals court upheld Williams' suspension,[83] and on October 5, Williams was suspended for an additional three games by the NFL following his August conviction for a driving under the influence arrest in November 2010.[84] Green was reinstated to the active roster on October 1,[48] while Williams was reinstated to the active roster on November 17, the latter in time for the team's Week 11 game vs. the San Diego Chargers.[85]

Injuries[edit]

  • August 14: Guard Chris Kuper suffered a broken forearm during practice. He not only missed the remainder of the preseason, but also missed the first five games of the regular season.[88][89] Also on August 14, defensive end Jason Hunter suffered torn triceps, and was initially expected to miss at least two months,[90] but was placed on injured reserve on August 27.[17]
  • October 1: Center J. D. Walton was placed on injured reserve, after suffering a dislocated ankle during the team's Week 4 win over the Oakland Raiders the previous day.[91]
  • November 21: Running back Willis McGahee was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list, two days after suffering a ruptured MCL and compression fracture in his right knee, during the team's Week 11 win over the San Diego Chargers. Under NFL rules, McGahee became eligible to return to practice on January 2, 2013 — three days after the regular season finale, and would have been eligible to return for the AFC championship game on January 20, had the Broncos made it that far into the postseason.[92]
  • Cornerback Tracy Porter missed more than half of the season, after experiencing aftereffects from a seizure that he suffered during the preseason. Porter began experiencing symptoms prior to the team's Week 6 game against the San Diego Chargers, and returned to practice on a limited basis over the next several weeks.[93] Porter returned to game action against the Cleveland Browns in Week 16, only to suffer a concussion and miss the Week 17 regular season finale and the playoffs.[94]

Staff[edit]

2012 Denver Broncos staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

Final roster[edit]

2012 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, 9 Practice squad

Schedule[edit]

Preseason[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
1 August 9 at Chicago Bears W 31–3 1–0 Soldier Field Recap
2 August 18 Seattle Seahawks L 10–30 1–1 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
3 August 26 San Francisco 49ers L 24–29 1–2 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
4 August 30 at Arizona Cardinals W 16–13 2–2 University of Phoenix Stadium Recap

Regular season[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
1 September 9 Pittsburgh Steelers W 31–19 1–0 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
2 September 17 at Atlanta Falcons L 21–27 1–1 Georgia Dome Recap
3 September 23 Houston Texans L 25–31 1–2 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
4 September 30 Oakland Raiders W 37–6 2–2 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
5 October 7 at New England Patriots L 21–31 2–3 Gillette Stadium Recap
6 October 15 at San Diego Chargers W 35–24 3–3 Qualcomm Stadium Recap
7 Bye
8 October 28 New Orleans Saints W 34–14 4–3 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
9 November 4 at Cincinnati Bengals W 31–23 5–3 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
10 November 11 at Carolina Panthers W 36–14 6–3 Bank of America Stadium Recap
11 November 18 San Diego Chargers W 30–23 7–3 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
12 November 25 at Kansas City Chiefs W 17–9 8–3 Arrowhead Stadium Recap
13 December 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 31–23 9–3 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
14 December 6 at Oakland Raiders W 26–13 10–3 O.co Coliseum Recap
15 December 16 at Baltimore Ravens W 34–17 11–3 M&T Bank Stadium Recap
16 December 23 Cleveland Browns W 34–12 12–3 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
17 December 30 Kansas City Chiefs W 38–3 13–3 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Postseason[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
Wild Card First-round bye
Divisional January 12, 2013 Baltimore Ravens (4) L 35–38 (2OT) 0–1 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap

Game summaries[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Week 1: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

Week One: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 10 3 6 19
Broncos 0 7 7 17 31

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter

No scoring

Second quarter
Third quarter
  • PIT – 6:05 Shaun Suisham 35-yard FG. Drive: 16 plays, 64 yards, 8:55. (PIT 13–7)
  • DEN – 5:29 Demaryius Thomas 71-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 2 plays, 80 yards, 0:36. (DEN 14–13)
Fourth quarter
  • PIT – 14:11 Mike Wallace 3-yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger, two-point pass failed. Drive: 14 plays, 80 yards, 6:18. (PIT 19–14)
  • DEN – 9:23 Jacob Tamme 1-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Willis McGahee received pass from Peyton Manning for a two-point conversion. Drive: 10 plays, 80 yards, 4:48. (DEN 22–19)
  • DEN – 3:00 Matt Prater 26-yard FG. Drive: 12 plays, 55 yards, 5:18. (DEN 25–19)
  • DEN – 1:58 Tracy Porter 43-yard interception return for a TD, two-point run failed. (DEN 31–19)
Top passers
  • PIT – Ben Roethlisberger: 22/20, 245 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 19/26, 253 yards, 2 TD
Top rushers
  • PIT – Jonathan Dwyer: 9 rushes, 43 yards
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 16 rushes, 64 yards
Top receivers
  • PIT – Antonio Brown: 4 receptions, 74 yards
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 5 receptions, 110 yards
Top tacklers

The Broncos kicked off their 2012 season at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, in a rematch of their 2011 Wild Card playoff game. After a scoreless first quarter, the Steelers grabbed the lead, with a 21-yard field goal by placekicker Shaun Suisham. The Broncos responded, with running back Knowshon Moreno rushing for a 7-yard touchdown, but the Steelers countered, with a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to tight end Heath Miller just before halftime. In the third quarter, the Steelers added to their lead, with a 35-yard field goal by Suisham. The Broncos grabbed the lead, when quarterback Peyton Manning threw his 400th career touchdown pass—a 71-yarder to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, but the Steelers responded early in the fourth quarter, when Roethlisberger threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Wallace (with a failed two-point conversion attempt). With 9:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Broncos claimed the lead for good, when Manning threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Tamme (coupled with running back Willis McGahee receiving a pass from Manning for a two-point conversion), then added to their lead with a 26-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater, followed by cornerback Tracy Porter returning an interception off Roethlisberger 43 yards for a touchdown (with a failed two-point conversion attempt).[95]

Week 2: at Atlanta Falcons[edit]

Week Two: Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 7 0 14 21
Falcons 10 10 7 0 27

at Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

Game information
First quarter
  • ATL – 13:20 Michael Turner 1-yard TD run, Matt Bryant kick. Drive: 3 plays, 1 yard, 0:53. (ATL 7–0)
  • ATL – 9:46 Matt Bryant 37-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 24 yards, 2:04. (ATL 10–0)
Second quarter
  • ATL – 10:05 Matt Bryant 42-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 59 yards, 4:57. (ATL 13–0)
  • ATL – 4:39 Tony Gonzalez 1-yard TD pass from Matt Ryan, Matt Bryant kick. Drive: 7 plays, 73 yards, 4:04. (ATL 20–0)
  • DEN – 0:06 Demaryius Thomas 17-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 13 plays, 80 yards, 4:33. (ATL 20–7)
Third quarter
  • ATL – 7:08 Roddy White 4-yard TD pass from Matt Ryan, Matt Bryant kick. Drive: 6 plays, 64 yards, 3:17. (ATL 27–7)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 11:48 Willis McGahee 2-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 12 plays, 88 yards, 5:02. (ATL 27–14)
  • DEN – 3:25 Willis McGahee 2-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 9 plays, 45 yards, 2:48. (ATL 27–21)
Top passers
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 24/37, 241 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
  • ATL – Matt Ryan: 24/36, 219 yards, 2 TD
Top rushers
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 22 rushes, 113 yards, 2 TD
  • ATL – Michael Turner: 17 rushes, 42 yards, 1 TD
Top receivers
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 8 receptions, 78 yards, 1 TD
  • ATL – Roddy White: 8 receptions, 102 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Following their season-opening win over the Steelers, the Broncos traveled to the Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. The Falcons converted three Broncos' turnovers into a 20–0 lead, with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Michael Turner, followed by field goals of 37 and 42 yards by placekicker Matt Bryant—the latter in the second quarter—and a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan to tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Broncos got on the scoreboard just before halftime, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The Falcons responded in the third quarter, with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to wide receiver Roddy White. The Broncos tried to rally in the fourth quarter, with running back Willis McGahee rushing for a pair of 2-yard touchdowns. However, the Falcons would run out the clock.[96]

