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2012 Denver Broncos season
Head Coach John Fox
Home Field Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Results
Record 13–3
Place 1st AFC West
Playoff Finish L Divisional Playoffs (Ravens) 38–35 (2OT)
Pro Bowlers
Uniform
275px
Timeline
Previous season Next season
2011 2013

The 2012 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 43rd season in the National Football League, the 53rd overall and the second under head coach John Fox. The offseason was dominated by the signing of former Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning on March 20, leading to the team trading incumbent quarterback Tim Tebow and a seventh-round selection to the New York Jets in exchange for two draft selections. While the Broncos did not have a first-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the team selected Derek Wolfe as the team's first pick in the second round of the draft.

Throughout the season, Peyton Manning set numerous individual, team and league records, including 300-yard passing games, game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime and new Broncos' single-season franchise records for passing yardage, pass completions and touchdown passes. Another team record that was set during the season was linebacker Von Miller's 18.5 quarterback sacks.

After a 2–3 start to the season, the Broncos finished the regular season on an eleven-game winning streak, and with a record of 13–3, the team exceeded their win total from the previous two seasons combined. The Broncos won their second consecutive AFC West division title, as well as earning a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the 2012–13 NFL playoffs, but were narrowly defeated by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional round by a double-overtime score of 38–35.


Coaching and front-office changesEdit

  • January 17: Matt Russell, who served as the team's director of college scouting during the past three seasons, was promoted to director of player personnel.[1] That same day, the Broncos announced that Rich Tuten, the team's strength and conditioning coach since 1995, will not return for the 2012 season.[2]
  • May 7: The Broncos parted ways with general manager Brian Xanders after four seasons. The team never did announce a replacement.[6]
  • May 14: Wayne Nunnely, who served as the team's defensive line coach during the past three seasons, retired. His position was filled by Jay Rodgers, who served as a coaching assistant during the past three seasons.[7]
  • May 29: Cory Undlin was hired as the new defensive quality control coach — a position previously held by Jay Rodgers. Undlin previously worked on Jack Del Rio's staff with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the previous three seasons.[8]

Roster changesEdit

Free agents Edit

Position Player Tag 2012 Team Notes
RB Lance Ball ERFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 13,[9] re-signed March 20[10]
LS David Binn UFA None
DT Brodrick Bunkley UFA New Orleans Saints signed with the Saints on March 21[11]
OT Chris Clark ERFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 13,[9] re-signed April 6[10]
P Britton Colquitt ERFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 13,[9] re-signed April 4[12]
S Brian Dawkins UFA retired on April 23[13]
TE Daniel Fells UFA New England Patriots signed with the Patriots on March 19[14]
LB Mario Haggan UFA St. Louis Rams signed with the Rams on May 15[15]
DE Derrick Harvey UFA Cincinnati Bengals signed with the Bengals on March 23[16]
C/G Russ Hochstein UFA Arizona Cardinals signed with the Cardinals on July 26[17]
DE Jason Hunter UFA Denver Broncos re-signed March 29,[18] placed on injured reserve August 27[19]
FB Spencer Larsen UFA New England Patriots signed with the Patriots on March 22[20]
DT Ryan McBean RFA Baltimore Ravens assigned tender on March 13,[9] tender rescinded April 16,[21]
signed with the Ravens on May 7[22]
LB Joe Mays UFA Denver Broncos re-signed March 18,[23] placed on injured reserve October 30[24]
PK Matt Prater UFA Denver Broncos assigned franchise tag on March 5,[25] signed 4-year contract on July 2[26]
QB Brady Quinn UFA Kansas City Chiefs signed with the Chiefs on March 18[27]
G Manny Ramirez UFA Denver Broncos re-signed March 22[28]
TE Dante Rosario UFA San Diego Chargers signed with the Chargers on March 21[29]
WR Eddie Royal UFA San Diego Chargers signed with the Chargers on March 15[30]
DT Marcus Thomas UFA New York Giants signed with the Giants on August 16[31]
CB Jonathan Wilhite UFA Chicago Bears signed with the Bears on April 6[32]
WR Matthew Willis RFA Denver Broncos assigned tender on March 13,[9] re-signed April 16[33]
LB Wesley Woodyard UFA Denver Broncos re-signed March 22[28]
Player re-signed by the Broncos

SigningsEdit

Position Player Tag 2011 team Notes
S Mike Adams UFA Cleveland Browns signed March 15,[34] on final roster
DT Justin Bannan UFA St. Louis Rams signed April 11,[35] on final roster
LB Keith Brooking UFA Dallas Cowboys signed August 6,[36] on final roster
WR Andre Caldwell UFA Cincinnati Bengals signed March 22,[28] on final roster
G C. J. Davis UFA Carolina Panthers signed February 15,[37]
waived September 11,[38]
assigned to the practice squad on September 13[39]
promoted to active roster September 18,[40] on final roster
TE Joel Dreessen UFA Houston Texans signed March 23,[41] on final roster
CB Drayton Florence UFA Buffalo Bills signed May 10,[42] released August 31[43]
QB Caleb Hanie UFA Chicago Bears signed March 24,[44]
released September 8,[45]
re-signed September 11,[38] on final roster
RB Jacob Hester UFA San Diego Chargers signed November 26,[46] on final roster
WR Jason Hill UFA Jacksonville Jaguars signed February 15,[37] released August 31[43]
WR/RS Trindon Holliday WVR Houston Texans claimed off waivers from the Texans on October 11,[47] on final roster
WR Cameron Kenney WVR Seattle Seahawks signed August 1,[48] waived August 27[49]
C Dan Koppen UFA New England Patriots signed September 11,[38] on final roster
S Jim Leonhard UFA New York Jets signed August 4,[50] on final roster
QB Peyton Manning UFA Indianapolis Colts signed to a five-year contract on March 20,[51] on final roster
LB Mike Mohamed Practice squad player promoted to the active roster on September 29,[52] waived October 1[53]
CB Tracy Porter UFA New Orleans Saints signed March 22,[54] on final roster
DT Sealver Siliga Practice squad player promoted to the active roster on September 8,[45] on final roster
WR Brandon Stokley UFA New York Giants signed April 16,[55] on final roster
TE Jacob Tamme UFA Indianapolis Colts signed March 23,[56] on final roster

Signing of Peyton ManningEdit

On March 20, 2012, the Broncos reached an agreement with former Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning on a five-year, $96 million contract. Manning missed the entire 2011 season following multiple neck surgeries, and was released by the Colts two weeks earlier on March 7, one day before the Colts were due to pay him a $28 million roster bonus.[57] The Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans were also in pursuit of the former Colts' quarterback; however, Manning informed Broncos' personnel to begin contract negotiations with the team on March 19,[58] and he was introduced as the Broncos' new quarterback in a press conference at the team's headquarters in Dove Valley the following day.[59]

The language of the contract contains the following conditions: Manning did not suffer a setback in his recovery from neck surgery prior to the end of the 2012 season; therefore, the Broncos owed Manning $18 million for the 2012 season. Manning passed a physical exam at the beginning of the 2013 league year,[60] but if he suffers an injury to any part of his body other than his neck during the 2013 season, the Broncos will owe Manning $40 million through the 2014 season. The remaining years of the contract ($19 million apiece for 2015 and 2016) are dependent on Manning passing a physical exam prior to each season.[61]

DeparturesEdit

Position Player Notes
CB André Goodman released April 13[62]
LB Brian Iwuh retired April 17[63]
LS Lonie Paxton released August 27[49]

TradesEdit

2012 draft classEdit

Round Selection Player Position College Signed Injured reserve Notes
1 None [66]
2 36 Derek Wolfe DT Cincinnati May 21[67]
57 Brock Osweiler QB Arizona State July 24[68]
3 67 Ronnie Hillman RB San Diego State July 24[68] [64] [66] [69]
4 101 Omar Bolden CB Arizona State May 17[70]
108 Philip Blake C Baylor June 1[71] September 18[40]
5 137 Malik Jackson DE Tennessee May 18[72] [73] [74]
6 188 Danny Trevathan LB Kentucky May 22[75] [64] [76]
7 None

Undrafted free agentsEdit

All undrafted free agents were signed just after the 2012 NFL Draft concluded on April 28,[77] unless noted otherwise.

