ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Nobody on the Denver Broncos ‘ roster or coaching staff was with the team the last time they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs way back on Sept. 17, 2015.
The Broncos scored touchdowns nine seconds apart in the final minute for a stunning 31-24 win on a Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 2 that season.
That’s the site of their game this Thursday night when the Broncos (1-4) try to snap their 15-game losing streak to the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (4-1).
Eight years ago, when Patrick Mahomes was still flinging footballs at Texas Tech, Peyton Manning threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders with 36 seconds left and Brandon McManus’ extra point tied the game at 24.
Linebacker Brandon Marshall poked the ball from Jamaal Charles’ grasp on the ensuing kickoff and cornerback Bradley Roby scooped up the loose ball and raced 21 yards into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 27 seconds left.
Broncos 31, Chiefs 24.
Two months later, the Chiefs won 29-13 in Denver with Manning limited by a foot injury that would sideline him until the playoffs, when he returned to the starting lineup and helped the Broncos go on a Super Bowl run.
That’s the last time the Broncos beat the Chiefs.
Although they’ve lost by an average of 11 points, eight of the 15 defeats have been by one score, including both of last year’s games in which Kansas City prevailed 34-28 and 27-24.
The Broncos are 10½-point underdogs Thursday night, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, just the fourth time in Sean Payton’s coaching career his team has been a double-digit underdog.
The Broncos face the Chiefs again on Oct. 29 and if they get swept by Kansas City for the eighth straight season, they’ll be approaching the record of 20 consecutive losses against one opponent set by the Buffalo Bills, who didn’t beat the Miami Dolphins a single time in the 1970s.
The Broncos, however, aren’t looking back as they prepare for Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce this week.
“We gotta create a new history,” Russell Wilson said Tuesday.
The Broncos have stumbled under Payton’s leadership, losing their first three home games to a trio of teams — the Raiders, Commanders and Jets — who are a combined 3-9 against other opponents. Denver lost by 50 points at Miami and fell behind the Bears by three touchdowns before rallying for their only win of the season.
All of this has fueled speculation the Broncos will conduct a fire sale of their roster ahead of the league’s Halloween trade deadline with veterans such as Justin Simmons, Garett Bolles, Frank Clark, Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton being prominently mentioned.
“George and I talk every day, three, four times a day,” Payton said of his constant communication with general manager George Paton. “We’re not looking to do business with any of our players. That doesn’t prevent teams from calling at times, and you pick the phone up but that’s kind of where it’s at.
“And we’ve got a good handle on this current roster and our vision for the roster a year from now and that’s the part about improving and getting better. But until you just said it, I wouldn’t have known it was three weeks away,” Payton added, speaking of the trade deadline. “Three weeks seems like an eternity right now.”
Simmons, who’s been with the Broncos for all but the first of their 15 consecutive losses to the Chiefs, did allow himself to ponder what it would be like to finally beat Kansas City.
“I mean, it would be huge,” Simmons said, not so much to end the streak but just to give the Broncos a much-needed and long-awaited boost.