Week 3: vs. Houston Texans[edit]

Week Three: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Texans 7 14 10 0 31
Broncos 5 6 0 14 25

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • HOU – 10:47 Arian Foster 3-yard TD pass from Matt Schaub, Shayne Graham kick. Drive: 14 plays, 97 yards, 7:11. (HOU 14–5)
  • HOU – 8:54 Kevin Walter 52-yard TD pass from Matt Schaub, Shayne Graham kick. Drive: 2 plays, 57 yards, 0:46. (HOU 21–5)
  • DEN – 5:44 Matt Prater 23-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 75 yards, 3:10. (HOU 21–8)
  • DEN – 0:01 Matt Prater 53-yard FG. Drive: 5 plays, 25 yards, 0:33. (HOU 21–11)
Third quarter
  • HOU – 9:11 Shayne Graham 41-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 39 yards, 3:45. (HOU 24–11)
  • HOU – 1:33 Owen Daniels 14-yard TD pass from Matt Schaub, Shayne Graham kick. Drive: 5 plays, 72 yards, 2:19. (HOU 31–11)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 9:49 Brandon Stokley 38-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 2 plays, 49 yards, 0:31. (HOU 31–18)
  • DEN – 3:00 Joel Dreessen 6-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 16 plays, 74 yards, 5:08. (HOU 31–25)
Top passers
  • HOU – Matt Schaub: 17/30, 290 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 26/52, 330 yards, 2 TD
Top rushers
  • HOU – Arian Foster: 25 rushes, 105 yards
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 12 rushes, 36 yards
Top receivers
  • HOU – Kevin Walter: 3 receptions, 73 yards, 1 TD
  • DEN – Eric Decker: 8 receptions, 136 yards
Top tacklers

Hoping to rebound from their Monday Night loss in Atlanta, the Broncos returned home for an AFC duel with the Houston Texans. The Broncos jumped out to a 5–0 lead in the first quarter, with defensive end Elvis Dumervil sacking Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub in the end zone for a safety, followed by a 32-yard field goal placekicker Matt Prater. However, the Texans would reel off 21 unanswered points, with Schaub throwing three touchdown passes—a 60-yarder to wide receiver Andre Johnson, followed in the second quarter by a 3-yarder to running back Arian Foster and a 52-yarder to wide receiver Kevin Walter. The Broncos narrowed the Texans' lead to 21–11 at halftime, with a pair of field goals by Prater—from 23 and 53 yards. The Texans increased their lead in the third quarter, with a 41-yard field goal by placekicker Shayne Graham, followed by a 14-yard touchdown pass from Schaub to tight end Owen Daniels. Trailing 31–11 with 10:20 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Broncos tried to rally, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a pair of touchdown passes—a 38-yarder to wide receiver Brandon Stokley and a 6-yarder to tight end Joel Dreessen to narrow Houston's lead to 31–25 with three minutes remaining. After forcing a Texans' punt, the Broncos got the football back with 20 seconds remaining, but the Texans' defense stood their ground.[97]

Notes

Former wide receiver Rod Smith, who played with the Broncos from 1994–2007, was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame during halftime. Smith is the Broncos' franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.[98]

Week 4: vs. Oakland Raiders[edit]

Week Four: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 3 3 0 0 6
Broncos 10 0 21 6 37

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: September 30
  • Game time: 2:05 p.m. MDT
  • Game weather: 72 °F (22 °C), mostly sunny
  • Game attendance: 76,787
  • Referee: Pete Morelli
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
  • DEN – 10:32 Joel Dreessen 22-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards, 4:28. (DEN 7–0)
  • OAK – 6:47 Sebastian Janikowski 38-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 60 yards, 3:45. (DEN 7–3)
  • DEN – 0:00 Matt Prater 21-yard FG. Drive: 13 plays, 77 yards, 6:47. (DEN 10–3)
Second quarter
  • OAK – 0:22 Sebastian Janikowski 24-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 58 yards, 2:52. (DEN 10–6)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 10:08 Eric Decker 17-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 9 plays, 79 yards, 3:51. (DEN 17–6)
  • DEN – 7:30 Willis McGahee 2-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 18 yards, 1:47. (DEN 24–6)
  • DEN – 3:46 Lance Ball 14-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 5 plays, 63 yards, 1:36. (DEN 31–6)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 12:56 Matt Prater 43-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 44 yards, 4:49. (DEN 34–6)
  • DEN – 3:43 Matt Prater 53-yard FG. Drive: 12 plays, 41 yards, 7:17. (DEN 37–6)
Top passers
  • OAK – Carson Palmer: 19/34, 202 yards
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 30/38, 338 yards, 3 TD
Top rushers
  • OAK – Darren McFadden: 13 rushes, 34 yards
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 19 rushes, 112 yards, 1 TD
Top receivers
Top tacklers

Hoping to snap a two-game losing streak, the Broncos remained on home ground for an AFC West duel against the Oakland Raiders. The Broncos grabbed the early lead, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen. The Raiders responded, with a 38-yard field goal by placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, but the Broncos countered, with a 21-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater at the end of the first quarter. A 24-yard field goal by Janikowski just before halftime was the only scoring play of the second quarter. The Broncos' offense exploded in the third quarter, with Manning connecting on a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker, followed by a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Willis McGahee and a 14-yard touchdown pass from Manning to running back Lance Ball. Prater added field goals of 43 and 53 yards in the fourth quarter.[99]

Notes

With the win, the Broncos snapped a four-game home losing streak against the Raiders.

Injuries

Center J. D. Walton suffered a dislocated ankle late in the second quarter, and was placed on the season-ending injured reserve the following day (October 1).[91]

Week 5: at New England Patriots[edit]

Week Five: Denver Broncos at New England Patriots – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 7 7 7 21
Patriots 7 10 14 0 31

