The Denver Broncos enter Sunday night’s matchup with the Chiefs holding an 11-game losing streak in the series, tied for the longest losing streak by either side in the history of the series.
Why should we believe that this time will be any different?
Well, for starters, this iteration of the Broncos defense is a different beast. It has impressive talent from top to bottom, and the depth to survive the numerous injuries its had to face this season.
“We’ve had a lot of change in our whole defense, so it’s really been a week-to-week thing of bringing guys up to speed,” defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said Thursday. “Really, it points to our assistant coaches. [Linebackers Coach] Reggie [Herring] at the linebacker position and [Outside Linebackers Coach] John Pagano at the outside backers—we’ve had to play replacement players. [Defensive Pass Game Specialist] Chris Beake has been working with our nickels and our safeties because we’ve had guys make their first starts. [Defensive Backs Coach] Christian Parker has done great job with Pat Surtain [II]. It’s all those guys. We had a high expectation that we’d have all those guys the whole season, and it really hasn’t been that. It’s really down to how can you win each and every week.”
That survivability has been paramount these last few weeks with the Broncos beat up at seemingly every position defensively, but they’re starting to get healthy at the right time.
They got Bradley Chubb back last week, which should provide a huge boost to the defense.
“[Chubb] brings that toughness to the edge. I think he just raises our level. Everybody feels better when he’s in there, so it’s a confidence level. We know we’re a stronger team when he’s in there,” Donatell told the media. “[his presence] is definitely helpful. Ask the other guys inside. His biggest thing is he wants to make another step this week and do some things to help us win the game.”
Chubb, as well as everyone else on the Broncos roster not named Brandon McManus, have yet to beat the Chiefs yet in their career, so you can be sure that they want this one badly.
They’ll have to be at their best if they want to slow star quarterback Patrick Mahomes and this deadly Chiefs offense though.
“When you play a game like this, they’re going to have some positive plays,” Donatell admitted to the press. “The quicker you can learn from them and move on really matters because you’ve got to play the next one. There are all phases of the game, and sometimes you have to make a stand in the red zone to finish things. It is demoralizing. You can have a great call and have everybody in the perfect position, and he [Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes] makes a special, special throw placement on you and you just move on. Move on to the next one because that’s what counts.”