Position Player College Notes
DE Jamie Blatnick Oklahoma State waived August 31,[43]
assigned to practice squad September 11,[78]
released from practice squad October 13[79]
LS Aaron Brewer San Diego State on final roster
LB Elliot Coffey Baylor waived August 27[49]
LB Jerry Franklin Arkansas waived August 31[43]
S Duke Ihenacho San Jose State waived August 31,[43]
assigned to practice squad September 1,[80]
promoted to active roster September 29,[52]
waived October 11,[47]
assigned to practice squad October 13,[79]
promoted to active roster October 30,[24]
waived November 13[81]
LB Steven Johnson Kansas on final roster
CB Coryell Judie Texas A&M waived July 25[82]
TE Anthony Miller California waived August 27[49]
WR Eric Page Toledo waived July 25[82]
OT Mike Remmers Oregon State waived August 27[49]
S Anthony Perkins Colorado signed July 28,[83] waived August 27[49]
WR Gerell Robinson Arizona State waived August 31[43]
G Wayne Tribue Temple waived August 31,[43]
assigned to practice squad September 1,[80]
released from practice squad September 11[38]
G Austin Wuebbels Missouri waived August 27[49]

Notable injuriesEdit

  • August 4: Running back Mario Fannin suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during training camp, and was placed on injured reserve. Fannin missed the entire 2011 season following a knee injury during the preseason last year.[84]
  • August 14: Guard Chris Kuper suffered a broken forearm during practice. He not only missed the remainder of the preseason, but also missed the first five games of the regular season.[85][86] Also on August 14, defensive end Jason Hunter suffered torn triceps, and was initially expected to miss at least two months,[87] but was placed on injured reserve on August 27.[19]
  • October 1: Center J. D. Walton was placed on injured reserve, after suffering a dislocated ankle during the team's Week 4 win over the Oakland Raiders the previous day.[88]
  • November 21: Running back Willis McGahee was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list, two days after suffering a ruptured MCL and compression fracture in his right knee, during the team's Week 11 win over the San Diego Chargers. Under NFL rules, McGahee became eligible to return to practice on January 2, 2013 — three days after the regular season finale, and would have been eligible to return for the AFC championship game on January 20, had the Broncos made it that far into the postseason.[89]

StaffEdit

2012 Denver Broncos staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

Final rosterEdit

2012 Denver Broncos roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics
53 Active, 9 Inactive, 9 Practice squad

Other news and notesEdit

  • On March 9, linebacker D. J. Williams, defensive tackle Ryan McBean and tight end Virgil Green were each suspended by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Williams and McBean were each suspended for the first six games of the 2012 season, while Green was given a four-game suspension. Williams and McBean each challenged the suspensions and took legal action against the NFL.[90] McBean later signed with the Baltimore Ravens on May 7, three weeks after his restricted free agent tender was rescinded by the Broncos.[22] On August 27, a federal appeals court upheld Williams' suspension,[91] and on October 5, Williams was suspended for an additional three games by the NFL following his August conviction for a driving under the influence arrest in November 2010.[92] Green was reinstated to the active roster on October 1,[93] while Williams was reinstated to the active roster on November 17, the latter in time for the team's Week 11 game vs. the San Diego Chargers.[94]
  • The Broncos switched their primary home jersey color from navy blue to orange. The orange jerseys that served as the team's alternate colored jersey from 2002–2011 became the primary home jersey, while the navy blue jerseys that served as the team's primary home jersey from 1997–2011 switched to alternate designation. The change was made due to overwhelming popularity with fans, who clamored for the team to return to wearing orange at home, which was the team's predominant home jersey color from 1962–1996.[95] The Broncos used the now-alternate navy blue jerseys for their Week 11 game vs. the San Diego Chargers on November 18, 2012.[96]
  • On April 3, the Broncos, along with each of the other 31 NFL teams, unveiled the team's new uniforms for the 2012 season, with Nike replacing Reebok as the NFL's merchandising dealer. With the exceptions of a few tweaks (including the neckline), the team's uniform designs will remain the same as the previous seasons.[97]
  • Cornerback Tracy Porter missed more than half of the season, after experiencing aftereffects from a seizure that he suffered during the preseason. Porter began experiencing symptoms prior to the team's Week 6 game against the San Diego Chargers, and returned to practice on a limited basis over the next several weeks.[99] Porter returned to game action against the Cleveland Browns in Week 16, only to suffer a concussion and miss the Week 17 regular season finale and the playoffs.[100]
  • The Broncos set a new single-season franchise record for home attendance with 613,062 fans, surpassing the previous record of 612,893 that was set in 2007.[101]

ScheduleEdit

PreseasonEdit

The Broncos' preliminary preseason schedule was announced on April 4, 2012.[102] Exact dates and times for all games were finalized on April 17, when the regular season schedule was announced.[103]

Week Date Kickoff Opponent Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
1 August 9 6:30 p.m. MDT at Chicago Bears W 31–3 1–0 Soldier Field KTVD Recap
2 August 18 7:00 p.m. MDT Seattle Seahawks L 10–30 1–1 Sports Authority Field at Mile High KUSA Recap
3 August 26 2:00 p.m. MDT San Francisco 49ers L 24–29 1–2 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Fox Recap
4 August 30 9:00 p.m. MDT at Arizona Cardinals W 16–13 2–2 University of Phoenix Stadium NFLN/KTVD Recap

Regular seasonEdit

The Broncos' regular season schedule was announced on April 17, 2012.[103]

Week Date Kickoff Opponent Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
1 September 9 6:20 p.m. MDT Pittsburgh Steelers W 31–19 1–0 Sports Authority Field at Mile High NBC Recap
2 September 17 6:30 p.m. MDT at Atlanta Falcons L 21–27 1–1 Georgia Dome ESPN[a] Recap
3 September 23 2:25 p.m. MDT[104] Houston Texans L 25–31 1–2 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap
4 September 30 2:05 p.m. MDT Oakland Raiders W 37–6 2–2 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap
5 October 7 2:25 p.m. MDT[104] at New England Patriots L 21–31 2–3 Gillette Stadium CBS Recap
6 October 15 6:30 p.m. MDT at San Diego Chargers W 35–24 3–3 Qualcomm Stadium ESPN[a] Recap
7 Bye
8 October 28 6:20 p.m. MDT New Orleans Saints W 34–14 4–3 Sports Authority Field at Mile High NBC Recap
9 November 4 11:00 a.m. MST at Cincinnati Bengals W 31–23 5–3 Paul Brown Stadium CBS Recap
10 November 11 11:00 a.m. MST at Carolina Panthers W 36–14 6–3 Bank of America Stadium CBS Recap
11 November 18 2:25 p.m. MST[104] San Diego Chargers W 30–23 7–3 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap
12 November 25 11:00 a.m. MST at Kansas City Chiefs W 17–9 8–3 Arrowhead Stadium CBS Recap
13 December 2 2:05 p.m. MST Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 31–23 9–3 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Fox Recap
14 December 6 6:20 p.m. MST at Oakland Raiders W 26–13 10–3 O.co Coliseum NFLN[b] Recap
15 December 16 11:00 a.m. MST at Baltimore Ravens W 34–17 11–3 M&T Bank Stadium CBS Recap
16 December 23 2:05 p.m. MST Cleveland Browns W 34–12 12–3 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap
17 December 30 2:25 p.m. MST[104] Kansas City Chiefs W 38–3 13–3 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap
LEGEND
Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
^[a] Simulcast locally on KTVD.
^[b] Simulcast locally on KCNC-TV.

