|2018 Denver Broncos season|
|Owner||The Pat Bowlen Trust|
|Head coach||Vance Joseph|
|General manager||John Elway|
|Home field||Broncos Stadium at Mile High|
|Division place||3rd AFC West|
|Playoff finish||Did not qualify|
|Pro Bowlers||LB Von Miller|
RB Phillip Lindsay
LS Casey Kreiter
CB Chris Harris Jr.
|AP All-Pros||LB Von Miller|
The 2018 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 49th season in the National Football League and their 59th overall.
After poor offensive statistics that resulted in a 5–11 record during the previous season, the Broncos hoped for improvement at the quarterback position, with the offseason signing of Case Keenum as well as the breakthrough of undrafted rookie running back Phillip Lindsay. Another rookie that made an impact was linebacker Bradley Chubb, who recorded 12 sacks following a slow start. However, for a third consecutive season, the Broncos scored 30 or more points only once, and midway through the season, longtime wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was traded to the Houston Texans.
Following a 3–6 start, the Broncos put together a three-game winning streak, with hopes of turning their season around and competing for a playoff spot. However, key late-season injuries to cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (fractured fibula) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ruptured Achilles tendon) derailed those hopes, sending the Broncos to a season-ending four-game losing streak and a 6–10 record – only a one-win improvement from 2017.
The Broncos missed the playoffs for a third consecutive season, suffered back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1971–1972 and back-to-back double-digit losses for the first time since 1966–1967, resulting in the firing of head coach Vance Joseph at the end of the season. Joseph posted an 11–21 record in his two seasons as the Broncos' head coach. This was the third consecutive season with one game involving the Broncos getting at least 30 points.
This was also the 35th and final season under the ownership of Pat Bowlen, who died on June 13, 2019. This was also the Broncos' lone season playing at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.
On July 2, Tom Heckert Jr., who had worked as a director of pro personnel and senior personnel advisor since 2013, stepped down from his position due to health concerns and the expiration of his contract. Heckert was diagnosed with amyloidosis in 2015 and was placed on medical leave during the second half of that season. Heckert died on August 6, 2018, at the age of 51. Former Broncos' head coach Gary Kubiak remained as the team's lone senior personnel adviser until the end of the season.
On March 21, 2018, the Broncos announced that John Bowlen, the brother of majority owner Pat Bowlen, agreed to sell a portion of his minority stake in the franchise back to the team. The statement released by the team said:
"The Denver Broncos have reached an agreement to purchase a portion of minority owner John Bowlen's share of the team, pending final approval from the NFL that is expected in the next few days. This transaction further consolidates Pat Bowlen's majority, controlling ownership interest in the Broncos while keeping 100 percent of the team in the Bowlen family. The acquisition of this share is independent of Mr. Bowlen's succession plan that is being administered by the Pat Bowlen Trust. John has been a great partner for many years, and we are very pleased he will remain a minority owner of the Denver Broncos."
|LB||Todd Davis||Denver Broncos||re-signed March 14|
|WR||Bennie Fowler III||Chicago Bears||originally an RFA, signed with the Bears on April 16|
|TE||Virgil Green||Los Angeles Chargers||signed with the Chargers on March 14|
|WR||Cody Latimer||New York Giants||signed with the Giants on March 19|
|LB||Corey Nelson||Philadelphia Eagles||signed with the Eagles on March 14|
|QB||Brock Osweiler||Miami Dolphins||signed with the Dolphins on March 23|
|OT||Donald Stephenson||Cleveland Browns||signed with the Browns on March 14|
|G||Billy Turner||Denver Broncos||re-signed March 17|
|LB||Zaire Anderson||ERFA||None||assigned tender on March 12, re-signed April 16, waived September 1|
|LB||Shaquil Barrett||RFA||Denver Broncos||assigned tender on March 12, re-signed April 23|
|LB||Jerrol Garcia-Williams||ERFA||None||assigned tender on March 12, re-signed April 23,|
placed on injured reserve September 1
|DE||Shelby Harris||ERFA||Denver Broncos||assigned tender on March 9, re-signed April 16|
|LB||Joseph Jones||ERFA||Denver Broncos||assigned tender on March 12, re-signed April 16|
|LS||Casey Kreiter||ERFA||Denver Broncos||assigned tender on March 12, re-signed April 6|
|C||Matt Paradis||RFA||Denver Broncos||assigned tender on March 12, re-signed April 20|
placed on injured reserve November 12
|WR||Jordan Taylor||ERFA||Denver Broncos||assigned tender on March 12, re-signed April 16,|
placed on the PUP list September 1
|OT||Elijah Wilkinson||ERFA||Denver Broncos||assigned tender on March 12, re-signed April 16|