at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

  • Date: October 7
  • Game time: 4:25 p.m. EDT/2:25 p.m. MDT
  • Game weather: 54 °F (12 °C), showers
  • Game attendance: 68,756
  • Referee: Gene Steratore
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • DEN – 14:05 Joel Dreessen 1-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 10 plays, 80 yards, 4:03. (tied 7–7)
  • NE – 7:57 Shane Vereen 1-yard TD run, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 14 plays, 80 yards, 6:08. (NE 14–7)
  • NE – 0:02 Stephen Gostkowski 23-yard FG. Drive: 16 plays, 93 yards, 5:01. (NE 17–7)
Third quarter
  • NE – 5:00 Tom Brady 1-yard TD run, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 16 plays, 80 yards, 6:24. (NE 24–7)
  • NE – 4:42 Stevan Ridley 8-yard TD run, Stephen Gostkowski kick. Drive: 1 play, 14 yards, 0:09. (NE 31–7)
  • DEN – 1:08 Eric Decker 2-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 10 plays, 90 yards, 3:34. (NE 31–14)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 6:43 Brandon Stokley 5-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 6 plays, 43 yards, 1:25. (NE 31–21)
Top passers
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 31/44, 345 yards, 3 TD
  • NE – Tom Brady: 23/31, 223 yards, 1 TD
Top rushers
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 14 rushes, 51 yards
  • NE – Stevan Ridley: 28 rushes, 151 yards
Top receivers
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 9 receptions, 188 yards
  • NE – Wes Welker: 13 receptions, 104 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Coming off their dominating win over the Raiders, the Broncos traveled to Foxborough, Massachusetts to face the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. This was the 13th meeting between quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady since 2001. The Patriots grabbed the early lead, with Brady connecting on an 8-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Wes Welker. The Broncos responded early in the second quarter, with Manning tossing a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen. However, the Patriots reeled off 24 unanswered points, with running back Shane Vereen rushing for a 1-yard touchdown, a 23-yard field goal by placekicker Stephen Gostkowski just before halftime, followed in the third quarter by Brady scoring a 1-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak and running back Stevan Ridley rushing for an 8-yard touchdown. The latter touchdown occurred after a Manning fumble deep in Broncos' territory. The Broncos responded, with Manning throwing a pair of touchdown passes — a 2-yarder to wide receiver Eric Decker, followed in the fourth quarter by a 5-yarder to wide receiver Brandon Stokley to close the gap to 31–21 with 6:43 remaining. Following a Patriots' fumble, the Broncos were attempting to rally, however, running back Willis McGahee fumbled the football at the Patriots' 14-yard line with 3:48 remaining, halting the Broncos' rally attempt. The Patriots subsequently ran out the clock.[100]

Week 6: at San Diego Chargers[edit]

Week Six: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 0 14 21 35
Chargers 10 14 0 0 24

at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

  • Date: October 15
  • Game time: 6:30 p.m. MDT/5:30 p.m. PDT
  • Game weather: 78 °F (26 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 68,604
  • Referee: Jeff Triplette
  • TV announcers (ESPN): Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Jon Gruden (color commentator) and Lisa Salters (sideline reporter)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
  • SD – 8:59 Nick Novak 32-yard FG. Drive: 4 plays, 4 yards, 0:56. (SD 3–0)
  • SD – 8:16 Antonio Gates 15-yard TD pass from Philip Rivers, Nick Novak kick. Drive: 2 plays, 19 yards, 0:40. (SD 10–0)
Second quarter
  • SD – 6:00 Quentin Jammer 80-yard interception return for a TD, Nick Novak kick. (SD 17–0)
  • SD – 0:24 Antonio Gates 11-yard TD pass from Philip Rivers, Nick Novak kick. Drive: 10 plays, 66 yards, 3:56. (SD 24–0)
Third quarter
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 13:33 Eric Decker 7-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 9 plays, 55 yards, 4:14. (SD 24–21)
  • DEN – 9:03 Brandon Stokley 21-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 50 yards, 2:08. (DEN 28–24)
  • DEN – 2:05 Chris Harris, Jr. 46-yard interception return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. (DEN 35–24)
Top passers
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 24/30, 309 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
  • SD – Philip Rivers: 25/41, 242 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT
Top rushers
Top receivers
  • DEN – Eric Decker: 6 receptions, 98 yards, 1 TD
  • SD – Antonio Gates: 6 receptions, 81 yards, 2 TD
Top tacklers

Hoping to rebound from their loss at New England, the Broncos traveled to Qualcomm Stadium for an AFC West duel with the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football. The Chargers jumped out to a 10–0 lead in the first quarter, with a 32-yard field goal by placekicker Nick Novak, followed by a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Philip Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates. Both scores came off Broncos' miscues on special teams—the former occurred after Trindon Holliday muffed a punt return, while the latter occurred after Omar Bolden coughed up the football on a kickoff return. The Broncos were attempting to narrow the Chargers' lead midway through the second quarter, but wide receiver Eric Decker stumbled near the Chargers' 30-yard line when it appeared that he was headed to the end zone for an easy touchdown, after receiving a 55-yard pass from quarterback Peyton Manning. Three plays later, Manning threw an interception that was returned by Chargers' cornerback Quentin Jammer 80 yards for a touchdown. The Chargers increased their lead to 24–0 just before halftime, with Rivers connecting on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Gates.[101]

The Broncos then staged one of the most memorable comebacks in Monday Night Football history. On the opening drive of the second half, Manning led the Broncos on an 8-play, 85-yard drive, culminating with a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. On the Chargers' next possession, Broncos' defensive end Elvis Dumervil forced a fumble off Rivers, and cornerback Tony Carter scooped up the football and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. After the Broncos' defense forced a three-and-out, Manning hooked up with Decker on a 7-yard touchdown pass to pull the Broncos within 24–21 early in the fourth quarter. On the Chargers' next possession, Carter picked off Rivers, and four plays later, Manning tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley to give the Broncos a 28–24 lead with 9:09 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Chargers were attempting to rally, but Rivers was intercepted by cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. with 6:54 remaining. However, the Broncos were forced to punt seven plays later, giving the Chargers' offense the football with four minutes remaining. The Chargers once again tried to rally, but six plays later, Harris stepped in front of another Rivers' pass, returning an interception 46 yards for a touchdown, sealing the win for the Broncos.[101]

Week 8: vs. New Orleans Saints[edit]

Week Eight: New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 0 7 0 7 14
Broncos 7 10 7 10 34

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: October 28
  • Game time: 6:20 p.m. MDT
  • Game weather: 59 °F (15 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 76,832
  • Referee: Mike Carey
  • TV announcers (NBC): Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color commentator) and Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • NO – 14:53 Darren Sproles 29-yard TD pass from Drew Brees, Garrett Hartley kick. Drive: 4 plays, 55 yards, 1:53. (tied 7–7)
  • DEN – 6:43 Eric Decker 13-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 5 plays, 56 yards, 2:17. (DEN 14–7)
  • DEN – 0:00 Matt Prater 33-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 72 yards, 4:24. (DEN 17–7)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 9:30 Demaryius Thomas 1-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 11 plays, 93 yards, 5:30. (DEN 24–7)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 14:54 Eric Decker 2-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 51 yards, 1:57. (DEN 31–7)
  • DEN – 5:27 Matt Prater 33-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 42 yards, 3:29. (DEN 34–7)
  • NO – 2:03 Jimmy Graham 18-yard TD pass from Drew Brees, Garrett Hartley kick. Drive: 13 plays, 80 yards, 3:24. (DEN 34–14)
Top passers
  • NO – Drew Brees: 22/42, 213 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 22/30, 305 yards, 3 TD
Top rushers
  • NO – Pierre Thomas: 8 rushes, 43 yards
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 23 rushes, 122 yards, 1 TD
Top receivers
  • NO – Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham: 5 receptions and 63 yards each (1 TD for Graham)
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 7 receptions, 137 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Coming off their miraculous comeback in San Diego and subsequent bye week, the Broncos returned home for an interconference duel against the New Orleans Saints. The Broncos grabbed the lead in the first quarter, with running back Willis McGahee rushing for a 1-yard touchdown. On the Broncos' next possession, McGahee committed a fumble, and the Saints responded early in the second quarter, with quarterback Drew Brees throwing his 300th career touchdown pass—a 29-yarder to running back Darren Sproles. On the Saints' next possession, Brees was intercepted by linebacker Wesley Woodyard, and the Broncos dominated the remainder of the game. Quarterback Peyton Manning tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker and placekicker Matt Prater nailed a 33-yard field goal to close out the first half. The Broncos increased their lead in the third quarter, with Manning connecting on a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, then pulled away in the fourth quarter, with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Decker and another 33-yard field goal by Prater. The Saints scored a late touchdown, with Brees connecting on an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Jimmy Graham, but the game had already been decided in the Broncos' favor.[102]