PostseasonEdit

Playoff round Date Kickoff Opponent (seed) Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
Wild Card First-round bye
Divisional January 12, 2013 2:30 p.m. MST Baltimore Ravens (4) L 35–38 (2OT) 0–1 Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS Recap

Game summariesEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Week 1: vs. Pittsburgh SteelersEdit

Week One: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 10 3 6

19

Broncos 0 7 7 17

31

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

The Broncos kicked off their 2012 season at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, in a rematch of their 2011 Wild Card playoff game. After a scoreless first quarter, the Steelers grabbed the lead, with a 21-yard field goal by placekicker Shaun Suisham. The Broncos responded, with running back Knowshon Moreno rushing for a 7-yard touchdown, but the Steelers countered, with a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to tight end Heath Miller just before halftime. In the third quarter, the Steelers added to their lead, with a 35-yard field goal by Suisham. The Broncos grabbed the lead, when quarterback Peyton Manning threw his 400th career touchdown pass — a 71-yarder to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, but the Steelers responded early in the fourth quarter, when Roethlisberger threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Wallace (with a failed two-point conversion attempt). With 9:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Broncos claimed the lead for good, when Manning threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Tamme (coupled with running back Willis McGahee receiving a pass from Manning for a two-point conversion), then added to their lead with a 26-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater, followed by cornerback Tracy Porter returning an interception off Roethlisberger 43 yards for a touchdown (with a failed two-point conversion attempt).[105]

With the win, the Broncos began the season at 1–0.

Week 2: at Atlanta FalconsEdit

Week Two: Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 7 0 14

21

Falcons 10 10 7 0

27

at Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

Following their season-opening win over the Steelers, the Broncos traveled to the Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. The Falcons converted three Broncos' turnovers into a 20–0 lead, with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Michael Turner, followed by field goals of 37 and 42 yards by placekicker Matt Bryant — the latter in the second quarter—and a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan to tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Broncos got on the scoreboard just before halftime, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The Falcons responded in the third quarter, with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to wide receiver Roddy White. The Broncos tried to rally in the fourth quarter, with running back Willis McGahee rushing for a pair of 2-yard touchdowns. However, the Falcons would run out the clock.[106]

With the loss, the Broncos dropped to 1–1.

Week 3: vs. Houston TexansEdit

Week Three: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Texans 7 14 10 0

31

Broncos 5 6 0 14

25

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Hoping to rebound from their Monday Night loss in Atlanta, the Broncos returned home for an AFC duel with the Houston Texans. The Broncos jumped out to a 5–0 lead in the first quarter, with defensive end Elvis Dumervil sacking Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub in the end zone for a safety, followed by a 32-yard field goal placekicker Matt Prater. However, the Texans would reel off 21 unanswered points, with Schaub throwing three touchdown passes — a 60-yarder to wide receiver Andre Johnson, followed in the second quarter by a 3-yarder to running back Arian Foster and a 52-yarder to wide receiver Kevin Walter. The Broncos narrowed the Texans' lead to 21–11 at halftime, with a pair of field goals by Prater — from 23 and 53 yards. The Texans increased their lead in the third quarter, with a 41-yard field goal by placekicker Shayne Graham, followed by a 14-yard touchdown pass from Schaub to tight end Owen Daniels. Trailing 31–11 with 10:20 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Broncos tried to rally, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a pair of touchdown passes — a 38-yarder to wide receiver Brandon Stokley and a 6-yarder to tight end Joel Dreessen to narrow Houston's lead to 31–25 with three minutes remaining. After forcing a Texans' punt, the Broncos got the football back with 20 seconds remaining, but the Texans' defense stood their ground.[107]

With the loss, the Broncos fell to 1–2.

FootnoteEdit

Former wide receiver Rod Smith, who played with the Broncos from 1994–2007, was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame during halftime. Smith is the Broncos' franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.[108]

Week 4: vs. Oakland RaidersEdit

Week Four: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 3 3 0 0

6

Broncos 10 0 21 6

37

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: September 30
  • Game time: 2:05 p.m. MDT
  • Game weather: 72 °F (22 °C), mostly sunny
  • Game attendance: 76,787
  • Referee: Pete Morelli
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book

Hoping to snap a two-game losing streak, the Broncos remained on home ground for an AFC West duel against the Oakland Raiders. The Broncos grabbed the early lead, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen. The Raiders responded, with a 38-yard field goal by placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, but the Broncos countered, with a 21-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater at the end of the first quarter. A 24-yard field goal by Janikowski just before halftime was the only scoring play of the second quarter. The Broncos' offense exploded in the third quarter, with Manning connecting on a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker, followed by a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Willis McGahee and a 14-yard touchdown pass from Manning to running back Lance Ball. Prater added field goals of 43 and 53 yards in the fourth quarter.[109]

With the win, the Broncos not only improved to 2–2, but also snapped a four-game home losing streak against the Raiders.

FootnoteEdit

Linebacker Joe Mays was suspended for this game and fined $50,000 by the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Houston Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub, during the Broncos' loss to the Texans in Week 3.[110]

InjuriesEdit

Center J. D. Walton suffered a dislocated ankle late in the second quarter, and was placed on the season-ending injured reserve the following day (October 1).[88]

Week 5: at New England PatriotsEdit

Week Five: Denver Broncos at New England Patriots – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 7 7 7

21

Patriots 7 10 14 0

31

at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

  • Date: October 7
  • Game time: 4:25 p.m. EDT/2:25 p.m. MDT[104]
  • Game weather: 54 °F (12 °C), showers
  • Game attendance: 68,756
  • Referee: Gene Steratore
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book

Coming off their dominating win over the Raiders, the Broncos traveled to Foxborough, Massachusetts to face the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. This was the 13th meeting between quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady since 2001. The Patriots grabbed the early lead, with Brady connecting on an 8-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Wes Welker. The Broncos responded early in the second quarter, with Manning tossing a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen. However, the Patriots reeled off 24 unanswered points, with running back Shane Vereen rushing for a 1-yard touchdown, a 23-yard field goal by placekicker Stephen Gostkowski just before halftime, followed in the third quarter by Brady scoring a 1-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak and running back Stevan Ridley rushing for an 8-yard touchdown. The latter touchdown occurred after a Manning fumble deep in Broncos' territory. The Broncos responded, with Manning throwing a pair of touchdown passes — a 2-yarder to wide receiver Eric Decker, followed in the fourth quarter by a 5-yarder to wide receiver Brandon Stokley to close the gap to 31–21 with 6:43 remaining. Following a Patriots' fumble, the Broncos were attempting to rally, however, running back Willis McGahee fumbled the football at the Patriots' 14-yard line with 3:48 remaining, halting the Broncos' rally attempt. The Patriots subsequently ran out the clock.[111]

Tom Brady improved his head-to-head record against Peyton Manning to 9–4.[111]

With the loss, the Broncos dropped to 2–3.