|PK||Taylor Bertolet||None||signed March 21, waived April 30|
|CB||Tramaine Brock||Minnesota Vikings||signed March 14|
|WR||Corey Brown||Buffalo Bills||signed July 27, designated as waived/injured on August 15|
|WR||River Cracraft||Practice squad||promoted to the active roster on November 2|
|C||Gino Gradkowski||Carolina Panthers||signed November 12|
|TE||Temarrick Hemingway||Practice squad||promoted to the active roster on November 27|
|QB||Kevin Hogan||Cleveland Browns||claimed off waivers on September 2|
|WR||Andre Holmes||Buffalo Bills||claimed off waivers on December 5, placed on injured reserve December 28|
|CB||Adam Jones||Cincinnati Bengals||signed August 26, waived November 20|
|QB||Case Keenum||Minnesota Vikings||signed March 14|
|P||Marquette King||Oakland Raiders||signed April 5, released October 8|
|LS||Christian Kuntz||None||signed March 21, waived June 14|
|DT||Caushaud Lyons||None||signed June 15, waived September 1|
|DT||Clinton McDonald||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||signed March 21, released September 1|
|CB||Craig Mager||Los Angeles Chargers||signed December 19|
|TE||Brian Parker||None||promoted from the practice squad on September 29|
|CB||Horace Richardson||None||signed December 28|
|CB||C. J. Smith||Cleveland Browns||claimed off waivers on April 13, waived September 1|
|CB||Jamar Taylor||Cleveland Browns||signed December 4, two weeks after being released by the Arizona Cardinals|
|S||Shamarko Thomas||Buffalo Bills||signed August 13, released September 1,|
signed September 11, waived December 11
|P||Colby Wadman||None||promoted from the practice squad to the active roster on October 6|
|LB||Aaron Wallace Jr.||None||signed December 28|
|WR||DeAndrew White||Houston Texans||claimed off waivers on August 15|
|RB||C. J. Anderson||released April 16|
|G||J. J. Dielman||designated as waived/injured on September 1|
|WR||Carlos Henderson||designated as Reserve/Did Not Report on July 25|
suspended August 15 for one week for violating the league's substance abuse policy,
waived September 1, assigned to the practice squad on September 3,
released from the practice squad on September 13
|CB||Michael Hunter||waived September 1|
|OT||Cyrus Kouandjio||released September 1, re-signed November 20, released December 4|
|CB||Brendan Langley||waived September 1 assigned to the practice squad on September 3,|
promoted to the active roster on November 20
|QB||Chad Kelly||released October 24, one day after being arrested on criminal trespassing charges|
|QB||Paxton Lynch||waived September 2|
|WR||Isaiah McKenzie||waived September 1, re-signed September 2, waived September 10,|
assigned to the practice squad on September 12,
promoted to the active roster on October 25, waived November 2
|NT||Kyle Peko||waived September 1, assigned to the practice squad on September 3,|
waived September 11
|CB||Marcus Rios||designated as waived/injured on September 1|
|TE||Austin Traylor||waived September 1|
Main article: 2018 NFL Draft
Despite early reports that the Broncos would draft a quarterback, plus the draft of several offensive players, the Broncos stayed with Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly going into mini-camps.
|1||5||Bradley Chubb||LB||NC State||signed June 21|
|2||40||Courtland Sutton||WR||SMU||signed May 10|
|3||71||Royce Freeman||RB||Oregon||signed July 5|
|99 *||Isaac Yiadom||CB||Boston College||signed May 26|
|4||106||Josey Jewell||LB||Iowa||signed May 10|
|113||DaeSean Hamilton||WR||Penn State||signed May 10|
|5||156||Troy Fumagalli||TE||Wisconsin||signed May 10, placed on injured reserve September 1|
|6||183||Sam Jones||G||Arizona State||signed May 10|
|217||Keishawn Bierria||LB||Washington||signed May 10|
|7||226||David Williams||RB||Arkansas||signed May 10, waived September 1,|
assigned to the practice squad on September 3
|Trade partner||Broncos give||Broncos receive||Source|
|Arizona Cardinals||2018 sixth-round selection (No. 182)||Offensive tackle Jared Veldheer|||
|Atlanta Falcons||Offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo||2018 fifth-round selection (No. 163)|||
|Los Angeles Rams||Cornerback Aqib Talib||2018 fifth-round selection (No. 160 – later traded back to LAR)|||
|2018 fifth-round selection (No. 160)||Two 2018 sixth-round selections (Nos. 183 and 217)|
|Minnesota Vikings||Quarterback Trevor Siemian
2018 seventh-round selection (No. 225)
|2019 fifth-round selection|||
|San Francisco 49ers||Running back Kapri Bibbs
2017 fifth-round selection
|2018 fourth-round selection (No. 109)|||
|Seattle Seahawks||2018 fifth-round selection (No. 149 – from WAS)||2018 fifth-round selection (No. 156)
2018 seventh-round selection (No. 226)
|Washington Redskins||2018 fourth-round selection (No. 109)
Two 2018 fifth-round selections (Nos. 142 and 163)
|Safety Su'a Cravens
2018 fourth-round selection (No. 113)
2018 fifth-round selection (No. 149 – later traded to SEA)
All undrafted free agents were signed after the 2018 NFL Draft concluded on April 28, unless noted otherwise.