Notes

Linebacker Joe Mays suffered a fractured fibula on a kickoff return during the fourth quarter, and was placed on the season-ending injured reserve the following day (October 29).[21] Drew Brees surpassed John Elway for sixth on the NFL's all-time list for touchdown passes. However, Brees' personal record dropped to 0–7 in games played at Denver.[102]

Week 9: at Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

Week Nine: Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 3 7 7 14 31
Bengals 0 3 10 10 23

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Date: November 4
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST/11:00 a.m. MST
  • Game weather: 48 °F (9 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 63,623
  • Referee: Scott Green
  • TV announcers (CBS): Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
  • DEN – 7:55 Matt Prater 43-yard FG. Drive: 12 plays, 55 yards, 5:26. (DEN 3–0)
Second quarter
  • CIN – 14:12 Mike Nugent 28-yard FG. Drive: 10 plays, 57 yards, 4:23. (tied 3–3)
  • DEN – 10:15 Eric Decker 13-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards, 3:57. (DEN 10–3)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 14:49 Trindon Holliday 105-yard kickoff return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 0:11. (DEN 17–3)
  • CIN – 11:33 A. J. Green 10-yard TD pass from Andy Dalton, Mike Nugent kick. Drive: 6 plays, 80 yards, 3:16. (DEN 17–10)
  • CIN – 1:17 Mike Nugent 49-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 49 yards, 4:13. (DEN 17–13)
Fourth quarter
  • CIN – 14:10 BenJarvus Green-Ellis 2-yard TD run, Mike Nugent kick. Drive: 4 plays, 27 yards, 0:51. (CIN 20–17)
  • DEN – 11:47 Joel Dreessen 1-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards, 2:23. (DEN 24–20)
  • DEN – 3:36 Eric Decker 4-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 8 plays, 46 yards, 5:02. (DEN 31–20)
  • CIN – 0:52 Mike Nugent 41-yard FG. Drive: 12 plays, 47 yards, 2:44. (DEN 31–23)
Top passers
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 27/35, 291 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
  • CIN – Andy Dalton: 26/42, 299 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
  • DEN – Willis McGahee: 23 yards, 66 yards
  • CIN – BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 17 rushes, 56 yards, 1 TD
Top receivers
  • DEN – Eric Decker: 8 receptions, 99 yards, 2 TD
  • CIN – Jermaine Gresham: 6 receptions, 108 yards
Top tacklers

Coming off their dominating win over the Saints, the Broncos traveled to Paul Brown Stadium for an AFC duel with the Cincinnati Bengals. A 43-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater gave the Broncos an early lead, but the Bengals countered in the second quarter, with a 28-yard field goal by placekicker Mike Nugent. The Broncos responded, with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Manning to wide receiver Eric Decker. The Broncos added to their lead, when return specialist Trindon Holliday took the opening kickoff of the second half 105 yards for a touchdown. However, the Bengals would reel off 17 unanswered points, consisting of a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton to wide receiver A. J. Green, a 49-field goal by Nugent followed in the fourth quarter by running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushing for a 2-yard touchdown, with the latter two scores coming off Manning interceptions. This gave Cincinnati a 20–17 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Broncos re-claimed the lead on their next possession, with Manning connecting on a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen. Ten plays into the Bengals' next possession, Dalton was intercepted by cornerback Champ Bailey at the Bengals' 46-yard line, and the Broncos subsequently added to their lead eight plays later, with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Decker. Trailing 31–20 with 3:36 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bengals tried to rally, with Nugent nailing a 41-yard field goal with 52 seconds remaining, but the Broncos recovered the onside kick in the game's final minute and subsequently ran out the clock.[103]

Notes

Peyton Manning improved his personal record to 8–0 all-time in games against the Bengals.[103]

Week 10: at Carolina Panthers[edit]

Week Ten: Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 10 7 12 36
Panthers 7 0 0 7 14

at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Date: November 11
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST/11:00 a.m. MST
  • Game weather: 71 °F (22 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 73,939
  • Referee: Alberto Riveron
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • DEN – 14:40 Trindon Holliday 76-yard punt return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. (DEN 14–7)
  • DEN – 10:12 Matt Prater 53-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 20 yards, 3:26. (DEN 17–7)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 9:59 Tony Carter 40-yard interception return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. (DEN 24–7)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 14:17 Matt Prater 27-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 62 yards, 3:25. (DEN 27–7)
  • DEN – 10:32 Cam Newton sacked by Mike Adams in end zone for a safety (DEN 29–7)
  • CAR – 5:09 Greg Olsen 5-yard TD pass from Cam Newton, Justin Medlock kick. Drive: 10 plays, 77 yards, 4:22. (DEN 29–14)
  • DEN – 3:23 Ronnie Hillman 5-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 54 yards, 1:46. (DEN 36–14)
Top passers
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 27/38, 301 yards, 1 TD
  • CAR – Cam Newton: 21/36, 241 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Top rushers
Top receivers
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 9 receptions, 135 yards
  • CAR – Greg Olsen: 9 receptions, 102 yards
Top tacklers
The Broncos on offense against the Carolina Panthers in week 10

Hoping to add to a three-game winning streak, the Broncos traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina for an interconference match-up with the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. In the first quarter, the Panthers struck first, with quarterback Cam Newton connecting on a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen. However, the Broncos would reel off 29 unanswered points and dominate the remainder of the game. Quarterback Peyton Manning threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley. The Broncos grabbed the lead in the second quarter, with return specialist Trindon Holliday returning a punt 76 yards for a touchdown, followed by a 53-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater, then in the third quarter, cornerback Tony Carter returned an interception off Newton 40 yards for a touchdown. Prater added a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, followed by safety Mike Adams sacking Newton in the end zone for a safety. The Panthers responded in the fourth quarter, with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Newton to Olsen, but the Broncos put the game out of reach, with running back Ronnie Hillman rushing for a 5-yard touchdown.[104]

Notes

The Broncos' defense harassed Cam Newton throughout the game, sacking Newton seven times. This was Broncos' head coach John Fox's first visit to Carolina, where he served as head coach of the Panthers from 2002–2010.[104]

Week 11: vs. San Diego Chargers[edit]

Week Eleven: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Chargers 7 0 9 7 23
Broncos 0 17 7 6 30

