ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have lost 11 consecutive games to the Kansas City Chiefs since scoring two touchdowns in the final 36 seconds for a stunning 31-24 win at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 27, 2015.
That comeback propelled the Broncos on their Super Bowl 50-winning season, but the only remaining member of that team is kicker Brandon McManus, who has fallen to 2-11 against the Chiefs in his career.
McManus and the Broncos (6-5) get another shot at the Chiefs (7-4) Sunday night and an upset would propel Denver to the top of the AFC West.
They'll have to overcome a lot to get there: the crowd, the talent-laden Chiefs who have been kings of the AFC for three years and are rolling again, Patrick Mahomes, who's 7-0 against them, and even history: they're just 3-29 at Kansas City in December.
McManus actually isn't the only man on this Denver roster who's tasted success against the Chiefs. Six of his teammates have beaten Kansas City with other teams — although, none of those wins has come after 2015.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater beat K.C. 16-10 while with the Vikings in 2015 and he almost led the Panthers past the Chiefs last year before Kansas City pulled out a 33-31 win.
Broncos defensive lineman Shamar Stephen was on Bridgewater's team in Minnesota when they beat K.C. in 2015.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller beat the Chiefs in 2015 while with the Bears. tackle Bobbie Massie was with the Cardinals when they beat Kansas City in 2014. Tackle Cam Fleming was with the Patriots when they beat K.C. in the playoffs after the 2014 season.
Safety Kareem Jackson went 1-4 against Kansas City before his arrival in Denver in 2019. It was a 35-31 win by Houston way back in 2010. Unlike Bridgewater, Stephen and Fuller, Jackson lost twice to the Patriots in 2015, once in the regular season and once in the playoffs.
And running back Melvin Gordon lost all 10 of his games against Kansas City while he was with the Chargers, so he's now 0-12 against the Chiefs in his career.
The players on the Broncos' roster who have beaten the Chiefs as members of another team are a combined 6-31.
Throw in McManus' 2-11 mark and players on this roster who have beaten Kansas City are a combined 8-42.
The Broncos insist they're not even talking about their 11-game losing streak to the Chiefs this week, however.
“No,” coach Vic Fangio said dismissively when asked if it's a point of conversation or even motivation this week.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid feigned ignorance of the streak when asked about it on a conference call with Denver reporters.
Bridgewater said players aren't even talking about the streak amongst themselves.
“Naw. Some things you just don’t talk about," Bridgewater said. "We look for what’s ahead of us. We can’t dwell on the past. It’s another opportunity. I’m sure they’re not sitting there saying, ‘We’re 11-0 or 10-0 against Justin Simmons or 6-0 against Bradley Chubb.’
"They see it as another divisional game, and we see it the same way.”
The Broncos fanbase and Denver reporters certainly do not. This game is being hyped as Denver's biggest since its Super Bowl win over Carolina that capped Peyton Manning's career.
Manning is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after the requisite five-year minimum wait and the Broncos still haven't gotten back to the playoffs.
Despite a rash of injuries and the trade of Von Miller last month, the Broncos feel as if they finally have some dynamic playmakers that can counter the likes of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, however.
Their terrific draft class features first-round cornerback Pat Surtain II, whose uncommon mix of size and speed was more appealing to new general manager George Paton than any of the quarterbacks that were available in the draft.
“The more quality guys you have," said Denver defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, “the better chance you have against these guys.”
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Arnie Stapleton, The Associated Press