|WR||Bryce Bobo||Colorado||signed August 3, waived September 1|
|LB||Bo Bower||Iowa||signed June 15, waived August 26|
|WR||Mark Chapman||Central Michigan||signed July 26 waived September 1|
|WR||John Diarse||TCU||waived September 1|
|G/C||Nico Falah||USC||signed October 22|
|OT||Austin Fleer||Colorado Mesa||signed August 12 waived September 1|
|LB||Jeff Holland||Auburn||waived September 1, assigned to the practice squad on September 3,|
promoted to the active roster on November 30
|LB||A. J. Johnson||Tennessee||suspended during his senior year in 2014 due to legal issues,|
signed August 13, made the Week 1 roster, waived November 30
|OT||Leon Johnson||Temple||waived August 12|
|RB||Phillip Lindsay||Colorado||made the Week 1 roster|
|NT||Lowell Lotulelei||Ball State||waived May 14|
|S||Trey Marshall||Florida State||waived September 1, assigned to the practice squad on September 3,|
promoted to the active roster on December 11
|DE||DeQuinton Osborne||Oklahoma State||signed August 15, waived September 1|
|C||Austin Schlottmann||TCU||waived September 1, assigned to the practice squad on September 3|
|DE||Antonio Simmons||Georgia Tech||signed June 15, waived September 1|
|QB||Nick Stevens||Colorado State||signed May 17, waived June 14|
|WR||Jimmy Williams||East Carolina||designated as Reserve/Did Not Report on July 25|
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|1||Minnesota Vikings||L 28–42||0–1||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
|2||Chicago Bears||L 23–24||0–2||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
|3||at Washington Redskins||W 29–17||1–2||FedExField||Recap|
|4||at Arizona Cardinals||W 21–10||2–2||State Farm Stadium||Recap|
|1||September 9||Seattle Seahawks||W 27–24||1–0||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
|2||September 16||Oakland Raiders||W 20–19||2–0||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
|3||September 23||at Baltimore Ravens||L 14–27||2–1||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|4||Kansas City Chiefs||L 23–27||2–2||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
|5||October 7||at New York Jets||L 16–34||2–3||MetLife Stadium||Recap|
|6||October 14||Los Angeles Rams||L 20–23||2–4||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
|7||at Arizona Cardinals||W 45–10||3–4||State Farm Stadium||Recap|
|8||October 28||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 23–30||3–5||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|9||November 4||Houston Texans||L 17–19||3–6||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
|11||November 18||at Los Angeles Chargers||W 23–22||4–6||StubHub Center||Recap|
|12||November 25||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 24–17||5–6||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
|13||December 2||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 24–10||6–6||Paul Brown Stadium||Recap|
|14||December 9||at San Francisco 49ers||L 14–20||6–7||Levi's Stadium||Recap|
|15||Cleveland Browns||L 16–17||6–8||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
|16||at Oakland Raiders||L 14–27||6–9||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||Recap|
|17||December 30||Los Angeles Chargers||L 9–23||6–10||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
For an eighth consecutive year, the Broncos kicked off the season at home, with the Seahawks as their Week 1 opponent. Following an interception of Broncos' quarterback Case Keenum by Seahawks' safety Earl Thomas midway through the first quarter, quarterback Russell Wilson connected with tight end Will Dissly on a 15-yard touchdown pass. The Broncos responded on their next possession, with Keenum throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass to running back Phillip Lindsay. After a 35-yard field goal by placekicker Sebastian Janikowski gave the Seahawks a 10–7 lead early in the second quarter, the Broncos claimed the lead with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Keenum to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. A 51-yard field goal by placekicker Brandon McManus later in the second quarter increased the Broncos' lead to 17–10. At the two-minute warning, Janikowski missed wide left on a 51-yard field goal, however, he got a second chance as the result of an offsides penalty on Broncos' cornerback Tramaine Brock. Janikowski missed wide left again on the second attempt – from 46 yards out. Three plays later, the Broncos' reached the Seahawks' 26-yard line, and were hoping to increase their lead heading into halftime, however, Keenum was intercepted by safety Bradley McDougald.
Following an exchange of turnovers midway through the third quarter – a fumble recovery by Broncos' linebacker Von Miller off Seahawks' running back Chris Carson and another interception of Keenum by McDougald, the Seahawks pulled even, with Wilson connecting with wide receiver Brandon Marshall on a 20-yard touchdown pass. Following an interception of Wilson by Broncos' safety Justin Simmons, a 53-yard field goal by McManus later in the third quarter gave the Broncos a 20–17 lead. On the second play of the fourth quarter, the Seahawks reclaimed the lead, with Wilson launching a 51-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Lockett. The Broncos then drove 75 yards in seven plays, culminating in Keenum's third touchdown pass of the game – a 4-yarder to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas in the corner of the end zone with 11:18 remaining in the game. The play was reviewed by instant replay, but was upheld as the result of Demaryius Thomas keeping both of his toes in the end zone. Both teams punted on their next two possessions, and after the Seahawks were forced to burn all three of their team timeouts, they had one last possession with 1:01 remaining in the game, however, Wilson was intercepted by cornerback Adam Jones at the Seahawks' 40-yard line, ending the game.
at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
The Broncos' offense went three-and-out on four of their six first half possessions. They reached the Raiders' 18-yard line on their fifth possession, which was aided by a 53-yard run by running back Phillip Lindsay, however, a pass attempt by quarterback Case Keenum intended for tight end Jake Butt near the goal line was intercepted by Raiders' cornerback Rashaan Melvin. The Raiders took a 12–0 lead on a pair of field goals by placekicker Mike Nugent – a 26-yarder on the opening drive followed by a 46-yarder early in the second quarter – and a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Marshawn Lynch just before halftime. The extra-point attempt on the Lynch touchdown was blocked by Broncos' linebacker Shaquil Barrett.
The Broncos got on the scoreboard on the opening possession of the second half, with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Royce Freeman. The drive was kept alive by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Raiders' linebacker Bruce Irvin, after the Raiders' defense had stopped the Broncos on third down at the 9-yard line. The Raiders responded on their next possession, with a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Derek Carr to wide receiver Seth Roberts at the 5:31 mark of the third quarter. The Raiders were held scoreless for the remainder of the game, and the Broncos pulled to within a 19–10 deficit, with a 39-yard field goal by placekicker Brandon McManus. The Raiders then drove to the Broncos' 33-yard line, and faced a 4th-and-1, however, instead of kicking a long field goal, the Raiders opted for a short pass from Carr to fullback Keith Smith, which fell incomplete. The Broncos then assembled a 14-play, 67-yard drive, with Keenum diving for a 1-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-goal quarterback draw, narrowing the Raiders' lead to 19–17 with 6:02 remaining in the game. Keenum's run was reviewed, but upheld by instant replay. The Raiders gained two first downs, reached midfield and forced the Broncos to burn the last two of their three team timeouts, but were forced to punt just before the two-minute warning. Following an offensive holding penalty that drove the Broncos back to their own 10-yard line, Keenum engineered a 10-play, 62-yard drive, culminating in McManus kicking a game-winning 36-yard field goal with only 10 seconds left. The drive was keyed by a 26-yard completion from Keenum to wide receiver Tim Patrick, who evaded tackles by Raiders' cornerbacks Gareon Conley and Leon Hall, who unsuccessfully tried to keep Patrick from scampering out of bounds with both teams out of timeouts. The Broncos' defense thwarted the Raiders' last desperation play of the game.
