Broncos Greatest Games, Round 1A UPDATED WITH DESCRIPTIONS

Edit: RSH and I have updated each game to include a brief description/teaser of the game.  If anyone has any more good sources or info on the older games, feel free to share, as I know I felt lacking on some older games.  Much thanks to RSH for his help.

Hopefully wading through this many games isn’t too tough, but I think once we get into the later round, this will be a really fun exercise.

As mentioned, I am going to facilitate a Broncos greatest game tournament to help give us something to do/talk about before training camp kicks off.  Vote in the comments. See full description here. Download full bracket Denver Broncos Greatest Games. Campaigning for favorite games and sharing memories is encouraged!

One more thing, you don’t have to vote on every match up if you don’t want to.

1              NWE 30-24   11/29/2015

“Osweiler was filling in for an injured Peyton, and Broncos won a come from behind OT Sunday Night home game. CJ Anderson had a walk off 48 yard TD run to end the game. Game was key in securing home field advantage for super bowl run”

16           MIN 21-17   11/24/1996

With 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, John Elway miraculously connected with Ed McCaffrey on a five-yard touchdown reception. Before McCaffrey secured what would-be the game winning touchdown, two Vikings defenders deflected the pass that was intended for Shannon Sharpe.


8              KAN 20-17   12/4/1994

While John Elway was examined for a possible serious knee injury, backup quarterback Hugh Millen engineered a 41-yard drive that set up a game-winning Jason Elam field goal in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. 

9              BOS 14-10   9/29/1963

Broncos forced 5 turnovers and beat the Patriots on a 4th quarter 74 yard TD reception by  Lionel Taylor.


5              SDG 20-13   11/9/1980

Broncos were 9 point underdogs, and fell behind 6-0 early. The Defense forced 3 turnovers and 6 sacks, and the Broncos won a scrappy game, despite being outgained 459 yards to 219.   The Broncos have only ever won while being bigger underdogs once, a 1987 matchup against the Raiders.

12           SDG 50-34   10/6/1963

Up until 2013, this game marked the most points scored by the Broncos in franchise history. The Broncos scored almost half of their 50 points on the day in the game’s fourth quarter. 


4              SDG 20-15   10/23/1994

Heading into this Week 8 contest, the Broncos were 1-5, while the Chargers were 6-0. The Broncos and Chargers both turned the ball over three times on the day. The win avenged an earlier season loss to San Diego at Mile High Stadium, where the Broncos blew a 24-6 lead. That game is remembered for John Elway losing control of the football on a roll out pass at the San Diego three-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. 

13           NWE 34-8   11/17/1996

The Broncos dominated the eventual AFC Championship Patriots in Foxoboro.  TD rushed for 154 yards and 2 TDs, and Elway added 2 more.  This game is famous, for Shannon Sharpe’s, “We are killing the Patriots” comments. Boxscore


6              KAN 27-21   12/12/1993

In another epic Chiefs-Broncos contest, Marty Schottenheimer, once again left Denver a loser. The Broncos scored ten unanswered points in the fourth quarter, including a John Elway to Shannon Sharpe six-yard go-ahead touchdown reception. 

11           NYJ 21-19   9/21/1969

This game featured a 98 yard punt by the Jets, which is pretty remarkable.  The Broncos still defeated the Namath led Jets, and forced 3 Turnovers.  Floyd Little rushed for 104 yards and a TD, along with a 52 yard punt return, as the Broncos overcame a 13-0 deficit.


3              KAN 24-20   11/17/1991

The Broncos D forced 4 Steve Deberg Interceptions, including one by Atwater and 1 taken back for a TD by Charles Dimry.  Elway struggled a bit, only going 9/20, for 134 yards, 1 TD, and 6 sacks.

14           KAN 9-6   9/17/2006

From The Associated Press: Rod Smith was on the sideline with a concussion, Jake Plummer was having an awful day and nothing Mike Shanahan and his offensive staff came up with seemed to work. Javon Walker bailed them all out. He led Denver to a 9-6 win over Kansas City on Sunday by grabbing a 24-yard jump ball to set up Jason Elam‘s 39-yard field goal 5:10 into overtime at Invesco Field at Mile High. This was the lowest-scoring game in the 93 times the AFC West rivals have met — and the only one without a touchdown.