Week 6: at San Diego ChargersEdit

Week Six: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 0 14 21

35

Chargers 10 14 0 0

24

at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

  • Date: October 15
  • Game time: 6:30 p.m. MDT/5:30 p.m. PDT
  • Game weather: 78 °F (26 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 68,604
  • Referee: Jeff Triplette
  • TV announcers (ESPN[a]): Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Jon Gruden (color commentator) and Lisa Salters (sideline reporter)
  • Recap, Game book

Hoping to rebound from their loss at New England, the Broncos traveled to Qualcomm Stadium for an AFC West duel with the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football. The Chargers jumped out to a 10–0 lead in the first quarter, with a 32-yard field goal by placekicker Nick Novak, followed by a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Philip Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates. Both scores came off Broncos' miscues on special teams — the former occurred after Trindon Holliday muffed a punt return, while the latter occurred after Omar Bolden coughed up the football on a kickoff return. The Broncos were attempting to narrow the Chargers' lead midway through the second quarter, but wide receiver Eric Decker stumbled near the Chargers' 30-yard line when it appeared that he was headed to the end zone for an easy touchdown, after receiving a 55-yard pass from quarterback Peyton Manning. Three plays later, Manning threw an interception that was returned by Chargers' cornerback Quentin Jammer 80 yards for a touchdown. The Chargers increased their lead to 24–0 just before halftime, with Rivers connecting on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Gates.[112]

The Broncos then staged one of the most memorable comebacks in Monday Night Football history. On the opening drive of the second half, Manning led the Broncos on an 8-play, 85-yard drive, culminating with a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. On the Chargers' next possession, Broncos' defensive end Elvis Dumervil forced a fumble off Rivers, and cornerback Tony Carter scooped up the football and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. After the Broncos' defense forced a three-and-out, Manning hooked up with Decker on a 7-yard touchdown pass to pull the Broncos within 24–21 early in the fourth quarter. On the Chargers' next possession, Carter picked off Rivers, and four plays later, Manning tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley to give the Broncos a 28–24 lead with 9:09 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Chargers were attempting to rally, but Rivers was intercepted by cornerback Chris Harris with 6:54 remaining. However, the Broncos were forced to punt seven plays later, giving the Chargers' offense the football with four minutes remaining. The Chargers once again tried to rally, but six plays later, Harris stepped in front of another Rivers' pass, returning an interception 46 yards for a touchdown, sealing the win for the Broncos.[112]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 3–3 entering their bye week.

Week 8: vs. New Orleans SaintsEdit

Week Eight: New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 0 7 0 7

14

Broncos 7 10 7 10

34

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: October 28
  • Game time: 6:20 p.m. MDT
  • Game weather: 59 °F (15 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 76,832
  • Referee: Mike Carey
  • TV announcers (NBC): Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color commentator) and Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter)
  • Recap, Game book

Coming off their miraculous comeback in San Diego and subsequent bye week, the Broncos returned home for an interconference duel against the New Orleans Saints. The Broncos grabbed the lead in the first quarter, with running back Willis McGahee rushing for a 1-yard touchdown. On the Broncos' next possession, McGahee committed a fumble, and the Saints responded early in the second quarter, with quarterback Drew Brees throwing his 300th career touchdown pass — a 29-yarder to running back Darren Sproles. On the Saints' next possession, Brees was intercepted by linebacker Wesley Woodyard, and the Broncos dominated the remainder of the game. Quarterback Peyton Manning tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker and placekicker Matt Prater nailed a 33-yard field goal to close out the first half. The Broncos increased their lead in the third quarter, with Manning connecting on a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, then pulled away in the fourth quarter, with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Decker and another 33-yard field goal by Prater. The Saints scored a late touchdown, with Brees connecting on an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Jimmy Graham, but the game had already been decided in the Broncos' favor.[113]

Drew Brees surpassed John Elway for sixth on the NFL's all-time list for touchdown passes. However, Brees' personal record dropped to 0–7 in games played at Denver.[113]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 4–3.

InjuriesEdit

Linebacker Joe Mays suffered a fractured fibula on a kickoff return during the fourth quarter, and was placed on the season-ending injured reserve the following day (October 29).[24]

Week 9: at Cincinnati BengalsEdit

Week Nine: Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 3 7 7 14

31

Bengals 0 3 10 10

23

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Date: November 4
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST/11:00 a.m. MST
  • Game weather: 48 °F (9 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 63,623
  • Referee: Scott Green
  • TV announcers (CBS): Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book

Coming off their dominating win over the Saints, the Broncos traveled to Paul Brown Stadium for an AFC duel with the Cincinnati Bengals. A 43-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater gave the Broncos an early lead, but the Bengals countered in the second quarter, with a 28-yard field goal by placekicker Mike Nugent. The Broncos responded, with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Manning to wide receiver Eric Decker. The Broncos added to their lead, when return specialist Trindon Holliday took the opening kickoff of the second half 105 yards for a touchdown. However, the Bengals would reel off 17 unanswered points, consisting of a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton to wide receiver A. J. Green, a 49-field goal by Nugent followed in the fourth quarter by running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushing for a 2-yard touchdown, with the latter two scores coming off Manning interceptions. This gave Cincinnati a 20–17 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Broncos re-claimed the lead on their next possession, with Manning connecting on a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen. Ten plays into the Bengals' next possession, Dalton was intercepted by cornerback Champ Bailey at the Bengals' 46-yard line, and the Broncos subsequently added to their lead eight plays later, with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Decker. Trailing 31–20 with 3:36 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bengals tried to rally, with Nugent nailing a 41-yard field goal with 52 seconds remaining, but the Broncos recovered the onside kick in the game's final minute and subsequently ran out the clock.[114]

Peyton Manning improved his personal record to 8–0 all-time in games against the Bengals.[114]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 5–3.

Week 10: at Carolina PanthersEdit

Week Ten: Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 10 7 12

36

Panthers 7 0 0 7

14

at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Date: November 11
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST/11:00 a.m. MST
  • Game weather: 71 °F (22 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 73,939
  • Referee: Alberto Riveron
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book
File:Peyton Manning 2012.JPG

Hoping to add to a three-game winning streak, the Broncos traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina for an interconference match-up with the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. This was Broncos' head coach John Fox's first visit to Carolina, where he served as head coach of the Panthers from 2002–2010. In the first quarter, the Panthers struck first, with quarterback Cam Newton connecting on a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen. However, the Broncos would reel off 29 unanswered points and dominate the remainder of the game. Quarterback Peyton Manning threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley. The Broncos grabbed the lead in the second quarter, with return specialist Trindon Holliday returning a punt 76 yards for a touchdown, followed by a 53-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater, then in the third quarter, cornerback Tony Carter returned an interception off Newton 40 yards for a touchdown. Prater added a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, followed by safety Mike Adams sacking Newton in the end zone for a safety. The Panthers responded in the fourth quarter, with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Newton to Olsen, but the Broncos put the game out of reach, with running back Ronnie Hillman rushing for a 5-yard touchdown.[115]

The Broncos' defense harassed Cam Newton throughout the game, sacking Newton seven times.[115]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 6–3.

