Throwing a team party in the end zone when you’re down 27-0 at home? Bad look. Loser’s look.
Doing it when you’re toting a 3-9 record around your neck while down 27-0 to a rival you haven’t beaten since 2015? Terrible look. Loser’s look.
But if Josey Jewell and the Broncos are going to be the Broncos of the last 34 minutes of Sunday’s 14th consecutive loss to the Chiefs, and not the Broncos of the first 26, fine. What the heck.
Pose away, dudes.
Have fun. You be you, Outlaw.
“You know, there was definitely a little (hesitation),” Jewell, the Broncos’ veteran, no-nonsense inside linebacker said of the “team photo” celebration in the end zone following the first of his two interceptions on the day.
“I looked at (safety) Justin (Simmons). And he said. ‘Let’s go.’ And I said, ‘All right, we’ll do it.’
“So it (was) great leadership by him, to be able to try to get those guys going — making people want to make plays, trying to get that momentum going. He’s a great leader. He’s the one that starts a lot of that kind of stuff.”
The next step?
Because for most of the final 26 minutes of a 34-28 setback, Broncos Country finally — FINALLY! — got a glimpse of what they’d expected to see from the jump this fall. The complementary football, the mojo and, most importantly, the offense they thought they were getting when general manager George Paton sold the farm to stick Russell Wilson under center.
The Broncos scored 21 points in a span of three minutes and 23 seconds Sunday afternoon. To put that glorious little stretch in perspective, they’d scored 20 points over their 133 minutes of painful football just prior to that. It’s any wonder coach Nathaniel Hackett didn’t faint on the spot.
“But to watch these guys when you’re down 27-0 — everybody had a choice on how they wanted to continue that game,” said Hackett, whose first-year record dipped to 3-10. “I’m so impressed with all those guys — defense, offense, special teams. They didn’t blink, they stayed together.”
For 2.25 quarters, a football game at Empower Field this fall was fun, frenetic, exciting and — best of all — hopeful. The crying shame was that it took a 27-0 deficit and 14 weeks of torture to finally get there.
“I just feel like we held our own,” said cornerback Pat Surtain II, whose volleyball-dig of an interception, his first of 2022, set up the Broncos’ second touchdown of the afternoon. “No matter what (the score of) the game was, we came back. It just shows how we’re doing this as a team — we made plays on both sides of the ball. And I just feel like, collectively, as a team, (this) was one of our best performances.”
It was one of Jewell’s best performances, too, despite the Broncos’ inability to get all that hope over the hump. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce and pick-your-slot-speedster-of-choice have had an awful lot of fun at the Outlaw’s expense the last five seasons.
Jewell is one of those prototype, run-stuffing, downhill linebackers who Mahomes and coach Andy Reid delight in forcing to run uphill, in a hurry, time and again. Per Pro-Football-Reference, of the 12 times Jewell’s been hit for a 100.0 opponent passer rating or better when targeted, three have come came against Kansas City. The man was due.
“It’s still the first half,” linebacker Alex Singleton told me when asked about the Broncos’ pick party. “If you’re gonna quit, just jog off like you already lost. I mean it’s the NFL — it isn’t college football. Some team’s not going to score 50 on somebody. So you’ve got to buckle down. We know what we’re doing. It’s not like we’re lining up and we’re just outgunned. It’s not Ohio State against some Division II school and just making a play that got lucky.
“We know how good we are, especially our defense, and how we’ve been playing this year. And so we made that play. We knew it was a spark that our team needed.”
Pose away, dudes.
Party on. You be you, Outlaw.
“I actually want the TFLs, especially for a linebacker,” Jewell said of his two-pick performance. “But at the end of the day, I’d rather win than get both of those.”
Right answer. And the only answer that matters.