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Garett Bolles calls recent history vs. Chiefs 'unacceptable,' says it's 'time to get job done'

All-Pro left tackle returns for first time in four weeks
Garett Bolles
Posted at 4:33 PM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 18:46:05-05

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Exactly a year ago, the Broncos identified Garett Bolles as a franchise cornerstone. He agreed to a $68 million contract extension, a remarkable commitment mirroring a breathtaking U-turn in his career.

He went from a liability to an All-Pro. With the money came security and responsibility. The Broncos kept Bolles to build the core of a team that could snap the streak of four straight losing seasons and the five-year absence from the playoffs.

Nothing has gone expected for Bolles this year. He has regressed, ranking 33rd among tackles according to Pro Football Focus, while allowing more sacks this season in eight games than all of last year. That is in the rearview along with his ankle injury and COVID-19 that cost him three total games.

Friday, Bolles framed the importance of the Sunday game vs. the Chiefs for first place perfectly.

"You see the banners we have in the indoor (Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse). You see the tradition we have with this team from when Mr. Elway played here. To all these greats, (Steve) Atwater, Keith Bishop, that built this culture here with the Bowlen family, I love and care for them. This such a unique organization, a special organization," Bolles said when I asked him about Sunday night as a chance to change the narrative.

"Everyone knows the Broncos logo all around the world. Where we've been the last couple of years is unacceptable. For me and I know for a lot of the guys here, and the leader I am, they put their faith in me, so going out there to the kingdom and playing the Chiefs, there's nothing better. Millions of people watching. You definitely want to play your best. This is definitely a step forward. I know there's so much nonsense going on outside the building about us losing 11 straight. It's just the guys in this room, we need to be accountable to each other and go get the job done."

Only one Broncos player has beaten the Chiefs, kicker Brandon McManus. No Broncos player on this current roster — regardless of their career with other teams — has beaten the Chiefs since 2015. So it's impossible to overstate how big this victory would be for a franchise aiming to return to relevance.

The Broncos enter the game relatively healthy, save for starting running back Melvin Gordon. He missed his third straight day of practice and is listed as doubtful on the injury report, making it unlikely he plays. If he can't go, rookie Javonte Williams will start, backed up by Mike Boone. Williams and Gordon have formed one of the league's best tandems, combining for 1,173 yards and seven rushing touchdowns.

"My confidence is really high (in Williams)," said coach Vic Fangio, if Gordon is scratched.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has averaged 130 yards receiving in Kansas City's five home wins vs. the Broncos during the 11-game winning streak. ...

Teddy Bridgewater has worn a soccer shin guard to protect an injury sustained when right tackle Cam Fleming accidentally cleated him last Sunday. ...

The Broncos are 3-19 in December in Kansas City.

Throw in McManus' 2-11 mark and players on this roster who have beaten Kansas City are a combined 8-42.