Week 11: vs. San Diego ChargersEdit

Week Eleven: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Chargers 7 0 9 7

23

Broncos 0 17 7 6

30

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Hoping to add to a four-game winning streak, the Broncos returned home for an AFC West rematch with the San Diego Chargers. The Broncos wore their alternate navy blue jerseys in honor of the NFL's Salute to Service campaign. The Chargers grabbed the lead in the first quarter, with safety Eric Weddle returning an interception off Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning 23 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos responded early in the second quarter, with Manning connecting on a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. On the Chargers' next possession, quarterback Philip Rivers was intercepted by Broncos' safety Jim Leonhard deep in Chargers' territory. However, the Broncos had to settle for a 19-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. On the first play after the two-minute warning, Broncos' linebacker Nate Irving blocked Mike Scifres' punt, and on the next play, Manning threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley, giving the Broncos a 17–7 lead. The first points of the third quarter came from the Chargers, with linebacker Shaun Phillips sacking Manning in the end zone for a safety. After linebacker Wesley Woodyard recovered a Rivers' fumble deep in Chargers' territory, the Broncos increased their lead, with Manning throwing a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker. However, the Chargers responded late in the third quarter, with Rivers connecting on an 8-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Danario Alexander. A pair of field goals by Prater in the fourth quarter — from 30 and 32 yards—gave the Broncos a 30–16 lead with 4:14 remaining in the game. The Chargers tried to rally, with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Alexander with 1:24 remaining. However, the Broncos' recovered the onside kick, and subsequently ran out the clock.[96]

Nate Irving's block of a Mike Scifres' punt marked the first time since 2007 that the Broncos' special teams blocked a punt.[116]

With the win, the Broncos not only improved to 7–3, but also earned their first season sweep of the Chargers since 2005, and snapped the Chargers' three-game winning streak in Denver.

InjuriesEdit

Running back Willis McGahee suffered a ruptured MCL and compression fracture in his right knee during the second quarter, when his knee was hit by the helmet of Chargers' cornerback Quentin Jammer.[117] On November 21, McGahee was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list,[89] but missed the remainder of the season.

Week 12: at Kansas City ChiefsEdit

Week Twelve: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 7 7 3

17

Chiefs 6 0 3 0

9

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Date: November 25
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. CST/11:00 a.m. MST
  • Game weather: 52 °F (11 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 74,244
  • Referee: Jerome Boger
  • TV announcers (CBS): Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book

Hoping to add to a five-game winning streak, the Broncos traveled to Arrowhead Stadium for an AFC West duel with the Kansas City Chiefs. Two field goals by Chiefs' placekicker Ryan Succop — from 34 and 22 yards — game Kansas City a 6–0 lead in the first quarter. The Broncos grabbed the lead just before halftime, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Tamme. The Chiefs re-claimed the lead in the third quarter, with a 49-yard field goal by Succop, however, the Broncos responded, with Manning connecting on a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. For the last 4:41 of the third quarter and the first 8:36 of the fourth quarter, each team proceeded to trade punts, until the Broncos' offense got the football with 6:24 remaining in the game. The Broncos drove 68 yards in 12 plays, eating up 6:10 off the clock, culminating with placekicker Matt Prater nailing a 34-yard field goal with only 14 seconds remaining to give the Broncos some breathing room. The Broncos' defense thwarted the Chiefs' last desperation drive.[118]

With the hard-fought win, the Broncos improved to 8–3, matching their win total from 2011.

Week 13: vs. Tampa Bay BuccaneersEdit

Week Thirteen: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Buccaneers 10 0 0 13

23

Broncos 7 0 21 3

31

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Hoping to add to a six-game winning streak, the Broncos returned home for an interconference duel with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Broncos grabbed the early lead, when defensive tackle Mitch Unrein, lining up as a fullback, caught a 1–yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Manning. The Buccaneers responded, with a 31-yard field goal by placekicker Connor Barth, then grabbed the lead at the end of the first quarter, with quarterback Josh Freeman connecting on an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Clark. After a scoreless second quarter, the Broncos re-claimed the lead for good with 21 unanswered points, consisting of two Manning touchdown passes to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas — from 8 and 10 yards, followed by linebacker Von Miller returning an interception off Freeman 26 yards for a touchdown. After a Manning interception late in the third quarter, a 50-yard field goal by Barth to begin the fourth quarter narrowed the gap to 28–13, but the Broncos countered with a 31-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater. With 4:37 remaining in the game, the Buccaneers tried to rally, with a 55-yard field goal by Barth, followed by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Freeman to wide receiver Mike Williams with 2:39 remaining. However, the Buccaneers' onside kick attempt was unsuccessful, and the Broncos subsequently ran out the clock.[119]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 9–3, not only exceeding their win total from 2011, but also clinching their second consecutive AFC West division title. This was the 12th division title in the Broncos' franchise history, tying the Oakland Raiders for the all-time lead in AFC West championships since the 1970 AFL–NFL merger.[120] The Broncos also clinched consecutive division titles for the first time since 1986–87.[121]

Week 14: at Oakland RaidersEdit

Week Fourteen: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 10 3 13 0

26

Raiders 0 7 0 6

13

at O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California

Hoping to add to a seven-game winning streak, the Broncos traveled to the O.co Coliseum for an AFC West rematch with the Oakland Raiders. The Broncos jumped out to a 13–0 lead, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen, followed by field goals of 43 and 34 from placekicker Matt Prater, with the latter field goal occurring early in the second quarter. The Raiders got on the scoreboard late in the first half, with quarterback Carson Palmer throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to running back Darren McFadden. The Broncos added to their lead in the third quarter, with a 20-yard field goal by Prater, a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Knowshon Moreno and a 33-yard field goal by Prater. A 56-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (with a failed two-point conversion attempt) was the only scoring play of the fourth quarter, and the Broncos ran out the final 5:36 of the game.[122]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 10–3, not only earning their first season sweep of the Raiders since 2006, but also sweeping their division rivals on the road for the third time in four seasons.

Week 15: at Baltimore RavensEdit

Week Fifteen: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 3 14 14 3

34

Ravens 0 0 3 14

17

at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Date: December 16
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST/11:00 a.m. MST
  • Game weather: 53 °F (12 °C), cloudy
  • Game attendance: 71,317
  • Referee: Pete Morelli
  • TV announcers (CBS): Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book

Hoping to add to an eight-game winning streak, the Broncos traveled to M&T Bank Stadium for an AFC duel with the Baltimore Ravens, where the Broncos had never won in four previous regular-season meetings. A 27-yard field goal by Broncos' placekicker Matt Prater was the only scoring play of the first quarter. The Broncos increased their lead in the second quarter, with fullback Jacob Hester rushing for a 1-yard touchdown. The Ravens were threatening to narrow the Broncos' lead just before halftime; however, Broncos' cornerback Chris Harris stepped in front of a pass from Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco, returning an interception 98 yards for a touchdown. The Ravens finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter, with a 45-yard field goal by placekicker Justin Tucker. However, the Broncos added to their lead, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a 51-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker, followed by a 6-yard touchdown run from running back Knowshon Moreno to give the Broncos a commanding 31–3 lead. The Ravens finally got into the end zone early in the fourth quarter, with Flacco connecting on a 31-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Pitta, but the Broncos responded with a 36-yard field goal from Prater. The Ravens added one more score, with a 61-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Pitta, but the Broncos' lead was too much for the Ravens to overcome.[123]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 11–3, not only winning their ninth-consecutive game, but also earning their first-ever regular-season win in Baltimore in five tries.

