The Drive II caps a revival

From the ashes of 5-11 came the best regular season since 1984, a 12-4 finish that vaulted the Broncos back to the top of the AFC West. The roster wasn’t radically turned over, but the changes were apparent.

“A few key people and attitude,” wide receiver Mark Jackson said in 1991. “Last year, we didn’t have a terribly bad team, but we did have a terrible record. We kind of went down the tubes.”

The 1991 Broncos won the close games the 1990 edition lost, going 8-3 in contests decided by seven points or less. Their proficiency in those games would set up another dramatic, franchise-defining playoff victory.

Add a new grafs in the middle: Much like their comeback victory in Cleveland five years earlier, the Broncos started from their own 2-yard line against Houston. But this time, Denver didn’t need a touchdown. They needed just a field goal to get the win.

With Elway improvising, the Broncos capitalized on the Oilers’ three- and four-man rushes to march down the field in two minutes. Denver converted two fourth downs to keep hope alive, leading to a 28-yard field goal try in the waning seconds. Backup quarterback Gary Kubiak saved a tricky snap and kicker David Treadwell knocked the ball through the uprights for the stunning victory.

Kubiak and Treadwell would play prominent roles eight days later in the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills, but not as they dreamed. On a windy afternoon, Treadwell missed three field-goal attempts. Kubiak replaced Elway, who suffered a right thigh injury, and nearly led a comeback, but a Sewell fumble ended the Broncos’ late comeback hopes in a 10-7 loss.

But the Broncos were back.

1991 schedule

Date Opponent Score
9/1 cincinnati bengals 45-14
9/8 at los angeles raiders 13-16
9/15 seattle seahawks 16-10
9/22 san diego chargers 27-19
9/29 at minnesota vikings 13-6
10/6 at houston oilers 14-42
10/20 kansas city chiefs 19-16
10/27 at new england patriots 9-6
11/3 pittsburgh steelers 20-13
11/10 los angeles raiders 16-17
11/17 at kansas city chiefs 24-20
11/24 at seattle seahawks 10-13
12/1 new england patriots 20-3
12/8 at cleveland browns 17-7
12/15 phoenix cardinals 24-19
12/22 at san diego chargers 17-14
1/4 houston oilers (AFC divisional game) 26-24
1/12 at buffalo bills (afc championship game) 7-10

1991 offense

Pos Player Starts
qb john elway 16
rb gaston green 12
rb greg lewis 4
fb robert perryman 7
wr mark jackson 10
wr derek russell 5
wr steve sewell 1
wr michael young 13
te reggie johnson 3
te clarence kay 16
te shannon sharpe 9
c keith kartz 16
t jeff davidson 14
t darrell hamilton 2
t ken lanier 16
g sean farrell 4
g crawford ker 10
g dave widell 2
g doug widell 16

Sept. 1, 1991: Denver records its biggest opening day win ever with a 45-14 pounding of Cincinnati.

Dec. 1, 1991: A 17-7 win at Cleveland clinches a playoff berth for the Broncos.

Dec. 22, 1991: Denver closes out the regular season at 12-4 and wins the AFC West title for the fifth time in eight years.

The Drive II

On January 4, 1992, John Elway and the Broncos faced first-and-10 at their own 2-yard-line. Sounds familiar, right? But even though the Broncos trailed the Houston Oilers by a solitary point, they had over three minutes less time than they did five years earlier at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. The Broncos did not have to march […]

Feb. 2, 1992: Gaston Green, Karl Mecklenburg, Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith represent the Broncos in the Pro Bowl. S

1991 defense

Pos Player Starts
de alphonso carreker 1
de ron holmes 14
de warren powers 11
de brian sochia 3
de kenny walker 1
nt greg kragen 16
lb michael brooks 14
lb mike croel 10
lb simon fletcher 16
lb tim lucas 3
lb karl mecklenburg 16
lb jeff mills 3
lb keith traylor 2
cb tyrone braxton 15
cb charles dimry 1
cb wymon henderson 16
cb randy robbins 2
s steve atwater 16
s dennis smith 16

Record: 12-4

First place, AFC West