ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (AP) — The Denver Broncos have many regrets from their 30-27 overtime loss to Kansas City last month. Going for a 62-yard field goal isn't one of them.
Dropped passes. Muffed punts. Fifteen flags. Surrendering an eight-point lead in the closing seconds of regulation. These are the things that sting from that cold November night.
"Yeah, it was tough," coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday. "We kind of lost the game about three different times."
Kubiak figured he would have lost his locker room had he essentially conceded the tie by pinning the Chiefs back with a punt as the Broncos faced fourth-and-10 from the Kansas City 44 with a minute left in overtime.
So, he sent in Brandon McManus instead, and his miss set up a short field for the Chiefs to win it as time expired — on a banked field goal, no less.
Kubiak's players had his back and so did his boss, John Elway, who tweeted, "We're in this game to WIN."
That tie would look pretty good right about now, though.
"But we're still behind him, regardless," linebacker Brandon Marshall said. "We all want to play for the win and I understand a tie would look better than a loss. But we've got Gary's back, man. We love him. We appreciate his passion, how he takes chances. And, look, in the moment we're all saying, 'Go for it. Let's win this game. B-Mac has a huge leg.'"
Pass rusher Shaq Barrett said watching that first K.C. game on film this week was painful because of all the missed opportunities, but he isn't second-guessing Kubiak's call, either.
"I appreciate still that we went for the win," Barrett said, "because I have 100 percent faith in B-Mac. He always makes that kick. Coach had faith in him, too, and I'm pretty sure if we had the opportunity to do it again, he would send him back out there again and B-Mac is going to make it.
"But Coach also let us know that he had faith in the defense, that we were going to go out there and hold them, even though it was like 15 yards that they had to go. The whole game we held them down."
Before allowing the Chiefs' 75-yard touchdown drive to tie it at the end of regulation, Denver's defense had limited Alex Smith to an average of just 12 yards on Kansas City's previous dozen drives.
Despite being at peace with the kick-or-punt decision, the Broncos (8-6) haven't gotten over that crushing defeat, dropping two of three games since and now they're teetering on playoff elimination a year after winning it all.
Their five-year run as AFC West champions is over and just to get into the playoffs as a wild card they'll have to win the rematch Sunday night in Kansas City then beat Oakland on New Year's Day in Denver and hope for some help.