The implausible and the imponderable became the incredible and extraordinary.
The Broncos scored 14 points in nine seconds to barbecue the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.
“”Now we’ve seen everything,’’ Broncos’ CEO Joe Ellis said.
“”It was,’’ Broncos’ linebacker Brandon Marshall said, “”a revelation.’’
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“That’s the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever been a part of,’’ said Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby.
I caught the eye of offensive coordinator Rick Dennison as he left the coaches’ box upstairs at game’s end, and he shook his head, put his hands in the air and produced a smile that would light up the night.
On offense Peyton Methuselah, who people think must be 969 years old, threw for three touchdowns and 256 yards.
On defense Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib intercepted passes, and the Broncos recovered three fumbles — the last one the difference-maker for the Broncos and the heart-breaker for the Chiefs.
“”I didn’t know if they would run out the clock or pass at the end (of the fourth quarter),’’ Marshall said. The score was tied at 24 with time elapsing, and the game headed to overtime. “I saw earlier in the game when I tackled (Jamaal) Charles that he was carrying the ball loose. When he got it this time and was going down, I punched at it, and the ball came out.’’
Roby picks up the ball and the story. “Whole game I kept telling myself I had to make a play. Biggest play of my life. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. B-Marsh knocked it out, and I just got it, and all I could see was the end zone.’’
Von Miller said: “”Roby is a superstar.’’
Roby scored unscathed with 27 seconds remaining, and the Broncos had won their 13th consecutive division road game, an NFL record.
This was the weirdest.
Seconds before Roby’s game-winning stomp, Manning had thrown to Emmanuel Sanders for a 19-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
The Broncos had scored 28 points in the last 2:31 of the first half and the final 36 seconds of the second half.
And Manning was acting like a 9-year-old kid, not a 39-year-old quarterback, as he ran off the field.
Whew and Wow!
However, the first half was a horror story straight out of Poe. Not Dontari Poe. Edgar Allan Poe.
The Pits and the Pendulum. As both the Broncos and the Chiefs played like the pits throughout, the pendulum swung back and forth — 14 points by the Chiefs on a long run and a Manning interception for the second touchdown, then late touchdowns by the Broncos on a Manning pass to Sanders and, after a pick by Aqib Talib, another scoring pass.
(Both passes were juggled before being caught. Quite appropriate.)
Just when you thought the Broncos had run out of feet to shoot themselves in, they turned a sellout, stand-up crowd to stone. Just when you believed that Manning should retire at halftime, he drove the Broncos 80 yards with precision, then pushed them over again after the Chiefs’ third turnover.
Just when the Chiefs were feeling smug because the Broncos were committing three personal fouls and an unnecessary roughness, they spiraled like Lady Gaga.
The teams deserved to be tied, literally, at halftime.
The Broncos continue to claim the offense is a work in progress. It seems more like a work in regress.
Kubiak was determined to have his Broncos come out on the opening possession. Run, Spot, run. Only problem was the Chiefs were determined to make Manning pass. They stuffed eight men in red at or just off the line of scrimmage. C.J. Anderson got 14 yards on the first offensive play, then zero and one yard in the next two plays. (Anderson would soon give way to Ronnie Hillman.)
The Chiefs’ plan might have been successful if they hadn’t fumbled twice, one in the vicinity and the other on a punt return. The Broncos were tough as burnt brisket on defense, harassing Alex Smith, but they kept helping the Chiefs with stupid supplementary actions. DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller had sacks, but they each had a bad penalty.
In the second quarter the Broncos’ defense gave up its first touchdown of the year, and Manning threw for his second touchdown of the season — to the opposition.
Then, it was as if Manning said forget the Kubiak Offense. The Broncos went to the hurry-up, shotgun offense with 6½ minutes remaining in the first half. He wasn’t Old Man Manning. He was the Manning of old, completing five throws and hitting Sanders for the Broncos’ first offensive touchdown of 2015.
Eventually, the Chiefs would go ahead, and the Broncos would come from behind.
Two and oh!