With a temperature of 92 °F (33 °C), this was the hottest home game in Broncos' franchise history.
In their first road game of the season, the Broncos were plagued by several penalties, in a 27–14 loss at the Baltimore Ravens. After Ravens' punter Sam Koch has his punt blocked by Joseph Jones on the opening possession of the game, the Broncos grabbed the early lead on the next play, with a 6-yard touchdown run by running back Royce Freeman. The Ravens countered, with running back Alex Collins rushing for a 6-yard touchdown. The drive started at the Broncos' 48-yard line, after Broncos' cornerback Isaac Yiadom was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty while on the sidelines. The Broncos grabbed a 14–7 lead on their next possession, with a 35-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on an end-around. However, the Broncos were held scoreless for the remainder of the game. The Ravens pulled to within a 14–10 deficit late in the first quarter, with a 52-yard field goal by placekicker Justin Tucker, and took the lead for good midway through the second quarter, with a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to running back Javorius Allen. The play was initially ruled down at the 1-yard line, but changed by instant replay. After the Broncos went three-and-out, the Ravens were attempting to add to their lead, but Tucker's 43-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Justin Simmons and recovered by Chris Harris, Jr., who scampered down the sideline for a touchdown. However, Harris' touchdown was nullified by an illegal block penalty on the return by Billy Turner, pushing back the first play of scrimmage of the Broncos' next drive back to near midfield. Three plays later, the Broncos reached the Ravens' 25-yard line, however, on the fourth play, Ravens' linebacker Terrell Suggs forced a fumble off Broncos' quarterback Case Keenum, and running back Phillip Lindsay was ejected from the game just before the two-minute warning for unsportsmanlike conduct while trying to recover the fumble. This pushed the Broncos out of field goal range, and another field 52-yard field goal by Tucker gave the Ravens a 20–14 lead at halftime.
The Ravens added to their lead on their first possession of the second half, with a 1-yard run by Allen, which was the final scoring play of the game. The drive was aided by a defensive offsides penalty on Broncos' defensive end Derek Wolfe on a 3rd-and-4. The Broncos committed three costly penalties on their next drive – offensive holding on Garett Bolles that negated a 39-yard pass completion from Keenum to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas at the Ravens' 11-yard line, a holding call on Connor McGovern at the Ravens' 31-yard line and an unnecessary roughness flag on Ronald Leary that pushed the Broncos out of field goal range. The Broncos reached the Ravens' 5-yard line on their first possession of the fourth quarter, but Keenum was intercepted by Patrick Onwuasor, who ran 89 yards for a touchdown. However, the touchdown was nullified by an illegal block on the return. The Broncos had one more possession, but turned the football over on downs with three minutes remaining in the game, and the Ravens ran out the clock.
at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
After an exchange of field goals in the first quarter – a 42-yarder by Broncos placekicker Brandon McManus and a 33-yarder by Chiefs' placekicker Harrison Butker, Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes scrambled for an 8-yard touchdown and Broncos' running back Royce Freeman ran for a 14-yard touchdown – both midway through the second quarter. A 34-yard field goal by McManus just before halftime gave the Broncos a 13–10 lead. A 21-yard field goal by Butker on the Chiefs' opening possession of the second half tied the game. A 1-yard touchdown run by running back Phillip Lindsay later in the third quarter, coupled with a 46-yard field goal by McManus early in the fourth quarter gave the Broncos a 23–13 lead. Mahomes then engineered a 12-play, 75-yard drive, culminating in a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce to narrow the Broncos lead to 23–20 with 6:30 remaining in the game. After the Broncos went three-and-out, the Chiefs grabbed a 27–23 lead, with a 4-yard touchdown pass to running back Kareem Hunt. The drive featured a critical third-down conversion, in which Mahomes threw left-handed to wide receiver Tyreek Hill while being pursued out of bounds by Broncos' linebackers Von Miller and Shane Ray. The drive was also marred with controversy, in which the Broncos claimed that the referees missed a delay-of-game call on a critical third-down play. With 1:39 remaining in the game and no timeouts, the Broncos attempted a rally, and reached the Chiefs' 28-yard line with 32 seconds remaining after a 36-yard completion from quarterback Case Keenum to tight end Jeff Heuerman. On the next play, Keenum overthrew wide receiver Demaryius Thomas down the sideline on a potential game-winning touchdown. With 16 seconds left, and facing a 4th-and-10, Keenum completed a pass to wide receiver Courtland Sutton, and Sutton attempted a hook-and-lateral, which was fumbled and recovered by Chiefs' defensive end Justin Houston, but ruled incomplete after instant replay, ending the Broncos' rally attempt.
This was the first of two games in which the Broncos wore their alternate navy blue jerseys – the other was Week 15 vs. the Cleveland Browns.
