ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – After leading the 11th fourth-quarter or overtime game-winning or -tying drive in his Broncos career and eclipsing the 70,000 career-passing mark, it's easy to see why quarterback Peyton Manning says that Thursday's stunning 31-24 win over divisional foe Kansas City is one he'll never forget.
"To win a division game on the road, [in] a great atmosphere," said Manning. "This place is always just a great place to play football and the crowd was rocking tonight and they were into it. I thought it was two really good teams battling out there and we were real fortunate to come up on top. But this is one that you'll always remember. Certainly the way it ended."
Manning isn't exaggerating about the Broncos' wild ending, either. After erasing a 14-point deficit in just the second quarter – only to match each one of the Chiefs' scores in the third frame – made cornerback Bradley Roby's scoop-and-score touchdown with 27 seconds remaining even sweeter. Combined with reaching 70,000 career passing yards -- an elite club of two that now includes just Manning and Brett Favre -- made Thursday night one for the books.
The Broncos and Chiefs are scoreless after one quarter, with each defense holding strong.
"I've never been in one quite like that," said Manning. "I've been in a couple of crazy games, but never one quite like that. Certainly [a] great drive at the end of the game. Our defense did a great job keeping us in it with some turnovers and some field goals and obviously they bent on the Chiefs' final touchdown, and then offensively we were able to kind of help them out."
After working out some kinks in the first quarter, the Broncos offense finally hit a stride in the second. Although the Broncos hadn't scored an offensive touchdown in five quarters of the 2015 season, suddenly they had two in as many minutes.
The offensive line hit a groove as well, after stalling on multiple drives in Week 1 against the Ravens. Fans and coaches saw a glimpse of the potential from the Broncos' offensive line when they marched more than 80 yards on a nearly 10-minute drive that ended in a field goal.
Thursday night, Denver was able to attempt the same cohesion again in the final series of the night, except this time, with under two minutes remaining, Manning was able to connect with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to knot the game, 24-24.
"Great poise by the offensive line; the first two-minute drill doesn't get any harder than that on the road," said Manning. "Playing here in Arrowhead where it's as loud as any other stadium… [Demaryius Thomas] made some awesome plays, it was a great call by the coaches to put Emmanuel on that route, a great way to end it. And then obviously, to get the turnover there at the end was pretty unique."