Week 16: vs. Cleveland BrownsEdit

Week Sixteen: Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 3 0 3 6

12

Broncos 7 7 7 13

34

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: December 23
  • Game time: 2:05 p.m. MST
  • Game weather: 51 °F (11 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 76,351
  • Referee: Alberto Riveron
  • TV announcers (CBS): Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Dan Fouts (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book

Hoping to add to a nine-game winning streak, the Broncos returned home for an AFC match-up with the Cleveland Browns. On the game's opening drive, quarterback Peyton Manning threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The Browns got on the scoreboard, with a 27-yard field goal by placekicker Phil Dawson. A 10-yard touchdown pass from Manning to wide receiver Eric Decker was the only scoring play of the second quarter. The Browns narrowed the Broncos' lead early in the third quarter, with a 53-yard field goal by Dawson, but the Broncos would add 17 unanswered points to their lead, with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Decker, followed in the fourth quarter by a 27-yard field goal by placekicker Matt Prater and a 1-yard touchdown run by fullback Jacob Hester. The Browns finally scored a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, with quarterback Colt McCoy connecting on a 6-yard pass to wide receiver Greg Little (with an unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt), but the Broncos' lead was too much for the Browns to overcome. Prater added a 41-yard field goal to close out the scoring.[124]

The Broncos won their 10th consecutive game against the Browns, dating back to the 1991 season, and improved their all-time series record against the Browns to 22–5 (including the playoffs).[125]

With the win, the Broncos improved to 12–3, not only matching their win total from the two previous seasons combined, but also sweeping the AFC North division.

Week 17: vs. Kansas City ChiefsEdit

Week Seventeen: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Chiefs 0 3 0 0

3

Broncos 7 14 14 3

38

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: December 30
  • Game time: 2:25 p.m. MST[104]
  • Game weather: 35 °F (2 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 76,502
  • Referee: Ed Hochuli
  • TV announcers (CBS): Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Dan Fouts (color commentator)
  • Recap, Game book

Hoping to add to a ten-game winning streak and gain momentum into the playoffs, the Broncos remained at home for an AFC West divisional rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs, in the 2012 regular season finale. The Broncos grabbed the early lead in the first quarter, with running back Knowshon Moreno rushing for a 3-yard touchdown. The Chiefs got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter, with a 23-yard field goal by placekicker Ryan Succop, in what would be the Chiefs' only scoring play of the game. The Broncos later added to their lead, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing three touchdown passes — two to wide receiver Eric Decker — from 11 and 16 yards, followed in the third quarter by a 13-yarder to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The Broncos added another touchdown late in the third quarter, with running back Lance Ball rushing for a 1-yard touchdown. A 42-yard field goal by Broncos' placekicker Matt Prater in the fourth quarter was the last scoring play of the game.[126]

With the win, the Broncos not only finished the regular season with a 13–3 record, exceeding their win total from the two previous seasons combined, but also swept their AFC West division rivals for only the second time in franchise history, as well as earning their first season sweep of the Chiefs since 2007.[126] The win was also the 100th in John Fox's coaching career (including postseason games).[127] By virtue of the Houston Texans' 28–16 loss to the Indianapolis Colts earlier in the day, the Broncos clinched a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.[128]

PostseasonEdit

AFC Divisional Playoffs: vs. #4 Baltimore RavensEdit

AFC Divisional Playoffs: (#4) Baltimore Ravens at (#1) Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Ravens 14 7 7 7

38

Broncos 14 7 7 7

35

at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Following a first-round bye, the Broncos kicked off the divisional round of the 2012–13 NFL playoffs at home by welcoming the Baltimore Ravens, whom the Broncos defeated in Baltimore four weeks earlier. A 90-yard punt return for a touchdown by return specialist Trindon Holliday gave the Broncos the early lead. However, the Ravens quickly responded, with quarterback Joe Flacco connecting on a 59-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Torrey Smith, followed by cornerback Corey Graham returning an interception off Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning 39 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos tied the game, with Manning throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley, then re-claimed the lead midway through the second quarter, with Manning connecting on a 14-yard touchdown pass to running back Knowshon Moreno. The Broncos had an opportunity to add to their lead just after the two-minute warning, but placekicker Matt Prater missed a 52-yard field goal, giving the Ravens excellent field goal position with 1:16 remaining until halftime. Three plays later, Flacco connected on another touchdown pass to Smith — this one from 32 yards.[129]

Holliday took the opening kickoff of the second half 104 yards for a touchdown, but after a Manning fumble, the Ravens tied the game late in the third quarter, with running back Ray Rice rushing for a 1-yard touchdown. After each team's offense subsequently went three-and-out, the Broncos marched down the field on a 10-play, 88-yard drive, culminating with Manning throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas midway through the fourth quarter. The Ravens, on their next possession, marched 44 yards in eight plays, but turned the ball over on downs with 3:12 remaining in regulation. The Broncos achieved one first-down with 2:23 remaining, which forced the Ravens to start using the last two of their three remaining timeouts on defense. After the two-minute warning, the Ravens had exhausted all of their team timeouts, however, the Broncos failed to convert a critical third-down run, and were forced to punt, giving the Ravens the football with 1:15 remaining in regulation. Three plays later, and with no timeouts, Flacco launched a 70-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jacoby Jones to tie the game at 35 with 31 seconds remaining to force overtime.[129]

The Ravens won the overtime coin toss. Both teams were forced to punt on their first possessions. The Ravens once again were forced to punt on their next possession, and the Broncos' offense got the football with 3:37 remaining in the first overtime. However, seven plays into the Broncos' second overtime possession, Manning was intercepted again by Graham in Broncos' territory, giving the Ravens the football at the Broncos' 45-yard line with 1:01 remaining in the first overtime. Six plays later, Ravens' placekicker Justin Tucker nailed a game-winning 47-yard field early in the second overtime.[129]

With the heart-wrenching loss, the Broncos' season ended with an overall record of 13–4.

Final standingsEdit

AFC West
view · talk · edit W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Denver Broncos(1) 13 3 0 .813 6–0 10–2 481 289 W11
San Diego Chargers 7 9 0 .438 4–2 7–5 350 350 W2
Oakland Raiders 4 12 0 .250 2–4 4–8 290 443 L2
Kansas City Chiefs 2 14 0 .125 0–6 0–12 211 425 L4

StatisticsEdit

Team leaders
Statistic Player(s) Value
Passing yards Peyton Manning 4659[c]
Passing touchdowns Peyton Manning 37[c]
Rushing yards Willis McGahee 731
Rushing touchdowns Willis McGahee
Knowshon Moreno
4
Receiving yards Demaryius Thomas 1434
Receiving touchdowns Eric Decker 13
Points Matt Prater 133
Kickoff return yards Trindon Holliday 358
Punt return yards Trindon Holliday 334
Tackles Wesley Woodyard 117
Sacks Von Miller 18.5[c]
Forced fumbles Elvis Dumervil
Von Miller
6
Interceptions Chris Harris
Wesley Woodyard
3
Offense and defense rankings
Statistic Value Final rankings
AFC NFL
Total offense 397.9 YPG 2nd 4th
Passing offense 283.4 YPG 2nd 5th
Rushing offense 114.5 YPG 7th 16th
Scoring offense 30.1 PPG 2nd 2nd
Third down offense 96/213 (.451) 2nd 3rd
Total defense 290.8 YPG 2nd 2nd
Passing defense 199.6 YPG 3rd 3rd
Rushing defense 91.1 YPG 2nd 3rd
Scoring defense 18.1 PPG 1st 4th
Third down defense 66/216 (.306) 1st 1st
Sacks 52 1st T-1st
Forced fumbles 20 3rd T-5th
Interceptions 16 4th 13th
Turnover differential -1 7th T-17th
Special teams rankings
Statistic Value Final rankings
AFC NFL
Kickoff returns 23.1 YPR 9th 18th
Punt returns 9.3 YPR 12th 18th
Gross punting 46.3 YPP 11th 17th
Net punting 43.3 YPP 3rd 5th
Kickoff coverage 22.1 YPR 4th 7th
Punt coverage 6 YPR 1st 2nd