After forcing a fumble on the Jets' opening drive, the Broncos took the early lead, with an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Case Keenum to wide receiver Courtland Sutton. However, the Jets took control of the game in the second quarter. The Broncos' defense allowed Jets' running back Isaiah Crowell to rush for 219 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown, and quarterback Sam Darnold threw three touchdown passes – including a 76-yarder to wide receiver Robby Anderson. From the second quarter onward, the Broncos' offense only managed a 30-yard field goal by placekicker Brandon McManus and a 42-yard touchdown pass from Keenum to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas – the latter of which occurred after the game had been decided in the Jets' favor.
at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
The Rams took an early 6–0 lead, with a pair of field goals by placekicker Cairo Santos – a 26- and a 39-yarder. Near the end of the first quarter, quarterback Case Keenum completed what was initially ruled as a 44-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who was immediately flagged for a taunting penalty against Rams' cornerback Troy Hill, which would have been penalized on the kickoff. However, instant replay determined that Sanders was ruled down at the 1-yard line by contact, where the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was assessed. The Broncos were forced to settle for a 28-yard field goal by placekicker Brandon McManus. A 10-yard touchdown run by Rams' running back Todd Gurley was the only scoring play of the second quarter. The Broncos reached the Rams' 28-yard line on the first possession of the second quarter, only to have a holding penalty on offensive tackle Garett Bolles push them out of field goal range. Following an exchange of punts to start the second half, the Rams increased their lead to 20–3, with a 1-yard run by Gurley. On the Rams' next possession, quarterback Jared Goff was intercepted by Broncos' safety Darian Stewart on a deflected pass deep in Rams' territory, and two plays later, Keenum connected with Sanders on a 22-yard touchdown pass near the end of the third quarter. After forcing a Rams' punt, the Broncos reached the 6-yard line, but were forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal by McManus at the 8:57 mark of the fourth quarter. The Broncos' defense prevented the Rams defense from reaching the end zone, however, Santos responded with a 21-yard field goal to give the Rams a 23–13 lead with 3:19 remaining. Without any timeouts, the Broncos reached the end zone in nine plays, and pulled to within a 23–20 deficit, with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Keenum to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas with 1:27 remaining in the game. However, the onside kick attempt was unsuccessful, and the Rams ran out the clock.
The Broncos' defense returned two interceptions off Cardinals' quarterback Josh Rosen for touchdowns in the first quarter – one by linebacker Todd Davis and the other by cornerback Chris Harris, Jr., and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders received and threw a touchdown pass, in a 45–10 rout of the Cardinals. Running backs Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay each rushed for a touchdown, and after surrendering a combined 593 rushing yards in their previous two games against the Los Angeles Rams and New York Jets, the Broncos' defense allowed only 69 rushing yards.
The Broncos improved their all-time series record against the Cardinals to 9–1–1. This was the only game during the 2018 season in which the Broncos scored 30 or more points.
For the second time in the month of October, the Broncos faced their AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs. A 1-yard touchdown run by running back Phillip Lindsay gave the Broncos the early lead. The Chiefs got on the board, with a 24-yard field goal by placekicker Harrison Butker, a drive that was aided by a defensive pass interference penalty on Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby on a 3rd-and-19. Broncos' placekicker Brandon McManus missed wide right on a 55-yard field goal attempt, one play after wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was tackled for a 6-yard loss on an end-around. The Chiefs took the lead in the second quarter with two touchdown passes by quarterback Patrick Mahomes – a 9-yarder to tight end Travis Kelce and a 13-yarder to wide receiver Sammy Watkins – the latter with a missed extra point attempt. The Broncos pulled to within a 16–14 deficit just before halftime, with quarterback Case Keenum connecting with wide receiver Tim Patrick on a 24-yard touchdown pass. The Chiefs then increased their lead to 30–14 on their first two possessions of the second half, with two more touchdown passes by Mahomes – a 10-yarder to Watkins, followed by a 23-yarder to running back Kareem Hunt.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Broncos responded, with Keenum throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeff Heuerman. However, the two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, which would have pulled the Broncos to within a one-score deficit. The Broncos' defense forced a turnover on the Chiefs' next possession, with safety Justin Simmons intercepting a pass from Mahomes at the Broncos' 39-yard line. However, four plays later, after the Broncos had reached the Chiefs' 39-yard line, Keenum was strip-sacked by Dee Ford, with Chiefs' linebacker Breeland Speaks recovering the fumble. The Broncos' defense forced a Chiefs punt, however, on the next possession, Keenum was intercepted by cornerback Kendall Fuller near midfield. Following an exchange of punts, and after burning two of their three team timeouts, the Broncos drove 46 yards in ten plays, with a 36-yard field goal by McManus pulling the Broncos to within a 30–23 deficit just after the two-minute warning. The Broncos' defense forced a three-and-out from the Chiefs, and the Broncos had one last offensive play, however, with only four seconds left and no timeouts, their last desperation play of the game was unsuccessful.
The Broncos lost their seventh consecutive game against the Chiefs – surpassing the team's longest losing skid against the Chiefs since a six-game streak from 1970 to 1973.
at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
The Texans took the lead on their game's opening drive, with a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Deshaun Watson to tight end Jordan Thomas. A 44-yard field goal by Broncos' placekicker Brandon McManus put the Broncos on the scoreboard. However, after running back Devontae Booker lost a fumble deep in Broncos' territory early in the second quarter, the Texans capitalized, with Watson connecting with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on a 16-yard touchdown (with a missed extra point attempt). Following an exchange of punts, Booker redeemed himself, with a 14-yard touchdown run. With only 22 seconds remaining in the first half, McManus missed wide right on a 62-yard field goal attempt, giving the Texans a short field and an opportunity to score. Broncos' head coach Vance Joseph attempted to ice Texans' placekicker Ka'imi Fairbairn prior to attempting a half-ending 46-yard field. The initial attempt missed wide right, however, Fairbairn's second attempt was successful, giving the Texans a 16–10 lead. The Broncos took their first and only lead of the game, with quarterback Case Keenum throwing a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeff Heuerman, which was the only scoring play of the third quarter. The Texans reclaimed the lead early in the fourth quarter, with a 37-yard field goal by Fairbairn. The drive was extended as the result of a defensive holding penalty on Broncos' safety Su'a Cravens on a third-down play. Following an exchange of punts, the Broncos, trailing 19–17, had one last offensive possession, and reached the Texans' 33-yard line, however, McManus missed wide right on a 51-yard field goal as time expired.
