If there is one worry the successful team has heading into a week off, it’s of the loss of momentum that occasionally accompanies the disruption of a successful rhythm. The Broncos had found just that in the last two weeks, turning a frustrating 0-1 start into a 2-1 record with a pair of wins over teams that were a combined 20-12 a season ago. Each game saw improvement; the Broncos went from losing by eight at St. Louis to winning by three over the Kansas City Chiefs and then by 10 at New England, which came into Sunday having won 27 of its previous 30 home games.
But the Broncos have sustained or regained momentum far more often than not coming out of the bye. The team’s post-bye week record of 13-4 is the best in the AFC, and tied for the best in the league with the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings. The closest AFC teams to the Broncos are the Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, both of whom are 11-6 after byes.
Over the bye weekend, we’ll look back at the Broncos’ bye-week history. Today, we’ll start with the years before Mike Shanahan became the team’s head coach: 1990-94.
- Bye Week: 8
- Record Going In: 3-4
- Immediately After Bye: L, 27-22 to Minnesota.
- Notes: Broncos had won just before the bye after dropping three straight (including two one-point defeats) but lost momentum after the bye, dropping six straight.
- Bye Week: 7
- Record Going In: 4-2
- Immediately After Bye: W, 19-16 over Kansas City.
- Notes: After 42-14 loss at Houston before week off, Broncos returned and won three straight en route to 12-4 finish.
- Bye Week: 9
- Record Going In: 5-3
- Immediately After Bye: W, 27-16 over N.Y. Jets.
- Notes: Broncos lost two of three before bye, then swept New York teams after it. Win streak ended with John Elway injury, forcing Tommy Maddox into starting lineup and, eventually, the Maddox-Shawn Moore platoon into action.
- Bye Week: 4
- Record Going In: 2-1
- Immediately After Bye: W, 35-13 over Indianapolis.
- Notes: Broncos beat Colts — who finished 4-12 last year — then lost to Packers and Raiders, each of whom went to playoffs. Broncos would end year going 7-2 against teams .500 or worse but only 2-5 against winning teams.
- Bye Week: 8
- Record Going In: 3-3
- Immediately After Bye: W, 28-17 over Seattle.
- Notes: Only year in which the NFL had a scheduled double-bye. Broncos won four of five and six of nine after second ’93 bye.
- Bye Week: 5
- Record Going In: 0-4
- Immediately After Bye: W, 16-9 at Seattle.
- Notes: Denver recovered from one of its worst starts to win at Husky Stadium, A week later, the Broncos would narrowly fall to the Kansas City Chiefs in a much-replayed Monday Night Football classic that is probably on continuous loop at NFL Films headquarters. Still, the Broncos were strong after the week off, going 7-2 after the bye to scratch back into playoff contention before an 0-3 finish led to a regime change on the sidelines.
Tags: Bye week