7              SDG 34-23   10/19/2009

Highlight of the McD era. I remember watching this one in the dorms and was so pleased. Eddie Royal had two return TDs and defense had 5 sacks of Rivers, including a strip sack and some to help close it out.  Pushed us to 6-0 and SD down to 2-3. It was fun while it lasted. Highlights

10           DAL 17-10   10/4/2009

The Broncos took the lead on Brandon Marshall‘s 51-yard touchdown catch from Kyle Orton with 1:46 remaining. The Broncos held on to stage a goal line stand, when Champ Bailey batted away a Tony Romo pass intended for Sam Hurd in the end zone.

2              BUF 28-14   9/18/1989

From The Associated Press: Denver’s big-play defense (led by new defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips), sparked by interceptions from Wymon Henderson and Tyrone Braxton, helped the Broncos build a 21-0 lead and they held on for a 28-14 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Denver, which had lost 10 of its last 11 Monday night road games and its last eight games on artificial turf, turned all those negatives around with some positive defense

15           DAL 42-23   9/13/1998

One of only 2 regular season game from 1998 to make this list. The Broncos embarrassed a good Cowboys team, with TD rushing for 191 yards and 3 TDs (breakaway TD runs of 63 and 59 yards), and Elway going an efficient 16 for 22 for 268 yards and 2 TDs. Aikman was knocked out of the game and Jason Garret filled in. Boxscore


1              CIN 20-17   12/28/2015

The Broncos even making the playoffs wasn’t guaranteed if the Broncos lost this game, and the Broncos found themselves down 14-0 early on.  The defense finally put their hurt on, and a long CJ Anderson run helped the Broncos force OT despite a missed FG by McManus. The Broncos forced a turnover to end the game and clinch a playoff birth.  Highlights. BoxScore.

16           CIN 12-7   9/13/2009

From The Associated Press: Brandon Stokley caught the deflected pass, turned and looked upfield. Nobody stood between him and the end zone. Unbelievable! In the time it takes to sprint the length of the field, Stokley ran Denver out of a crushing loss and into franchise lore. His 87-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left on Sunday provided a 12-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals


8              PIT 31-28   10/21/2007

Jason Elam kicked his third game-winning field on the season, this time from 49 yards out, as time expired to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28. Rookie Tim Crowder had a 50-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, and Jay Cutler threw three TD passes in the win.

9              RAI 16-13   9/30/1984

Broncos forced 2 Jim Plunkett interceptions, and held Marcus Allen to only 66 yards rushing, as they upset the Raiders in LA.  Again, this was a good, 11-5 Raiders squad, but one the Broncos managed to sweep.  The Broncos finished the season 13-3, but were ultimately upset by the Steelers in the playoffs.


5              NWE 27-21   9/7/1998

This Monday night game to kick off the season wasn’t as close as the score would indicate.  The Broncos jumped out to a big lead and never let the Patriots within 10 until they gave up a charity TD against a prevent defense when the game was essentially over.  TD ran for 2 TDs, and the Broncos set the tone for their title defense.

12           SFO 17-16   11/11/1985

This contest, better known as the Snowball Game, was notable for a play in which spectators at Denver‘s Mile High Stadium disrupted a 49ers field goal attempt by throwing snowballs from the stands. After the game, referee Jim Tunney explained, “We have no recourse in terms of a foul or to call it on the home team or the fans. There’s nothing in the rule book that allows us to do that.” He ordered an increase in stadium security at halftime, and no further incidents occurred.


4              SDG 35-24   10/15/2012

In what is arguably the greatest comeback in Denver Broncos history, the Broncos erased a 24-0 halftime deficit to win 35-24. At halftime, many were calling the Peyton Manning signing a mistake and to bring back Tim Tebow. In the second half, Manning completed 13 of 14 pass attempts for 167 yards and three touchdowns. The Broncos Defense also scored two second half touchdowns. Since this contest, the Broncos have gone a remarkable 34-11 in regular season play, which culminated in last season’s Super Bowl 50 victory. Andrew Mason recently wrote a great write-up about this game.