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who was traded by the Broncos to the Texans earlier in the week, made his debut in a Texans' uniform.
A pair of first quarter field goals by placekicker Michael Badgley – from 46 and 45 yards out – gave the Chargers the early lead. The Broncos grabbed the lead early in the second quarter, with a 41-yard touchdown run by running back Phillip Lindsay. On the next possession, Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers was intercepted by cornerback Chris Harris, Jr., giving the Broncos the football near midfield. However, on the fifth play of the drive, the Broncos opted to convert a 4th-and-1 at the Chargers' 16-yard line instead of kicking a field goal, but Lindsay was stopped for no gain. The Chargers regained the lead on their next possession, with Rivers connecting on a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Keenan Allen, one play after Rivers was nearly intercepted in the end zone on a deflected pass.
The Chargers took the opening possession of the second half and added to their lead, with Rivers throwing his second touchdown pass – a 6-yarder to tight end Antonio Gates. However, Badgley missed wide left on the extra point attempt, keeping the score at 19–7. The Broncos went three and out on their first offensive possession of the second half, and the Chargers were attempting to pull away from the Broncos on their next possession. However, as the Chargers reached the Broncos' 35-yard line, Rivers was intercepted by linebacker Von Miller on a screen pass attempt, and Miller returned the interception to the Chargers' 18-yard line. The Broncos capitalized three plays later, with running back Royce Freeman rushing for a three-yard touchdown.
After forcing a three-and-out from the Chargers, the Broncos took a 20–19 lead early in the fourth quarter, with Lindsay rushing for a 2-yard touchdown on a direct snap. Quarterback Case Keenum's two-point attempt was unsuccessful, as he was stopped just short of the goal line. The Chargers then drove to the Broncos' 12-yard line in eight plays, and a 30-yard field goal by Badgley gave the Chargers a 22–20 lead with 6:51 remaining in the game. The Broncos were attempting a rally, and reached the Chargers' 45-yard line with four minutes remaining in the game, but were forced to punt. The possession was extended by a fumble from wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders that was reversed by instant replay and ruled as an incomplete pass, as well as a Keenum interception that was nullified by a defensive holding penalty on Chargers' safety Jahleel Addae. The Chargers got the football back, and attempted to run out the clock after gaining one first down and forcing the Broncos to burn all of their timeouts, but were forced to punt just after the two-minute warning. With 1:51 remaining in the game and the Broncos backed up to their own 8-yard line, Keenum engineered a 7-play, 76-yard drive, culminating in placekicker Brandon McManus kicking a game-winning 34-yard field goal as time expired. The Chargers unsuccessfully tried to ice McManus, calling a timeout prior to McManus' first attempt.
at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
The Broncos donned their orange color rush uniforms in the Week 12 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were victimized by several missed scoring opportunities. On the Steelers' first possession, placekicker Chris Boswell's 48-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Justin Simmons. The Broncos took the early lead, with a 41-yard field goal by placekicker Brandon McManus – the only scoring play of the first quarter. The Steelers then drove down the field, attempting to take their first lead, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completing a pass to tight end Xavier Grimble along the sidelines. However, Broncos' safety Will Parks forced a fumble just before Grimble reached the goal line, with the football going out of the end zone for a touchback. Following a Broncos' punt, Boswell atoned for his earlier blocked field goal attempt, with a 41-yard field goal. The first touchdown of the game came courtesy of a 10-yard touchdown pass from Broncos' quarterback Case Keenum to tight end Matt LaCosse at the 3:33 mark of the second quarter. The Steelers then marched down the field, and were attempting a 19-yard field goal attempt to close out the first half, however, the Steelers' special teams caught the Broncos off-guard, with a 2-yard touchdown from Boswell to Alejandro Villanueva on a fake field goal pass to tie the game at 10–10.
Following an exchange of punts to begin the second half, the Steelers grabbed their first (and only) lead of the game, with Roethlisberger launching a 97-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Following a three-and-out from the Broncos, the Steelers were attempting to add to their lead, however, Roethlisberger was intercepted by cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. The Broncos capitalized two plays later, with Keenum connecting with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on a 5-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17–17. Following another exchange of punts, the Steelers reached the Broncos' 23-yard line, however, Broncos' cornerback Bradley Roby forced a fumble off Steelers' running back James Conner near the end of the third quarter. The Broncos once again capitalized, with an 11-play, 79-yard drive, culminating in a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Phillip Lindsay. This gave the Broncos a 24–17 lead at the 9:22 mark of the fourth quarter. Both teams punted on their next possession, and the Steelers, with only one timeout, had one last offensive possession with 4:26 remaining in the game. Just before the two-minute warning, the Steelers reached the Broncos' 3-yard line, with a first-and-goal. However, on the third play after the two-minute warning, Roethlisberger's short pass intended for wide receiver Antonio Brown was intercepted by linebacker Shelby Harris for a touchback – the Steelers' fourth turnover of the game – to seal the win for the Broncos.