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • DEN – 13:00 Demaryius Thomas 13-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 6 plays, 56 yards, 2:20. (tied 7–7)
  • DEN – 11:33 Matt Prater 19-yard FG. Drive: 4 plays, 7 yards, 1:14. (DEN 10–7)
  • DEN – 1:44 Brandon Stokley 31-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 1 play, 31 yards, 0:07. (DEN 17–7)
Third quarter
  • SD – 12:48 Peyton Manning sacked by Shaun Phillips in the end zone for a safety (DEN 17–9)
  • DEN – 7:23 Eric Decker 20-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 3 plays, 25 yards, 0:18. (DEN 24–9)
  • SD – 0:58 Danario Alexander 8-yard TD pass from Philip Rivers, Nick Novak kick. Drive: 12 plays, 80 yards, 6:25. (DEN 24–16)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 10:43 Matt Prater 30-yard FG. Drive: 10 plays, 67 yards, 5:15. (DEN 27–16)
  • DEN – 4:14 Matt Prater 32-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 57 yards, 4:56. (DEN 30–16)
  • SD – 1:24 Danario Alexander 21-yard TD pass from Philip Rivers, Mike Scifres kick. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards, 2:50. (DEN 30–23)
Top passers
  • SD – Philip Rivers: 24/40, 258 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 25/42, 270 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
Top receivers
  • SD – Danario Alexander: 7 receptions, 96 yards, 2 TD
  • DEN – Brandon Stokley: 4 receptions, 55 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Hoping to add to a four-game winning streak, the Broncos returned home for an AFC West rematch with the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers grabbed the lead in the first quarter, with safety Eric Weddle returning an interception off Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning 23 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos responded early in the second quarter, with Manning connecting on a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. On the Chargers' next possession, quarterback Philip Rivers was intercepted by Broncos' safety Jim Leonhard deep in Chargers' territory. However, the Broncos had to settle for a 19-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. On the first play after the two-minute warning, Broncos' linebacker Nate Irving blocked Mike Scifres' punt, and on the next play, Manning threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley, giving the Broncos a 17–7 lead. The first points of the third quarter came from the Chargers, with linebacker Shaun Phillips sacking Manning in the end zone for a safety. After linebacker Wesley Woodyard recovered a Rivers' fumble deep in Chargers' territory, the Broncos increased their lead, with Manning throwing a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker. However, the Chargers responded late in the third quarter, with Rivers connecting on an 8-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Danario Alexander. A pair of field goals by Prater in the fourth quarter—from 30 and 32 yards—gave the Broncos a 30–16 lead with 4:14 remaining in the game. The Chargers tried to rally, with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Alexander with 1:24 remaining. However, the Broncos' recovered the onside kick, and subsequently ran out the clock.[105]

Notes

With the win, the Broncos earned their first season sweep of the Chargers since 2005, and snapped the Chargers' three-game winning streak in Denver. Nate Irving's block of a Mike Scifres' punt marked the first time since 2007 that the Broncos' special teams blocked a punt.[106] This was the only game during the 2012 season in which the Broncos wore their alternate navy blue jerseys.[105]

Injuries

Running back Willis McGahee suffered a ruptured MCL and compression fracture in his right knee during the second quarter, when his knee was hit by the helmet of Chargers' cornerback Quentin Jammer.[107] On November 21, McGahee was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list.[92]

Week 12: at Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

Week Twelve: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 7 7 3 17
Chiefs 6 0 3 0 9

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Date: November 25
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. CST/11:00 a.m. MST
  • Game weather: 52 °F (11 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 74,244
  • Referee: Jerome Boger
  • TV announcers (CBS): Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
  • KC – 9:20 Ryan Succop 34-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 55 yards, 5:40. (KC 3–0)
  • KC – 4:31 Ryan Succop 22-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 33 yards, 3:25. (KC 6–0)
Second quarter
Third quarter
  • KC – 7:35 Ryan Succop 49-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 46 yards, 4:22. (KC 9–7)
  • DEN – 4:41 Demaryius Thomas 30-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 7 plays, 80 yards, 2:54. (DEN 14–9)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 0:14 Matt Prater 34-yard FG. Drive: 12 plays, 68 yards, 6:10. (DEN 17–9)
Top passers
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 22/37, 285 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
  • KC – Brady Quinn: 13/25, 126 yards, 1 INT
Top rushers
Top receivers
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 4 receptions, 82 yards, 1 TD
  • KC – Dwayne Bowe: 4 receptions, 41 yards
Top tacklers

Hoping to add to a five-game winning streak, the Broncos traveled to Arrowhead Stadium for an AFC West duel with the Kansas City Chiefs. Two field goals by Chiefs' placekicker Ryan Succop—from 34 and 22 yards—game Kansas City a 6–0 lead in the first quarter. The Broncos grabbed the lead just before halftime, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Tamme. The Chiefs re-claimed the lead in the third quarter, with a 49-yard field goal by Succop, however, the Broncos responded, with Manning connecting on a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. For the last 4:41 of the third quarter and the first 8:36 of the fourth quarter, each team proceeded to trade punts, until the Broncos' offense got the football with 6:24 remaining in the game. The Broncos drove 68 yards in 12 plays, eating up 6:10 off the clock, culminating with placekicker Matt Prater nailing a 34-yard field goal with only 14 seconds remaining to give the Broncos some breathing room. The Broncos' defense thwarted the Chiefs' last desperation drive.[108]

Notes

With the hard-fought win, the Broncos matched their win total from 2011.

Week 13: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

Week Thirteen: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Buccaneers 10 0 0 13 23
Broncos 7 0 21 3 31

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter
Second quarter

No scoring

Third quarter
  • DEN – 9:21 Demaryius Thomas 8-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 52 yards, 1:22. (DEN 14–10)
  • DEN – 4:39 Demaryius Thomas 10-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 7 plays, 57 yards, 3:23. (DEN 21–10)
  • DEN – 3:56 Von Miller 26-yard interception return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. (DEN 28–10)
Fourth quarter
  • TB – 14:55 Connor Barth 50-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 16 yards, 2:11. (DEN 28–13)
  • DEN – 7:36 Matt Prater 31-yard FG. Drive: 14 plays, 68 yards, 7:19. (DEN 31–13)
  • TB – 3:23 Connor Barth 55-yard FG. Drive: 5 plays, 26 yards, 1:14. (DEN 31–16)
  • TB – 2:33 Mike Williams 5-yard TD pass from Josh Freeman, Connor Barth kick. Drive: 4 plays, 47 yards, 0:24. (DEN 31–23)
Top passers
  • TB – Josh Freeman: 18/29, 242 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 27/38, 242, 3 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
Top receivers
  • TB – Mike Williams: 6 receptions, 93 yards, 1 TD
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 8 receptions, 99 yards, 2 TD
Top tacklers
  • TB – Lavonte David: 7 tackles, 3 assists
  • DEN – Chris Harris, Jr. and Von Miller: 5 tackles and 1 assist each (1 sack, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble by Miller)

Hoping to add to a six-game winning streak, the Broncos returned home for an interconference duel with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Broncos grabbed the early lead, when defensive tackle Mitch Unrein, lining up as a fullback, caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Manning. The Buccaneers responded, with a 31-yard field goal by placekicker Connor Barth, then grabbed the lead at the end of the first quarter, with quarterback Josh Freeman connecting on an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Clark. After a scoreless second quarter, the Broncos re-claimed the lead for good with 21 unanswered points, consisting of two Manning touchdown passes to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas—from 8 and 10 yards, followed by linebacker Von Miller returning an interception off Freeman 26 yards for a touchdown. After a Manning interception late in the third quarter, a 50-yard field goal by Barth to begin the fourth quarter narrowed the gap to 28–13, but the Broncos countered with a 31-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. With 4:37 remaining in the game, the Buccaneers tried to rally, with a 55-yard field goal by Barth, followed by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Freeman to wide receiver Mike Williams with 2:39 remaining. However, the Buccaneers' onside kick attempt was unsuccessful, and the Broncos subsequently ran out the clock.[109]

Notes

With the win, the Broncos exceeded their win total from 2011, and also clinched their second consecutive AFC West division title. This was the 12th division title in the Broncos' franchise history, tying the Oakland Raiders for the all-time lead in AFC West championships since the 1970 AFL–NFL merger.[110] The Broncos also clinched consecutive division titles for the first time since 1986–87.[111]

Week 14: at Oakland Raiders[edit]