^[c] Indicates a new single-season franchise record for said statistic.[130][131]
Full statistics are available at NFL.com.[132]

RecordsEdit

Numerous individual, franchise and league records were either tied or broken during the season:

  • Britton Colquitt: Set a new franchise record for net punting, with an average of 42.1 net yards per punt. Colquitt surpassed his own record that he previously set during the 2011 season.[133]
  • Chris Harris: 98-yard interception return for a touchdown during the team's Week 15 win over the Baltimore Ravens set a new franchise record for the longest interception return in Broncos' regular-season history.[123]
  • Trindon Holliday:
    • Week 9: 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown set a new record for the longest play in Broncos' franchise history.[114]
    • Divisional playoffs: 90-yard punt return for a touchdown set a new record for the longest punt return in NFL playoff history, which was also the first punt return for a touchdown in Broncos' postseason history; became the first player in NFL history to return both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in a playoff game.[134]
  • Peyton Manning:
    • Week 3: Became the NFL's all-time leader in 300-yard passing games.[107]
    • Week 8: Set a new personal record for consecutive 300-yard passing games.[113]
    • Week 9: Surpassed Dan Marino for the NFL's all-time lead in game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.[114]
    • Week 11: Surpassed Dan Marino for second-place on the NFL's all-time list for touchdown passes.[116]
    • Week 12: Surpassed John Elway for second place on the NFL's all-time list for regular-season wins by a quarterback.[118]
    • Week 13: Surpassed Dan Marino for second on the NFL's all-time pass completions list and set a new Broncos' franchise record for touchdown passes in a single season.[120]
    • Week 14: Became the second quarterback in NFL history to achieve 5,000 career pass completions (joining Brett Favre), as well as the fastest quarterback to achieve that feat. He also achieved his NFL-record 12th season with at least 10 wins during a regular season.[135]
    • Week 17: Set new Broncos' single-season franchise records for pass completions and passing yardage;[130] surpassed Brett Favre on the NFL's all-time list for games with three or more touchdown passes[136] and set a new NFL record with a .707 pass completion percentage in games played during the month of December.[137]
    • Overall, Manning set new Broncos' single-season franchise records in pass completions (400), passing yardage (4,659), touchdown passes (37), pass completion percentage (.686) and passer rating (105.9).[130] He was also named to the AFC Pro Bowl for the 12th time in his career, the most by a quarterback in NFL history.[131]
  • Team:
    • Week 6: The Broncos' rally from a 24–0 halftime deficit during the team's Week 6 win over the San Diego Chargers tied the largest comeback in Monday Night Football history. The 35 points scored after halftime tied the highest amount of points that the Broncos scored in the second half,[112] and also marked the first time in NFL history that a team won a game by double-digits after trailing by at least 24 points at halftime.[138]
    • Season: Set a new single-season franchise record for scoring 30 or more points in 11 games.[139]

Awards and honorsEdit

Recipient Award(s)
Champ Bailey Named to the USA Football All Fundamentals Team[140]
Zane Beadles Named as the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year[141]
Ryan Clady Named to the USA Football All Fundamentals Team[140]
Trindon Holliday Week 9: AFC Special Teams Player of the Week[142]
Peyton Manning Week 6: AFC Offensive Player of the Week[143]
October: AFC Offensive Player of the Month[144]
Week 17: AFC Offensive Player of the Week[145]
December: AFC Offensive Player of the Month[137]
Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Athlete of the year[146]
2012 season: AFC Offensive Player of the Year[147]
2012 season: FedEx Air Player of the Year[148]
2012 season: Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year[148]
Von Miller Week 11: AFC Defensive Player of the Week[149]
November: AFC Defensive Player of the Month[150]
Voted to NFL.com's All-Under-25 Team[151]
Knowshon Moreno Week 15: AFC Offensive Player of the Week,[152] FedEx Ground Player of the Week[153]
Tracy Porter Week 1: AFC Defensive Player of the Week[154]
Matt Prater Week 4: AFC Special Teams Player of the Week[155]
Brandon Stokley 2012 season: DISH Unbeatable Value Player of the Year[156]
Wesley Woodyard Week 8: AFC Defensive Player of the Week[157]
Voted to USA Today's All-Joe Team[151]
Team Week 6: GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week (come-from-behind win)[158]

Pro Bowl and All-Pro selectionsEdit

Seven Broncos were elected to the 2013 Pro Bowl. Cornerback Champ Bailey, quarterback Peyton Manning and linebacker Von Miller were named as starters, while offensive tackle Ryan Clady and defensive end Elvis Dumervil were named as reserves.[159] Guard Zane Beadles and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas were later added to the game as injury replacements.[160] Clady and Miller, however, each withdrew from the game due to injuries.[161][162]