Neither team advanced past their opponent's 43-yard line through their first three possessions, until the Broncos' fourth possession, in which placekicker Brandon McManus missed wide left on a 50-yard field goal attempt. The first points of the game came courtesy of a 6-yard touchdown run by Broncos' running back Phillip Lindsay at the two-minute warning. The Bengals then drove down the field, however, the Broncos' defense limited the Bengals to a 35-yard field goal by placekicker Randy Bullock just before halftime. Following an exchange of punts to begin the second half, the Broncos increased their lead, with quarterback Case Keenum connecting with wide receiver Courtland Sutton on a 30-yard touchdown pass. The Bengals reached the Broncos' 30-yard line on their second possession of the second half, however quarterback Jeff Driskel, playing in place of the injured Andy Dalton, was intercepted by cornerback Justin Simmons at the 7-yard line. The Broncos capitalized four plays later, with Lindsay rushing for a 65-yard touchdown. The Bengals responded, with Driskel throwing a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Cody Core to narrow the Broncos' lead to 21–10. Despite a lost fumble by Broncos' running back Royce Freeman near midfield toward the end of the third quarter, the Bengals' offense did not advance past the Broncos' 47-yard line for the remainder of the game. With 2:49 remaining in the game, linebacker Bradley Chubb forced a fumble off Driskel, and with the Bengals out of timeouts, a 29-yard field goal by McManus with only 27 seconds left put the game out of reach.
The Broncos fell behind 20–0 at halftime, and the defense allowed 210 receiving yards to 49ers' tight end George Kittle – 85 of which came on one play, which resulted in a 49ers' touchdown. Placekicker Robbie Gould added two field goals – a 40-yarder in the first quarter followed by a 29-yarder in the second quarter, and quarterback Nick Mullens also threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dante Pettis. The Broncos' offense accumulated only 70 total yards on their first six possessions (excluding a kneel down before halftime), went 2-for-15 on third down conversions and running back Phillip Lindsay, who rushed for 157 yards against the Bengals during the previous week, was held to just 30 yards rushing. The Broncos finally got on the scoreboard at the six-minute mark of the third quarter, with a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Lindsay. The Broncos' offense failed on two 4th-down conversions on their next two possessions, and with only 3:57 remaining in the game, a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Case Keenum to wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton pulled the Broncos to within a 20–14 deficit. However, the Broncos' defense was unable to prevent Mullens from converting two crucial third-down pass completions prior to the two-minute warning, forcing the Broncos to burn two timeouts – the other timeout was lost another on an unsuccessful challenge, and leaving the Broncos with only eight seconds for one last desperation pass play, which was snuffed out by the 49ers' defense.
at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
The Cleveland Browns took the early lead, with quarterback Baker Mayfield launching a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Breshad Perriman. After going three-and-out on their first two possessions, the Broncos got on the scoreboard later in the first quarter, with quarterback Case Keenum rushing for a 1-yard touchdown, then grabbed the lead midway through the second quarter, with a 44-yard field goal by placekicker Brandon McManus. Cleveland responded on their next possession, with a 40-yard field goal by placekicker Greg Joseph. The Broncos were attempting to re-take the lead on their next possession, reaching the Cleveland 29-yard line, however Keenum was intercepted by Cleveland safety Jabrill Peppers in the end zone for a touchback. The Broncos' defense subsequently returned the favor, as Cleveland reached the Broncos' 30-yard line just before halftime, however, Mayfield was intercepted by safety Dymonte Thomas near the goal line. After forcing a fumble off Mayfield, a 42-yard field goal by McManus gave the Broncos a 13–10 lead late in the third quarter.
After forcing a Cleveland punt, Keenum was intercepted by cornerback T. J. Carrie at the Broncos' 48-yard line on the second play of the fourth quarter. Six plays later, Cleveland capitalized and took a 17–13 lead, with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to wide receiver Antonio Callaway. With 11:49 left in the game, the Broncos drove 64 yards in 13 plays, and instead of trying to convert a 4th-and-1 at the Cleveland 6-yard line, they elected for a 29-yard field goal by McManus to pull within a 17–16 deficit with 4:39 left. Cleveland drove down to the Broncos' 10-yard line and forced the Broncos to use the last two of their three team timeouts. However, instead of trying to increase their lead with a field goal, Cleveland attempted to run out the clock, but running back Nick Chubb was stopped for a 2-yard loss on a 4th-and-1 at the Broncos' 12-yard line. The Broncos reached midfield with 1:12 remaining in the game, however, after Keenum spiked the football on first down and two incomplete passes, Keenum was sacked by Peppers to end the Broncos' rally attempt.
This was the Cleveland Browns' first victory over the Broncos since 1990, snapping an 11-game losing streak to the Broncos. The Broncos own a 23–6 all-time record vs. Cleveland (including the playoffs). The Broncos wore their alternate navy blue jerseys for this game. This game featured Broncos' linebacker Bradley Chubb playing against his cousin, Cleveland running back Nick Chubb. With the loss, coupled with the Tennessee Titans' victory over the New York Giants the following day, the Broncos were officially eliminated from postseason contention.
