|9/12||at Jacksonville Jaguars||17-24|
|10/3||at tennessee titans||26-20|
|10/10||at baltimore ravens||17-31|
|10/17||new york jets||20-24|
|10/31||at san francisco 49ers (in London)||16-24|
|11/14||kansas city chiefs||49-29|
|11/22||at san diego chargers||14-35|
|11/28||st. louis rams||33-36|
|12/5||at kansas city chiefs||6-10|
|12/12||at arizona cardinals||13-43|
|12/19||at oakland raiders||23-29|
|1/2||san diego chargers||28-33|
A SEASON TO FORGET SPARKS A CHANGE TO REMEMBER
When All-Pro outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle in training camp, hard times seemed inevitable for the defense — and the Broncos as a whole.
But no one could have foreseen what followed — a 4-12 nightmare that saw head coach Josh McDaniels dismissed after 12 games, a defense that was the league’s worst and, most damaging of all, a scandal that erupted after team video director Steve Scarnecchia left a camera running at London’s Wembley Stadium to record a 49ers walk-through the day before their game.
“This cuts into the trust of so many different constituents,” said Joe Ellis, the team’s chief operating officer at the time.
By the time McDaniels was dismissed — “There wasn’t any point in delaying it,” Ellis said — all that was left was for the Broncos to try and reclaim their dignity and begin putting the pieces together to rebuild. Interim head coach Eric Studesville was the right man to begin that process, and he restored order to guide the Broncos to a 17-point comeback for a Week 16 win over Houston that provided a ray of light amid the gloom.
Strudesville cleansed the organization of the bitter aftertaste left from the last months of the McDaniels era. That helped establish the first-year Broncos coach in the organization, and he endured through the subsequent changes and remained the team’s running backs coach into 2016.
But for fundamental change, and to restore the luster of the Broncos in the community, there was only one name that mattered. And when reports leaked late in the 2010 season that the Broncos were talking to John Elway about returning to run the club’s football operations, Denver held its breath with anticipation.
Less than a week after the depressing season ended, Elway became the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations. And as the next few seasons of glory would prove, one cliché is true: It really is darkest before the dawn.