Week Fourteen: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 10 3 13 0 26
Raiders 0 7 0 6 13

at O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California

Game information
First quarter
  • DEN – 10:30 Joel Dreessen 6-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 10 plays, 68 yards, 4:30. (DEN 7–0)
  • DEN – 5:09 Matt Prater 43-yard FG. Drive: 10 plays, 50 yards, 4:42. (DEN 10–0)
Second quarter
Third quarter
  • DEN – 7:30 Matt Prater 20-yard FG. Drive: 10 plays, 89 yards, 5:03. (DEN 16–7)
  • DEN – 5:07 Knowshon Moreno 1-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 2 plays, 2 yards, 0:38. (DEN 23–7)
  • DEN – 0:19 Matt Prater 33-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 49 yards, 3:18. (DEN 26–7)
Fourth quarter
  • OAK – 5:36 Darrius Heyward-Bey 56-yard TD pass from Carson Palmer, two-point pass failed. Drive: 4 plays, 86 yards, 1:50. (DEN 26–13)
Top passers
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 26/36, 310 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • OAK – Carson Palmer: 19/30, 273 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
  • DEN – Knowshon Moreno: 32 rushes, 119 yards, 1 TD
  • OAK – Darren McFadden: 11 rushes, 52 yards
Top receivers
Top tacklers

Hoping to add to a seven-game winning streak, the Broncos traveled to the O.co Coliseum for an AFC West rematch with the Oakland Raiders. The Broncos jumped out to a 13–0 lead, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen, followed by field goals of 43 and 34 from placekicker Matt Prater, with the latter field goal occurring early in the second quarter. The Raiders got on the scoreboard late in the first half, with quarterback Carson Palmer throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to running back Darren McFadden. The Broncos added to their lead in the third quarter, with a 20-yard field goal by Prater, a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Knowshon Moreno and a 33-yard field goal by Prater. A 56-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (with a failed two-point conversion attempt) was the only scoring play of the fourth quarter, and the Broncos ran out the final 5:36 of the game.[112]

Notes

With the win, the Broncos earned their first season sweep of the Raiders since 2006, and also swept their division rivals on the road for the third time in four seasons.

Week 15: at Baltimore Ravens[edit]

Week Fifteen: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 3 14 14 3 34
Ravens 0 0 3 14 17

at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Date: December 16
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST/11:00 a.m. MST
  • Game weather: 53 °F (12 °C), cloudy
  • Game attendance: 71,317
  • Referee: Pete Morelli
  • TV announcers (CBS): Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
  • DEN – 7:13 Matt Prater 27-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 44 yards, 4:56. (DEN 3–0)
Second quarter
  • DEN – 11:51 Jacob Hester 1-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 11 plays, 78 yards, 4:12. (DEN 10–0)
  • DEN – 0:15 Chris Harris, Jr. 98-yard interception return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. (DEN 17–0)
Third quarter
  • BAL – 12:18 Justin Tucker 45-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 29 yards, 2:42. (DEN 17–3)
  • DEN – 9:53 Eric Decker 51-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 5 plays, 83 yards, 2:25. (DEN 24–3)
  • DEN – 7:40 Knowshon Moreno 6-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 4 plays, 39 yards, 1:16. (DEN 31–3)
Fourth quarter
  • BAL – 14:31 Dennis Pitta 31-yard TD pass from Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker kick. Drive: 4–36, 1:17. (DEN 31–10)
  • DEN – 4:32 Matt Prater 36-yard FG. Drive: 15 plays, 62, yards, 9:59. (DEN 34–10)
  • BAL – 4:08 Dennis Pitta 61-yard TD pass from Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker kick. Drive: 1 play, 61 yards, 0:24. (DEN 34–17)
Top passers
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 17/28, 204 yards, 1 TD
  • BAL – Joe Flacco: 20/40, 254 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
  • DEN – Knowshon Moreno: 22 rushes, 118 yards, 1 TD
  • BAL – Ray Rice: 12 rushes, 38 yards
Top receivers
  • DEN – Eric Decker: 8 receptions, 133 yards, 1 TD
  • BAL – Dennis Pitta: 7 receptions, 125 yards, 2 TD
Top tacklers

Hoping to add to an eight-game winning streak, the Broncos traveled to M&T Bank Stadium for an AFC duel with the Baltimore Ravens, where the Broncos had never won in four previous regular-season meetings. A 27-yard field goal by Broncos' placekicker Matt Prater was the only scoring play of the first quarter. The Broncos increased their lead in the second quarter, with fullback Jacob Hester rushing for a 1-yard touchdown. The Ravens were threatening to narrow the Broncos' lead just before halftime; however, Broncos' cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. stepped in front of a pass from Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco, returning an interception 98 yards for a touchdown. The Ravens finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter, with a 45-yard field goal by placekicker Justin Tucker. However, the Broncos added to their lead, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a 51-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker, followed by a 6-yard touchdown run from running back Knowshon Moreno to give the Broncos a commanding 31–3 lead. The Ravens finally got into the end zone early in the fourth quarter, with Flacco connecting on a 31-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Pitta, but the Broncos responded with a 36-yard field goal from Prater. The Ravens added one more score, with a 61-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Pitta, but the Broncos' lead was too much for the Ravens to overcome.[113]

Notes

This was the Broncos' first-ever regular-season win in Baltimore in five tries.[114]

Week 16: vs. Cleveland Browns[edit]

Week Sixteen: Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 3 0 3 6 12
Broncos 7 7 7 13 34

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: December 23
  • Game time: 2:05 p.m. MST
  • Game weather: 51 °F (11 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 76,351
  • Referee: Alberto Riveron
  • TV announcers (CBS): Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Dan Fouts (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • DEN – 12:40 Eric Decker 10-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 15 plays, 80 yards, 6:55. (DEN 14–3)
Third quarter
  • CLE – 11:09 Phil Dawson 53-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 45 yards, 3:51. (DEN 14–6)
  • DEN – 4:33 Eric Decker 8-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 12 plays, 91 yards, 6:36. (DEN 21–6)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 14:53 Matt Prater 27-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 39 yards, 3:22. (DEN 24–6)
  • DEN – 12:11 Jacob Hester 1-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 2 plays, 19 yards, 0:15. (DEN 31–6)
  • CLE – 7:56 Greg Little 6-yard TD pass from Colt McCoy, two-point run failed. Drive: 10 plays, 80 yards, 4:15. (DEN 31–12)
  • DEN – 1:55 Matt Prater 41-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 22 yards, 2:02. (DEN 34–12)
Top passers
  • CLE – Brandon Weeden: 12/19, 104 yards
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 30/43, 339 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Top rushers
Top receivers
  • CLE – Greg Little: 6 receptions, 58 yards, 1 TD
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 9 receptions, 102 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Hoping to add to a nine-game winning streak, the Broncos returned home for an AFC match-up with the Cleveland Browns. On the game's opening drive, quarterback Peyton Manning threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The Browns got on the scoreboard, with a 27-yard field goal by placekicker Phil Dawson. A 10-yard touchdown pass from Manning to wide receiver Eric Decker was the only scoring play of the second quarter. The Browns narrowed the Broncos' lead early in the third quarter, with a 53-yard field goal by Dawson, but the Broncos would add 17 unanswered points to their lead, with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Decker, followed in the fourth quarter by a 27-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater and a 1-yard touchdown run by fullback Jacob Hester. The Browns finally scored a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, with quarterback Colt McCoy connecting on a 6-yard pass to wide receiver Greg Little, but the Broncos' lead was too much for the Browns to overcome. Prater added a 41-yard field goal to close out the scoring.[115]

Notes

The Broncos matched their win total from the two previous seasons combined, and also swept the AFC North division. The Broncos won their 10th consecutive game against the Browns, dating back to the 1991 season, and improved their all-time series record against the Browns to 22–5 (including the playoffs).[116]