The Broncos fell behind 17–0 by halftime to the Raiders – the second time in three weeks in which they were shutout in the first half. On their first possession, the Broncos punted, and cornerback Isaac Yiadom failed to down the punt neat the goal line. Raiders' return specialist Dwayne Harris took advantage of Yiadom's blunder by returning the football 99 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders later increased their lead to 17–0 in the second quarter, with a 24-yard touchdown run by running back Doug Martin and a 43-yard field goal by placekicker Daniel Carlson. The Broncos' offense failed to advance past the Raiders' 45-yard line on their first five drives, and on their sixth drive, placekicker Brandon McManus missed short on a 58-yard field goal attempt just before halftime. The Broncos finally got on the scoreboard at the 4:40 mark of the third quarter, with a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Case Keenum to wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, which was the only scoring play of the third quarter. The Raiders responded, with a 12-play, 72-yard drive that consumed 7:20, culminating in a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Jalen Richard early in the fourth quarter. The Broncos once again pulled to within a 10–point deficit, with Keenum throwing his second touchdown of the second half – a 19-yarder to wide receiver Courtland Sutton. The touchdown was disputed by the Raiders' bench – thinking that Keenum had crossed the line of scrimmage prior to the pass. After forcing a three-and-out, the Broncos were attempting a rally, however, Keenum was intercepted by safety Marcus Gilchrist, and a 45-yard field goal by Carlson increased the Raiders' lead to 27–14 with 4:42 remaining in the game. Without any timeouts, the Broncos had one last possession, however, Keenum was intercepted again – this time by safety Erik Harris, which ended the Broncos' rally attempt. With the loss, the Broncos clinched back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1971–1972.
at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
The Broncos hosted the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2018 regular season finale. Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers was intercepted twice by the Broncos' defense in the first quarter, however, the Broncos failed to capitalize both times. After a scoreless first quarter, Chargers' linebacker Kyle Emanuel recovered a fumble off a lateral pass and fumble by Broncos' quarterback Case Keenum for an 18-yard touchdown. The Broncos reached the red zone just before halftime, but were forced to settle on a 28-yard field goal by placekicker Brandon McManus. The Broncos got a reprieve after Keenum was intercepted by safety Jahleel Addae in the end zone, who lost the fumble on the runback and was recovered by offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson. The Chargers increased their lead late in the third quarter, with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to wide receiver Mike Williams. The Broncos pulled to within a 14–9 deficit early in the fourth quarter, with Keenum connecting on a 20-yard touchdown pass to fullback Andy Janovich. The Broncos attempted a two-point conversion, hoping to pull to within a three-point deficit, however, Keenum was intercepted by linebacker Casey Hayward three yards deep in the end zone, who ran down the field 103 yards for a defensive two-point conversion. The Chargers responded and increased their lead to 23–9, with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Austin Ekeler with six minutes remaining in the game. The Broncos had one last offensive possession and reached the Chargers' 31-yard line, but turned the football over on downs just before the two-minute warning.
One day after the game (December 31), Vance Joseph was fired after posting an 11–21 record in his two seasons as the Broncos' head coach.
|(1) Kansas City Chiefs||12||4||0||.750||5–1||10–2||565||421||W1|
|(5) Los Angeles Chargers||12||4||0||.750||4–2||9–3||428||329||W1|
|1[a]||Kansas City Chiefs||West||12||4||0||.750||5–1||10–2||.480||.401||W1|
|2[b]||New England Patriots||East||11||5||0||.688||5–1||8–4||.482||.494||W2|
|5[a]||Los Angeles Chargers||West||12||4||0||.750||4–2||9–3||.477||.422||W1|
|Did not qualify for the postseason|
|15[d]||New York Jets||East||4||12||0||.250||1–5||3–9||.506||.438||L3|
|Passing yards||Case Keenum||3,890|
|Passing touchdowns||Case Keenum||18|
|Rushing yards||Phillip Lindsay||1,037|
|Rushing touchdowns||Phillip Lindsay||9|
|Receiving yards||Emmanuel Sanders||868|
|Receiving touchdowns||Emmanuel Sanders
|Kickoff return yards||Devontae Booker||234|
|Punt return yards||River Cracraft||40|
|Forced fumbles||Von Miller||4|
|Interceptions||Chris Harris, Jr.
Source for this section: Denver Broncos' official website.
Source for this section: NFL.com.
|Bradley Chubb||October: NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month|
|Phillip Lindsay||Week 13: AFC Offensive Player, FedEx Ground Player and NFL Rookie of the Week|
Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Athlete of the year
2018 season: Named to the Pro Football Writers of America's All-NFL and All-AFC team
|Von Miller||Week 11: AFC Defensive Player of the Week|
2018 season: Named to the Pro Football Writers of America's All-NFL and All-AFC team
|Emmanuel Sanders||Week 7: AFC Offensive Player of the Week|
Linebacker Von Miller and running back Phillip Lindsay were selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl, while linebacker Bradley Chubb, cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders were named as alternates. Miller was also voted to the 2018 All-Pro Team and named to the Second Team. Lindsay became the first undrafted rookie in NFL history to earn a Pro Bowl selection, however, due to a wrist injury that he suffered during the Broncos' second-to-last game of the season, Lindsay did not play in the Pro Bowl, and served as an NFL social media correspondent instead. Sanders did not participate due to a ruptured Achilles tendon that ended his season on December 5.
On January 16, 2019, Casey Kreiter was selected as the first long snapper to ever be selected to a Pro Bowl. Five days later, Harris was selected to the Pro Bowl roster as a replacement for New England Patriots' cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Harris was declared healthy after suffering a broken fibula that forced him to miss the Broncos' last four games of the season.
On June 20, the Broncos reached a temporary naming rights agreement for their home stadium. Colorado-based sporting goods retailer Sports Authority previously held the naming rights for the Broncos' stadium from 2011 to 2017, despite going bankrupt in 2016. Shortly after the end of the 2017 season, the Broncos removed the old signage from the exterior of their stadium – formerly known as "Sports Authority Field at Mile High," and previously known as "Invesco Field at Mile High" from 2001 to 2010. For the 2018 season, the official name, which was approved by the Metropolitan Football Stadium District board, was known as "Broncos Stadium at Mile High," until the team came to terms on a new naming rights deal just before the start of the 2019 season, renaming the Broncos' home field as Empower Field at Mile High.
NOTE: Search for the 2018 season.
NOTE: Search for the 2018 season.