13           TEN 34-20   11/19/2007

Had no memory of this one, but was surprised to find highlights of it, although the announcing was quite annoying.  Another Monday Night home game. Broncos came in at 4-5, needing a win against the 6-3 Vince Young led Titans to keep their season alive.  The Broncos horrendous defense forced 3 turnovers, and Glenn Martinez returned a punt for a TD.  Cutler put up one of the best games in his young career going 16/21 for 2 TDs.


6              SFO 16-13   10/9/1988

Rich Karlis kicked a game-winning 22-yard field goal in overtime at San Francisco. In the fourth quarter, John Elway connected with Vance Johnson on an 8-yard touchdown pass to send the game to overtime. The 49ers would go on to capture a Super Bowl title that season, followed by a Super Bowl repeat in 1989 at the expense of the Broncos. 

11           IND 31-24   9/7/2014

In the Broncos first game since their super bowl debacle, the Broncos defeated the Colts in a Sunday Night home opener. The Broncos D forced 2 turnovers, and had a strange goal line stand when Indy tried to go no huddle on 4th and inches. The Broncos offense started the game like it was still 2013, and built up a 24-0 lead.  However, we let Indy back into the game due to a stagnant offense and JT not recovering an onside kick.

I was at this game with my best friend, and he commented that it was a good thing the D had to a make a stand to win the game, as it would give them confidence later on in the season.  Little did we know that a year later the Defense would start winning most of the games for the team.  Highlights.


3              SEA 31-14   12/15/1984

Both teams came into this at 12-3, meaning the winner would be Crowned the AFC West champion.  The Broncos rose to the occasoin on the road, and overcame 4 John Elway interceptions by forcing 3 of their own, including 1 INT by Mecklenburg, and another by Foley that he returned for a TD  to give the Broncos a commanding  24-7 lead.

14           OAK 33-24   9/17/2000

The Broncos forced four turnovers, including a Trevor Pryce 28-yard fumble return for a touchdown. With the victory, the Broncos moved to 5-1 in games played at Oakland following the Raiders return to the Bay Area after the 1994 season. 


7              OAK 27-24   11/13/2000

Monday night game against an Oak team that was the clear cut best in the league  (they finished the year 12-4, with 2 losses coming against the Broncos). Greise got knocked out with a separated shoulder and came back to lead the team to victory. He talked after the game about hearing his should pop in and out on certain throws. He lead the team on a 7 play 44 yard drive to give the Broncos the game winning FG and avoid OT with only 1:06 to go. The defense also forced 3 turnovers, including 2 Rich Gannon INTs.

This was the Last Monday night game at mile high.  Yamule has pointed out that Griese was having a phenomenal season, and was never the same after this game. Highlights. ESPN Game Recap

10           KAN 19-16   10/20/1991

David Treadwell kicked a 27-yard field goal to win this game played at Mile High Stadium. Treadwell was four for four on field goals that day. Treadwell’s kicking troubles would later cost the Broncos that season in a home defeat to the Los Angeles Raiders and in the AFC Championship Game at Buffalo, where he missed all three of his field goal attempts.


2              IND 31-17   12/21/2003

From The Associated Press: Clinton Portis just knew his teammates would take Denver into the playoffs. Quentin Griffin, Mike Anderson and Jake Plummer didn’t disappoint. With an injured Portis cheering from the sideline, Griffin ran for 136 yards, Anderson added 56 yards and a touchdown and Plummer ran for two scores as the Broncos’ pounded Indianapolis 31-17. Two weeks later, the Broncos would be humiliated in Indianapolis by Peyton Manning’s five touchdown passes, 377 yards passing, and only four incompletions. 

15           BAL 21-19   12/11/1983

I’ll admit I fiddled with the scoring system to make sure this game made the cut.  The Broncos were down 19-0 in the 4th quarter when a Rookie John Elway took the field and lead the Broncos to three straight scoring drives for his first 4QC and GWD, eliminating the team that drafted him from playoff contention, and helping propel the Broncos to a wildcard spot.  I’d love it if older fans would comment on this game, rather than me regurgitating what I can find online. This was also Gradishar’s last game in Denver. Story Summary Highlights.


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Lifelong Broncos fan and current Engineer living and working in Denver.