Week 17: vs. Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

Week Seventeen: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Chiefs 0 3 0 0 3
Broncos 7 14 14 3 38

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: December 30
  • Game time: 2:25 p.m. MST
  • Game weather: 35 °F (2 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 76,502
  • Referee: Ed Hochuli
  • TV announcers (CBS): Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Dan Fouts (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • KC – 14:53 Ryan Succop 23-yard FG. Drive: 4 plays, 7 yards, 1:16. (DEN 7–3)
  • DEN – 5:32 Eric Decker 11-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 9 plays, 76 yards, 4:00. (DEN 14–3)
  • DEN – 0:10 Eric Decker 16-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 8 plays, 59 yards, 1:27. (DEN 21–3)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 9:10 Demaryius Thomas 13-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards, 5:50. (DEN 28–3)
  • DEN – 1:04 Lance Ball 1-yard TD run, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 9 plays, 74 yards, 5:36. (DEN 35–3)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 8:09 Matt Prater 42-yard FG. Drive: 11 plays, 43 yards, 6:10. (DEN 38–3)
Top passers
  • KC – Brady Quinn: 7/16, 49 yards
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 23/29, 304 yards, 3 TD
Top rushers
  • KC – Jamaal Charles: 14 rushes, 53 yards
  • DEN – Lance Ball: 15 rushes, 66 yards, 1 TD
Top receivers
  • KC – Tony Moeaki: 2 receptions, 21 yards
  • DEN – Demaryius Thomas: 7 receptions, 122 yards, 1 TD
Top tacklers

Hoping to add to a ten-game winning streak and gain momentum into the playoffs, the Broncos remained at home for an AFC West divisional rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs, in the 2012 regular season finale. The Broncos grabbed the early lead in the first quarter, with running back Knowshon Moreno rushing for a 3-yard touchdown. The Chiefs got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter, with a 23-yard field goal by placekicker Ryan Succop, in what would be the Chiefs' only scoring play of the game. The Broncos later added to their lead, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing three touchdown passes—two to wide receiver Eric Decker—from 11 and 16 yards, followed in the third quarter by a 13-yarder to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The Broncos added another touchdown late in the third quarter, with running back Lance Ball rushing for a 1-yard touchdown. A 42-yard field goal by Broncos' placekicker Matt Prater in the fourth quarter was the last scoring play of the game.[117]

Notes

With the win, the Broncos exceeded their win total from the two previous seasons combined, swept their AFC West division rivals for only the second time in franchise history, and earned their first season sweep of the Chiefs since 2007.[117] The 35-point margin was the Broncos' largest margin of victory over the Chiefs in the 53-year history of this rivalry.[118] The win was also the 100th in John Fox's coaching career (including postseason games).[119] By virtue of the Houston Texans' 28–16 loss to the Indianapolis Colts earlier in the day, the Broncos clinched a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.[120]

Postseason[edit]

AFC Divisional Playoffs: vs. #4 Baltimore Ravens[edit]

AFC Divisional Playoffs: (#4) Baltimore Ravens at (#1) Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 OT 2OT Total
Ravens 14 7 7 7 0 3 38
Broncos 14 7 7 7 0 0 35

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • DEN – 7:26 Knowshon Moreno 14-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 8 plays, 86 yards, 3:35. (DEN 21–14)
  • BAL – 0:36 Torrey Smith 32-yard TD pass from Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker kick. Drive: 3 plays, 58 yards, 0:40. (tied 21–21)
Third quarter
  • DEN – 14:47 Trindon Holliday 104-yard kickoff return for a TD, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 0:13. (DEN 28–21)
  • BAL – 0:20 Ray Rice 1-yard TD run, Justin Tucker kick. Drive: 5 plays, 37 yards, 2:27. (tied 28–28)
Fourth quarter
  • DEN – 7:11 Demaryius Thomas 17-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, Matt Prater kick. Drive: 10 plays, 88 yards, 4:58. (DEN 35–28)
  • BAL – Jacoby Jones 70-yard TD pass from Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker kick. Drive: 3 plays, 77 yards, 0:38. (tied 35–35)
First overtime

No scoring

Second overtime
  • BAL – 13:18 Justin Tucker 47-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 16 yards, 2:33. (BAL 38–35)
Top passers
  • BAL – Joe Flacco: 18/34, 331 yards, 3 TD
  • DEN – Peyton Manning: 28/43, 290 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Top rushers
  • BAL – Ray Rice: 30 rushes, 131 yards, 1 TD
  • DEN – Ronnie Hillman: 22 rushes, 83 yards
Top receivers
  • BAL – Torrey Smith: 3 receptions, 98 yards, 2 TD
  • DEN – Eric Decker: 6 receptions, 84 yards
Top tacklers

Following a first-round bye, the Broncos kicked off the divisional round of the 2012–13 NFL playoffs at home by welcoming the Baltimore Ravens, whom the Broncos defeated in Baltimore four weeks earlier. A 90-yard punt return for a touchdown by return specialist Trindon Holliday gave the Broncos the early lead. However, the Ravens quickly responded, with quarterback Joe Flacco connecting on a 59-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Torrey Smith, followed by cornerback Corey Graham returning an interception off Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning 39 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos tied the game, with Manning throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley, then re-claimed the lead midway through the second quarter, with Manning connecting on a 14-yard touchdown pass to running back Knowshon Moreno. The Broncos had an opportunity to add to their lead just after the two-minute warning, but placekicker Matt Prater missed a 52-yard field goal, giving the Ravens excellent field goal position with 1:16 remaining until halftime. Three plays later, Flacco connected on another touchdown pass to Smith — this one from 32 yards.[121]

Holliday took the opening kickoff of the second half 104 yards for a touchdown, but after a Manning fumble, the Ravens tied the game late in the third quarter, with running back Ray Rice rushing for a 1-yard touchdown. After each team's offense subsequently went three-and-out, the Broncos marched down the field on a 10-play, 88-yard drive, culminating with Manning throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas midway through the fourth quarter. The Ravens, on their next possession, marched 44 yards in eight plays, but turned the ball over on downs with 3:12 remaining in regulation. The Broncos achieved one first-down with 2:23 remaining, which forced the Ravens to start using the last two of their three remaining timeouts on defense. After the two-minute warning, the Ravens had exhausted all of their team timeouts, however, the Broncos failed to convert a critical third-down run, and were forced to punt, giving the Ravens the football with 1:15 remaining in regulation. Three plays later, and with no timeouts, Flacco launched a 70-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jacoby Jones to tie the game at 35 with 31 seconds remaining to force overtime.[121]

The Ravens won the overtime coin toss. Both teams were forced to punt on their first possessions. The Ravens once again were forced to punt on their next possession, and the Broncos' offense got the football with 3:37 remaining in the first overtime. However, seven plays into the Broncos' second overtime possession, Manning was intercepted again by Graham in Broncos' territory, giving the Ravens the football at the Broncos' 45-yard line with 1:01 remaining in the first overtime. Six plays later, Ravens' placekicker Justin Tucker nailed a game-winning 47-yard field early in the second overtime.[121]

Standings[edit]

AFC West
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(1) Denver Broncos 13 3 0 .813 6–0 10–2 481 289 W11
San Diego Chargers 7 9 0 .438 4–2 7–5 350 350 W2
Oakland Raiders 4 12 0 .250 2–4 4–8 290 443 L2
Kansas City Chiefs 2 14 0 .125 0–6 0–12 211 425 L4

Statistics[edit]

Team leaders[edit]

