On Now
Coming Up
  • Sun., Mar. 26, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Annual League Meeting Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Mon., Apr. 03, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with new head coaches may begin offseason workouts Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2016 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
  • Fri., Apr. 21, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.
  • Fri., Apr. 21, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Cortez
    April 21, 2017
    Parque de Vida in Cortez, CO
    Click here for more information.
  • Sat., Apr. 22, 2017 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM MDT TackleSTEM: Cardboard Combine
  • Sat., Apr. 22, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Del Norte
    April 22, 2017
    High Valley Community Center
    1210 Grand Ave, Del Norte, CO 81132
    Click here for more information.
  • Wed., Apr. 26, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents. Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.
  • Thu., Apr. 27, 2017 12:00 AM MDT 2017 NFL Draft The 2017 NFL Draft begins in Philadelphia and runs through April 29.
  • Fri., May. 05, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Fort Morgan
    May 5, 2017
    Legion Field
    219 S West St, Fort Morgan, CO 80701
    Click here for more information.
  • Sat., May. 06, 2017 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Woodland Park
    May 6, 2017
    Woodland Park High School
    151 Panther Way, Woodland Park, CO 80863
    Click here for more information.
Print
RSS

Immaculate Deflection Remembered

Posted Nov 1, 2012

The Broncos return to Cincinnati for the first regular-season game since Brandon Stokley came down with an 87-yard game-winning touchdown to open the 2009 season.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Last time the Broncos traveled to Cincinnati for a regular-season contest, the game ended with one of the most exciting plays in franchise history.

The Bengals took a 7-6 lead with just 38 seconds remaining on the clock and it seemed like Denver was headed to an 0-1 start to the 2009 season.

Backed up at his own 13-yard line, Kyle Orton’s first pass was incomplete, leaving 28 seconds to play.

That’s when wide receiver Brandon Stokley found himself in the right place at the right time.

Orton stepped up in the pocket and lofted a pass down the field intended for Brandon Marshall, who was covered by three Bengals defenders.

Cornerback Leon Hall jumped up and got a hand on the pass. The other two Cincinnati defenders collided with Marshall, taking all three out of the play. Hall ended up on the ground after his leaping deflection, leaving Stokley as the only remaining player in the vicinity of the ball.

The ball dropped right into his waiting arms and the rest was history.

“I just remember seeing the ball up in the air,” Stokley recalled. “And then just kind of being in disbelief that once I caught it, that nobody was there to tackle me that late in the game. Then after that, it was pretty much a blur. Just kind of ‘Please don’t get caught’ type of thinking.”

When Stokley made the catch, there were still 22 seconds on the clock. Dhani Jones was the only Bengal that had a chance at catching Stokley, but the receiver easily separated from the linebacker.

Instead of scoring right away, Stokley recognized that there was still time left on the clock and with no defenders near him, ran parallel to the goal line to let precious seconds continue to tick.

“I just kind of saw that nobody was behind me chasing me,” Stokley said. “I saw a guy kind of give up on it, so I knew there wasn’t a lot of time left, so I thought why not try to run some time off. And then the next day I started having nightmares about it, like ‘What if I would have got caught, or what if I would have fumbled, somebody would have hit me.’ So I think next time I’ll probably just get in the end zone.”

The 87-yard touchdown marked the longest game-winning touchdown from scrimmage in the final minute of the fourth quarter in NFL history.

Current Bronco Andre Caldwell was a wideout and kick returner for Cincinnati at the time, and it was up to him to try to match Stokley’s miraculous score as he dropped back to return Matt Prater’s ensuing kickoff.

“We were trying to answer it,” Caldwell said. "We had a little trick play, but it obviously didn’t work. We were trying to answer, but they did a good job stopping us.”

Caldwell caught a game-high six passes that day, but couldn’t come down with a seventh as Carson Palmer’s final desperation heave was intercepted by the Broncos, ending the game.

“It was very disappointing,” Caldwell recalled. “I was very shocked about the play, didn’t expect that to happen. We felt we had a win on the sideline, so he just took the air out of the whole team. We were like, ‘Dang, what do we have to do to win?’”

The Broncos have turned in some memorable come-from-behind victories in recent years, but none seemed as unlikely as that one.

“That was a pretty cool play," Stokley said. "To open the season like that was pretty special.”