After an NFL game as trippy as a tryptophan-induced dream, when a fat guy stole the football to seal the Broncos’ victory after an undrafted rookie ran through the Steelers like they were made of cellophane, you knew somebody in the Denver locker room was bound to say it.
“Hey man, if I get another Super Bowl ring, I might have to hang the cleats up,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said, daring to dream big after Denver beat Pittsburgh 24-17.
He laughed, and quickly added: “Nah, I’m joking.”
Harris was kidding about the retirement part. But know what’s not funny? The Broncos, who were 3-6 and left for dead in the AFC standings a mere eight days ago, are now dead serious about making the playoffs.
How have they done it? Beats me, as well as stunned Steelers and confused Chargers.
“I actually did not do what I was supposed to do,” admitted Shelby Harris, a 290-pound defensive tackle who retreated into the end zone and picked off quarterback Ben Roethlisberger when the Steelers were two yards away from scoring a touchdown to tie the game in the final 67 seconds.
Within a span of 72 hours, Harris celebrated Thanksgiving, the birth of daughter Evelyn Rochelle and rescuing Denver teammates with backs against the goal line. This game ball is for you, Mr. Harris. How could life possibly be sweeter for a fat guy?
OK, try this on for a size XXXL dream: With five weeks remaining in the regular season, the Broncos are back on the yellow brick road to the playoffs, fighting for that last-wild card berth with Ravens and Colts and Titans (oh my!).
Is this real, Broncos Country? Or are we trippin’?
“It’s on to Cincinnati,” Denver linebacker Von Miller mumbled no fewer than six times as he conducted his post-game news conference. When Miller walked off the stage, he stuck out his tongue like a gleeful kid delighted with a childish prank.
Miller was busting on Bill Belichick, stealing a famous line from the notoriously grouchy New England coach. When the Vonster can openly mock Belichick, you know the Broncos must be having fun.
“The playoffs are obviously our ultimate goal,” Broncos safety Will Parks said.
Parks set the never-surrender tone by relentlessly chasing down Pittsburgh tight end Xavier Grimble on the first play of the second quarter, turning what appeared to be a certain Steelers’ touchdown into a fumble through the end zone and a dramatic change of possession for Denver.
The mindset on that big play? “Knock his (butt) out,” Parks said.
And that’s precisely the attitude that turned thousands of yellow Terrible Towels into tissues to dab at crying eyes of Pittsburgh fans who had stormed the stadium, anticipating a seventh-straight victory by their beloved Steelers.
Denver pulled off the upset with a blocked field goal by Justin Simmons, an interception by Harris, a fumble recovery by Darian Stewart and lots of the good stuff that made former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips wear big chains and a big smile on the way to Super Bowl 50.
“That’s what a good football team does, they take advantage of the opportunities given to them,” said running back Phillip Lindsay, the undrafted free agent who ran for 110 yards. He lights up the locker room with the most relentlessly positive sunshine of anyone since Tim Tebow left town.
To make the playoffs, Denver probably has to finish with a 10-6 record, which would require the Broncos to run the table.Is this kind of magic sustainable?
“The plays that were made today were the plays that were made in that 2015 season,” Parks aid.
In back-to-back games, the Broncos are somehow undefeated, despite surrendering 1,006 total yards of offense to the Chargers and Steelers. “Everybody gets caught up in the yards, because of all the fantasy B.S.,” Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe said. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about points. And wins.”
While coach Vance Joseph has recently been chanting the mantra of “1-0” for the Broncos, preaching his team has to win every practice and treat every Sunday like the Super Bowl, it’s OK for the rest of us to take a peek ahead.
After the Vonster beats the WKRP out of Cincinnati, Denver faces the Niners, Browns and Raiders, whose cumulative current record is 8-24-1. Yes, Virginia, the Broncos could wake up Christmas Day with a playoff berth within their grasp.
In the locker room, Parks gave me a stare as hard and cold as the hit that he put on a Pittsburgh tight end at the goal line. Why? He’s sick and tired of hearing how all hope was gone for Denver in 2018.
“You’ve got the outside noise. You’ve got people saying this and that,” Parks said.
I fessed up to being one of those peeps ready to send the Broncos to the glue factory.
“Oh, really?” replied Parks, shooting me daggers with his eyes.
After the media scrum around him broke, however, Parks grabbed me by the elbow, and thanked me for being a doubter.
“I love it,” said Parks, laughing. “Seen what you’ve done for us? Two wins in a row. Couldn’t have done it without you.”
Source : https://www.denverpost.com/2018/11/25/broncos-talking-playoffs-steelers-mark-kiszla/