Broncos' late rally falls short against Chiefs

  • the temperature dipped to a biting 17 degrees and within 57 seconds,The clouds rolled in, the Broncos were seemingly done. Finished. Cooked.

    the Chiefs' rookie quarterback who had never played in a regular-season game before taking the field Sunday,Patrick Mahomes, guided a group of primarily backups against Denver's starting defense and quickly found the end zone on the feet of Kareem Hunt.

    too. As Chiefs players jumped in celebration on their sideline,The frozen crowd had seen this play out before and knew how it could easily end. Coach Vance Joseph did, Joseph dropped his head in disappointment as his fate — as well as that of his staff and dozens of players — hung in the balance.

    the Broncos turned in a 27-24 loss against their playoff-bound AFC West rival. The defeat, which turned into a thriller in the final seconds,In a game that meant little for their record but everything for their future, dropped the Broncos to 5-11 and capped the worst year in general manager John Elway's tenure as an executive.

    with wild swings of inefficiency before a strong comeback. He completed 21-of-31 passes for 254 yards, two touchdowns,Quarterback Paxton Lynch took his second start of the season with the hope of erasing the memory of his previous outing and turned in a telling performance, two interceptions and one fumble. He also took two sacks and posted a passer rating of 87.3.

    the Broncos benched most of their defensive starters,Authentic Max Garcia Jersey, too,Authentic Todd Davis Jersey,Lynch's interception late in the second quarter was thrown into triple-coverage against the Chiefs' No. 2 defense. Well before the end of the first half, turning the season finale into a preseason 2018 tryout.

    But the biggest test was for Lynch as he tried to bounce back from the critical mistake.

    Throughout the Broncos' eight-game slide between Oct. 15 and Dec. 3,womens Riley Dixon Jersey, Elway said one of the most troubling aspects of their losses — often double-digit defeats — was the way they lost and how they struggled to respond to in-game adversity.

    In 2015,Authentic Brandon McManus Jersey, fumble there — and, the Broncos failed to regroup after mistakes — a pick here,Authentic Darian Stewart Jersey, the Broncos made their close and come-from-behind wins the hallmark of their Super Bowl run. In 2017,womens Virgil Green Jersey, in turn, allowed opponents to run up the score.

    So when Lynch returned from the locker room after halftime for his first drive following the interception,womens Brandon Marshall Jersey, his decisions were critical.

    His first try: five plays, a mere 14 yards and a Broncos punt.

    gain 90 yards, nail a field goal and extend their lead to 17-10. As Kansas City moved into the Broncos' red zone,The Chiefs then used 18 plays to eat 8:46 off the clock, Denver's defense reached peak disarray as players pointed to one another out of confusion and they were later flagged for having 13 men on the field.

    he was sacked twice, fumbled once and watched the Chiefs scoop it up for a touchdown,In Lynch's subsequent possessions, then he threw another interception.

    the Broncos took advantage and forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Zaire Anderson and returned 38 yards for the touchdown, and in a last-gasp attempt,But when Mahomes briefly left the game in the fourth quarter, Lynch guided the Broncos on a 62-yard drive that he capped with a touchdown lob to Demaryius Thomas. Brandon McManus tied it up at 24-all with his extra point and rookie linebacker DeMarcus Walker sacked Mahomes on the Chiefs ensuing drive and just like that, the Broncos were back.

    But not for long. Mahomes engineered one last scoring drive — resulting in a 30-yard field goal as time expired — and quashed any remaining hope in Denver.womens Todd Davis Jersey

    The Broncos spun a dud into a nail-biter in the final minutes, but still exhibited many of the same problems that killed their season long ago.womens Darian Stewart Jersey

    Mahomes flashed the potential and athleticism of a starter-in-the-making. He had the mistakes typical of a rookie playing in his first regular-season game — that interception into no man's land,Meanwhile,womens Max Garcia Jersey,other overthrown passes — but he completed 22-of-35 passes for 285 yards and a 76.4 passer rating.

    and for a few quarters from Brock Osweiler. But never did it last. And after Sunday,Authentic Riley Dixon Jersey,Authentic Bennie Fowler Jersey,The Broncos have been looking for that. They saw it in spurts with Trevor Siemian to start the year, the Broncos may not have moved any closer to finding it.

    The decision to give younger and less experienced players time was made well before the Chiefs rolled into town as Denver began to look ahead to 2018 and take inventory — of talent on the field and on the sideline.womens Brandon McManus Jersey,

    especially late in the season,womens Bennie Fowler Jersey,much was about Henderson's playing time when playoffs were long gone. Those calls for Henderson to play were seemingly validated when he sprinted into the end zone on his first touch of the game,Veteran back Jamaal Charles was inactive for the second consecutive game to give rookie De'Angelo Henderson needed carries before the year expired. Of the constant criticism facing the Broncos and Joseph,Authentic Brandon Marshall Jersey,Authentic Virgil Green Jersey, a 29-yard catch-and-run to give Denver a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.

    they found it in C.J. Anderson, who topped 1,And if they Broncos needed another bright spot,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career and for the first time for the Broncos since Knowshon Moreno did it in 2013.

    But this game will remembered more for what didn't work. This game will remembered as a fitting end to the Broncos' trying season. And in the coming hours and days, it may be remembered as the final game for many in orange and blue