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The best of the Broncos' decade: Remembering top plays, players and more from the 2010s

The 2010s were a memorable decade for the Broncos and their fans. Relive some of the moments that defined the decade with these 40 photos.

As the decade comes to an end, DenverBroncos.com is remembering some of the best players and moments from the last 10 years. In the final installment, we're handing out some superlatives that range from the best play to the best social-media moment.

Read on for a trip through a 10-year stretch in which the Broncos won five division titles, reached two Super Bowls and won a world championship.

Best offensive player: Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is an easy choice. The Sheriff made three Pro Bowls in his four years in Denver and was twice named a first-team All-Pro. He earned MVP honors in 2013 as he set single-season records for passing yards and passing touchdowns. The Broncos went to a pair of Super Bowls and won Super Bowl 50 with Manning under center. He's a sure-fire Ring of Famer and Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 2021.

Best defensive player: Von Miller

After being drafted second-overall in 2011, Miller put together nine years of dominant football as he earned three first-team All-Pro nods, eight Pro Bowl appearances and Super Bowl 50 MVP honors. He tallied 106 regular-season sacks to become the franchise's all-time sack leader, and he's also recorded 26 forced fumbles. The Broncos have featured other impressive defensive players this decade, especially on the 2015 team. None, though, come close to challenging Miller for his spot.

Best offensive play: Shocking the Steelers

On the first play of overtime in the 2011 wild-card round, Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas shocked the Steelers. With the game knotted at 23, Tebow faked a handoff and threw a quick post route to Thomas. Then a second-year receiver, Thomas took off across the field, stiff-armed a defender and raced down the right sideline. Broncos fans went ballistic as Thomas burst into the south end zone to give Denver the quickest overtime win in NFL history.

Best defensive play: Miller begins a dominant day

The Broncos held a 3-0 lead with 6:32 to play in the first quarter of Super Bowl 50 when Cam Newton dropped back on third-and-10 from his own 15-yard line. Von Miller flew off the line of scrimmage, dipped underneath the Panthers' right tackle and met Newton in the backfield almost instantly. Instead of just sacking Newton, Miller had the presence of mind to rip the ball away. Malik Jackson recovered the fumble in the end zone to give Denver a two-score lead in a game they never trailed. The play became synonymous with the Broncos' win, and it was the most enduring moment of Miller's MVP performance.

Best special teams play: Simmons and Parks save the day

In a 2016 game against the Saints, the Broncos scored 13 fourth-quarter points to take a 23-17 lead with 2:50 to play. But it appeared that wasn't enough. Drew Brees led the Saints down the field for a touchdown that tied the game at 23, and the Saints appeared poised to take a one-point lead with 1:22 to play. But as the Saints attempted the extra point, rookie safety Justin Simmons hurdled the line of scrimmage and blocked the kick. His fellow rookie, Will Parks, scooped the ball up and ran it all the way back for a 25-23 win. Parks, whose white shoes along a white sideline helped ensure the call would not be overturned, stunned the New Orleans crowd.

Best offensive performance: Manning tosses seven touchdowns

In the 2013 season opener, Manning exacted his revenge against a Ravens team that knocked Denver out of the 2012 playoffs. Manning tossed seven touchdown, tying an NFL record, in a 49-27 win over Baltimore. He also did not throw an interception as he posted a 141.1 quarterback rating. Manning didn't slow down from there, either, as he threw 55 total touchdowns that season.

Best defensive performance: Miller vs. Brady

Von Miller earned Super Bowl 50 MVP honors, but his performance in the 2015 AFC Championship may have been even more impressive. Facing Tom Brady, Miller recorded 2.5 sacks, an interception and four quarterback hits. The Broncos' would not have won that game without rattling Brady, and Miller played a big part.

Best offensive game-winner: Anderson gives the Broncos the win

Denver's win over the Steelers in the 2011 playoffs was impressive, but it's possible that C.J. Anderson's 49-yard game-winning run in the snow was ultimately more meaningful. The overtime winner would ultimately help the Broncos lock up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, which proved crucial during the team's run to Super Bowl 50.

Best defensive game-winner: Roby runs it in

The 2015 Broncos began to look like a team of destiny as early as a Week 2 "Thursday Night Football" matchup with the Chiefs. After the Broncos tied the game with 36 seconds to play, it appeared the game was headed to overtime. But the Chiefs chose to run a play, and linebacker Brandon Marshall knocked the ball free from Jamaal Charles on a routine play. Second-year player Bradley Roby scooped up the loose ball and ran it 21 yards for a game-winning score. Arrowhead Stadium instantly fell silent as Denver walked away with a win.

Best offensive rookie: Phillip Lindsay

As a rookie — and an undrafted one, no less — Phillip Lindsay rushed for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018. His performance earned him a spot in both the Pro Bowl and in NFL history, as he is the only undrafted offensive rookie to make the Pro Bowl.

Best defensive rookie: Von Miller

His name is popping up quite a bit on this list, but that's what happens when you record 11.5 sacks as a rookie and earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Bradley Chubb did best Miller's sack total in 2018, but the hardware earns Miller the nod.

Best touchdown celebration: Playing keep away

Manning threw a lot of touchdowns, but no celebration was better than the game of a keep-away between Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas after Manning tossed his then-record-setting 509th career touchdown pass.

Best sack dance: From Von to Superman

Years before Miller played Cam Newton in the Super Bowl — and dabbed after a key sack — the first-overall and second-overall picks faced off in 2012. Miller got to Newton that game, and he used Newton's Superman nickname against him during a sack dance.

Best storyline: From undrafted to All-Pro

Phillip Lindsay emerging as the hometown kid is heartwarming, but it doesn't quite beat Chris Harris Jr.'s journey from undrafted player to potential Broncos Ring of Famer. Harris joined the Broncos in 2011 after he went undrafted out of Kansas, and he carved out a role as the Broncos' best cornerback of the decade. The self-proclaimed underdog made four Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro in Denver, and he was a key member of the "No-Fly Zone." The story started to get good when Harris snagged two interceptions off Philip Rivers in a 24-point comeback on "Monday Night Football" in 2012, and Harris only got better from there.

Best one-liner: 'This one's for Pat!'

When the Broncos won their first Super Bowl at the end of the 1997 season, late Owner Pat Bowlen lifted the Lombardi Trophy into the air and declared, "This one's for John!" A year later, Bowlen was back up on the stage and said, "This one's for you!" Then, nearly two decades later, Elway had the chance to return the favor. After the Broncos won Super Bowl 50, Elway dedicated the win to Bowlen, who at the time was battling Alzheimer's. "This one's for Pat!" he shouted. It was an emotional ending to a dominant performance.

Best social media moment: 'Where yours at young fella?'

In the months after the Broncos beat the Panthers in the Super Bowl, former Panthers cornerback Josh Norman did an interview in which he dismissed Demaryius Thomas' performance against him. Thomas needed just five words to silence Norman.

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