Category Player(s) Value
Passing yards Peyton Manning 4,659
Passing touchdowns Peyton Manning 37
Rushing yards Willis McGahee 731
Rushing touchdowns Willis McGahee
Knowshon Moreno
4
Receiving yards Demaryius Thomas 1,434
Receiving touchdowns Eric Decker 13
Points Matt Prater 133
Kickoff return yards Trindon Holliday 358
Punt return yards Trindon Holliday 334
Tackles Wesley Woodyard 117
Sacks Von Miller 18.5
Forced fumbles Elvis Dumervil
Von Miller
6
Interceptions Chris Harris, Jr.
Wesley Woodyard
3
Indicates a new single-season franchise record.[122]

Source for this section: Denver Broncos' official website.[123]

League rankings[edit]

Offense
Category Value NFL rank
Total yards 397.9 YPG 4th
Rushing yards 114.5 YPG 16th
Passing yards 283.3 YPG 5th
Yards per play 5.8 6th
Scoring 30.1 PPG 2nd
Pass completions 402/588 (.684) 2nd
Third downs 96/213 (.451) 3rd
Possession average 31:16 8th
Turnover differential −1 T−17th
Defense
Category Value NFL rank
Total yards 290.8 YPG 2nd
Rushing yards 91.1 YPG 3rd
Passing yards 199.6 YPG 3rd
Yards per play 4.6 1st
Scoring 18.1 PPG 4th
Pass completions 321/559 (.574) 7th
Third downs 66/216 (.306) 1st
Sacks 52 T−1st
Forced fumbles 19 4th
Interceptions 16 13th
Special teams
Category Value NFL rank
Kickoff returns 23.1 YPR 18th
Punt returns 9.3 YPR 18th
Gross punting 46.3 YPP 17th
Net punting 43.3 YPP 5th
Kickoff coverage 22.1 YPR 7th
Punt coverage 6.2 YPR 2nd

Source for this section: NFL.com.[124]

Records and milestones[edit]

Numerous individual, franchise and league records and milestones were either tied, reached or broken during the season:

Team[edit]

  • Week 6: The Broncos' rally from a 24–0 halftime deficit during the team's Week 6 win over the San Diego Chargers tied the largest comeback in Monday Night Football history. The 35 points scored after halftime tied the highest amount of points that the Broncos scored in the second half,[101] and also marked the first time in NFL history that a team won a game by double-digits after trailing by at least 24 points at halftime.[125]
  • Season: The Broncos set a franchise record for scoring 30 or more points in 11 games,[126] which was surpassed during the 2013 season.

Peyton Manning[edit]

  • Week 1: Became the third quarterback in NFL history to achieve 400 career touchdown passes (joining Dan Marino and Brett Favre), as well as the fastest quarterback to achieve that feat.[127]
  • Week 3: Became the NFL's all-time leader in 300-yard passing games.[97]
  • Week 8: Set a new personal record for consecutive 300-yard passing games.[102]
  • Week 9: Surpassed Dan Marino for the NFL's all-time lead in game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.[103]
  • Week 11: Surpassed Dan Marino for second-place on the NFL's all-time list for touchdown passes.[106]
  • Week 12: Surpassed John Elway for second-place on the NFL's all-time list for regular-season wins by a quarterback.[108]
  • Week 13: Surpassed Dan Marino for second-place on the NFL's all-time pass completions list and set a franchise record for touchdown passes in a single season,[110] which Manning surpassed in 2013.
  • Week 14: Became the second quarterback in NFL history to achieve 5,000 career pass completions (joining Brett Favre), as well as the fastest quarterback to achieve that feat. He also achieved his NFL-record 12th season with at least 10 wins during a regular season.[128]
  • Week 17: Set a new single-season franchise record for pass completions;[129] surpassed Brett Favre on the NFL's all-time list for games with three or more touchdown passes[130] and set a new NFL record with a .707 pass completion percentage in games played during the month of December.[131]
  • Overall, Manning set new Broncos' single-season franchise records in pass completion percentage (.686), pass completions (400), passer rating (105.9), passing yardage (4,659) and touchdown passes (37),[129] the latter four of which Manning surpassed in 2013.[132] He was also named to the AFC Pro Bowl for the 12th time in his career, the most by a quarterback in NFL history.[122]

Other players[edit]

  • Britton Colquitt: Set a new single-season franchise record for net punting, with an average of 42.1 net yards per punt. Colquitt surpassed his own record that he previously set during the 2011 season.[133]
  • Chris Harris, Jr.: During the team's Week 15 win over the Baltimore Ravens, Harris set a new franchise record for the longest interception return in Broncos' regular-season history, with a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown.[113]
  • Trindon Holliday:
    • Week 9: 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown set a new record for the longest play in Broncos' franchise history,[103] which Holliday tied in 2013.[134]
    • Divisional playoffs: 90-yard punt return for a touchdown set a new record for the longest punt return in NFL playoff history, which was also the first punt return for a touchdown in Broncos' postseason history; became the first player in NFL history to return both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in a playoff game.[135]

Awards and honors[edit]

Recipient Award(s)
Champ Bailey Named to the USA Football All Fundamentals Team[136]
Zane Beadles Named as the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year[137]
Ryan Clady Named to the USA Football All Fundamentals Team[136]
Trindon Holliday Week 9: AFC Special Teams Player of the Week[138]
Peyton Manning Week 6: AFC Offensive Player of the Week[139]
October: AFC Offensive Player of the Month[140]
Week 17: AFC Offensive Player of the Week[141]
December: AFC Offensive Player of the Month[131]
Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Athlete of the year[142]
2012 season: AFC Offensive Player of the Year[143]
2012 season: FedEx Air Player of the Year[144]
2012 season: Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year[144]
Von Miller Week 11: AFC Defensive Player of the Week[145]
November: AFC Defensive Player of the Month[146]
Voted to NFL.com's All-Under-25 Team[147]
Knowshon Moreno Week 15: AFC Offensive Player of the Week,[148] FedEx Ground Player of the Week[149]
Tracy Porter Week 1: AFC Defensive Player of the Week[150]
Matt Prater Week 4: AFC Special Teams Player of the Week[151]
Brandon Stokley 2012 season: DISH Unbeatable Value Player of the Year[152]
Wesley Woodyard Week 8: AFC Defensive Player of the Week[153]
Voted to USA Today's All-Joe Team[147]
Team Week 6: GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week (come-from-behind win)[154]

Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections[edit]

Seven Broncos were elected to the 2013 Pro Bowl. Cornerback Champ Bailey, quarterback Peyton Manning and linebacker Von Miller were named as starters, while offensive tackle Ryan Clady and defensive end Elvis Dumervil were named as reserves.[155] Guard Zane Beadles and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas were later added to the game as injury replacements.[156] Clady and Miller, however, each withdrew from the game due to injuries.[157][158]

Clady, Manning and Miller were also voted to the 2012 All-Pro First Team, while Bailey was named to the Second Team.[159]

Other news and notes[edit]

  • The Broncos switched their primary home jersey color from navy blue to orange. The orange jerseys that served as the team's alternate colored jersey from 2002–2011 became the primary home jersey, while the navy blue jerseys that served as the team's primary home jersey from 1997–2011 switched 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.[160]
  • On April 3, the Broncos, along with each of the other 31 NFL teams, unveiled the team's new uniforms for the 2012 season, with Nike replacing Reebok as the NFL's merchandising dealer. With the exceptions of a few tweaks (including the neckline), the team's uniform designs remained the same as the previous seasons.[161]
  • The Broncos set a new single-season franchise record for home attendance with 613,062 fans, surpassing the previous record of 612,893 that was set in 2007.[163]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Replacement officials were used from Weeks 1–3 due to the 2012 referee labor dispute.

References[edit]

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