Clady, Manning and Miller were also voted to the 2012 All-Pro First Team, while Bailey was named to the Second Team.[163]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Jones, Lindsay (January 17, 2012). "Matt Russell gets promotion in Broncos personnel department". denverpost.com. http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/2012/01/17/russell-gets-promotion-in-personnel-department/11957/. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  2. Klis, Mike (January 17, 2012). "Broncos strength coach Rich Tuten not returning in 2012". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_19759484. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  3. Legwold, Jeff (January 24, 2012). "Raiders hire away Dennis Allen from Broncos for head coach job". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_19807184. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  4. Jones, Lindsay (January 27, 2012). "Broncos hire Jack Del Rio as defensive coordinator". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_19838894. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  5. Klis, Mike (February 3, 2012). "Broncos' John Elway hires new salary cap guru Mike Sullivan". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_19887005. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  6. Klis, Mike (May 7, 2012). "Broncos, GM Brian Xanders agree to part ways after four years in Denver". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_20568607/broncos-brian-xanders-agree-part-ways-after-four-years. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  7. Klis, Mike (May 14, 2012). "Broncos' Wayne Nunnely, longtime assistant coach, retires from NFL". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_20621635/broncos-wayne-nunnely-longtime-assistant-coach-retires-from. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  8. Klis, Mike (May 29, 2012). "Broncos hire new defensive coaching assistant". denverpost.com. http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/2012/05/29/broncos-hire-defensive-coaching-assistant/13753/. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Klis, Mike (March 13, 2012). "Broncos tender restricted free agents McBean, Willis, Ball, Colquitt, Clark". denverpost.com. http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/2012/03/12/broncos-tender-restricts-free-agents-mcbean-willis-ball-colquitt-clark/12503/. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Denver Broncos Transactions, Signings, Cuts - Pro Football - SI.com". sportsillustrated.com. March 20, 2012. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/teams/denver-broncos/transactions.html. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  11. Bena, John (March 21, 2012). "Saints Sign Brodrick Bunkley To 5-Year Contract". milehighreport.com. http://www.milehighreport.com/2012/3/21/2890510/saints-sign-brodrick-bunkley-to-5-year-contract. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  12. "Colquitt Signs a 1-year deal to stay a Bronco". milehighreport.com. April 4, 2012. http://www.milehighreport.com/2012/4/4/2924958/colquitt-signs-a-1-year-deal-to-stay-a-bronco. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  13. Jones, Lindsay (April 23, 2012). "Broncos safety Brian Dawkins retires after 16 years". denverpost.com. http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/2012/04/23/brian-dawkins-retires/13101/. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
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  17. Sando, Mike (July 26, 2012). "Veteran Russ Hochstein to Cardinals". espn.go.com. http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8204335/arizona-cardinals-sign-11-year-veteran-guard-russ-hochstein. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
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  27. Klis, Mike (March 18, 2012). "Brady Quinn, deciding not to wait on Broncos' pursuit of Peyton Manning, signs with Chiefs". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_20199532/brady-quinn-deciding-not-wait-broncos-pursuit-peyton. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
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  29. Associated Press (March 19, 2012). "Chargers agree to 1-year contract with TE Dante Rosario". washingtonpost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/chargers-agree-to-1-year-contract-with-te-dante-rosario/2012/03/19/gIQAdXc5NS_story.html. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
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  31. Raskin, Alex (August 16, 2012). "Giants officially add defensive tackle Marcus Thomas". cbssports.com. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/nfl-rapidreports/19810119/giants-officially-add-defensive-tackle-marcus-thomas. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  32. Josh Alper (April 6, 2012). "Bears add Jonathan Wilhite to cornerback mix". profootballtalk.com. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/06/bears-add-jonathan-wilhite-to-cornerback-mix/. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  33. Bedinger, Sayre (April 16, 2012). "Denver Broncos Re-Sign Wide Receiver Matthew Willis". milehighreport.com. http://www.milehighreport.com/2012/4/16/2953345/denver-broncos-re-sign-wide-receiver-matthew-willis. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
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  41. Legwold, Jeff (March 23, 2012). "Broncos agree to terms with tight end Joel Dreessen". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_20239955/broncos-agree-terms-tight-end-joel-dreessen. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  42. Jones, Lindsay (May 10, 2012). "Broncos add former Buffalo Bills cornerback Drayton Florence". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_20594949/broncos-add-former-buffalo-bills-cornerback-drayton-florence. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
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  45. 45.0 45.1 Klis, Mike (September 8, 2012). "Hanie released; Siliga promoted to 53-man roster". denverpost.com. http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/2012/09/08/hanie-released-siliga-promoted-53man-roster/15518/. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  46. Legwold, Jeff (November 26, 2012). "Broncos sign Jacob Hester to add bulk at running back vs. Buccaneers". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_22067652/broncos-sign-rb-jacob-hester. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
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  48. Mason, Andrew (August 1, 2012). "Broncos claim ex-Seahawks WR Cameron Kenney". maxdenver.com. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/nfl-rapidreports/19704597/broncos-claim-exseahawks-wr-cameron-kenney. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 49.3 49.4 49.5 49.6 "Paxton Released; Roster Trimmed to 75". denverbroncos.com. August 27, 2012. http://www.denverbroncos.com/news-and-blogs/article-1/Paxton-Released-Roster-Trimmed-to-75/2fbcdee7-a47c-4a81-b844-8475956c8505. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  50. "Broncos sign veteran safety Jim Leonhard". denverpost.com. August 4, 2012. http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/2012/08/04/broncos-sign-veteran-safety-jim-leonhard/14616/. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
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  66. 66.0 66.1 The Broncos traded their original first-round selection (No. 25 overall) to the New England Patriots in exchange for the Patriots' first- and fourth- round selections — Nos. 31 & 126 overall. The Broncos later traded both selections to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for the Buccaneers' second- (No. 36) and fourth- (No. 101) round selections. Kensler, Tom (April 26, 2012). "NFL draft live: Broncos trade down twice, out of first round". denverpost.com. http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_20488615/broncos-trade-down-twice-out-first-round. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
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  68. 68.0 68.1 Klis, Mike (July 24, 2012). "Broncos sign Brock Osweiler, Ronnie Hillman to complete rookie roster". denverbroncos.com. http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_21147721/broncos-sign-brock-osweiler-ronnie-hillman-complete-rookie. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  69. The Broncos traded their original third- (No. 87) and fourth- (No. 120) round selections to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the Browns' third-round selection (No. 67 overall). Caldwell, Gray (April 27, 2012). "Hillman Brings 'Instant Offense' to Broncos". denverpost.com. http://www.denverbroncos.com/news-and-blogs/article-1/Hillman-Brings-Instant-Offense-to-Broncos/f2494911-f114-4643-8cb9-7d360f5f634e. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  70. Caldwell, Gray (May 17, 2012). "Bolden First Draft Pick to Sign". denverbroncos.com. http://blog.denverbroncos.com/denverbroncos/bolden-first-draft-pick-to-sign/. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  71. Caldwell, Gray (June 1, 2012). "Blake Fifth Draft Pick to Sign". denverbroncos.com. http://blog.denverbroncos.com/denverbroncos/blake-fifth-draft-pick-to-sign/. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  72. Alper, Josh (May 18, 2012). "Broncos sign fifth-rounder Malik Jackson". profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/05/18/broncos-sign-fifth-rounder-malik-jackson/. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  73. The Broncos traded their original fifth-round selection (No. 160 overall) and a 2011 sixth-round selection to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for quarterback Brady Quinn. Florjancic, Matt (March 26, 2012). "Browns awarded four compensatory picks". ClevelandBrowns.com. http://www.clevelandbrowns.com/news/article-1/Browns-awarded-four-compensatory-picks/77bf5680-cbc5-4f76-adc7-2eb146c137ff. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  74. The Broncos acquired this fifth-round selection (No. 137 overall) in a trade that sent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to the St. Louis Rams. The Rams originally sent a sixth-round selection to the Broncos in October 2011, however, the selection was later upgraded to a fifth-rounder after a condition was met in which Lloyd made a minimum of 30 receptions with the Rams during the 2011 season. Jones, Lindsay (November 27, 2011). "Lloyd’s 30th catch upgrades Broncos draft pick". denverpost.com. http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/2011/11/27/lloyds-30th-catch-upgrades-broncos-draft-pick/10896/. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
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  76. The Broncos traded their original sixth-round selection (No. 194 overall) to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for linebacker Joe Mays. The Broncos originally traded running back J. J. Arrington to the Eagles in July 2010, with the condition that if Arrington did not make the Eagles' 53-man roster at the start of the 2010 season, the Broncos would instead send a 2012 sixth-round selection to the Eagles (Arrington was indeed released by the Eagles shortly before the 2010 season). "J.J. Arrington among ten Eagles cuts". profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. September 3, 2010. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/09/03/jj-arrington-among-ten-eagles-cuts/. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
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  78. Payne, Scott (September 11, 2012). "Report: Broncos make multiple transactions today". milehighreport.com. http://www.milehighreport.com/2012/9/11/3317144/broncos-make-multiple-transactions-today. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
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  98. Rice, Mike (July 31, 2012). "Eddie Mac is Back". denverbroncos.com. http://blog.denverbroncos.com/mrice/eddie-mac-is-back/. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  99. Caldwell, Gray (October 25, 2012). "Porter Dealing with August Seizure". denverbroncos.com. http://www.denverbroncos.com/news-and-blogs/article-1/Porter-Dealing-with-August-Seizure/e00c17c5-c1bf-4a40-a599-019caff6428f. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
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