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Vail Yeti returning to Dobson for one last game on Saturday, featuring former Colorado Avalanche members

While the Vail Yeti hockey team has already completed its regular season, the players will return to the ice for one more game on Saturday in an effort to raise money for U.S. military veterans and youth hockey in Colorado.

The game will be against the Colorado Warriors and will begin at 7 p.m., a slightly earlier start time than the Yeti played during the regular season. That earlier start time was decided upon in an effort to attract more families with small children who often have to leave early when the kids start falling asleep during the third period.

Saturday’s matchup will charge a $5 fee for children, as all the proceeds from the game will go to Vail Mountaineers Youth Hockey Program and the Colorado Warriors, a donation-funded organization which aims to provide those who served in the military with opportunities for camaraderie and fellowship through the game of hockey.

Top-level skills

The Colorado Avalanche Alumni Association helps coach the Colorado Warriors, and on Saturday, former Colorado Avalanche players John-Michael Liles and Kyle Quincey will take to the ice against the Vail Yeti.

“It’s a celebration of the end of the year for us, and a chance for our guys to get together on the rink again, but in a different vein this time, with the goal being to raise money for a different group,” said Vail Yeti owner Kyle Forte.

Forte said between the former pros on the ice, and the Yeti coming off a strong season, fans should be treated to a high level of hockey at Dobson Ice Arena in Vail on Saturday.

“I imagine it will be a high-scoring game, with a good showcase of skills,” he said.

In another twist which isn’t a part of a normal Yeti matchup, there will be a silent auction taking place throughout the game, with Vail Yeti jerseys, Colorado Avalanche-related items, USA Hockey items and more.

Aside from that, however, the match will resemble a regular Yeti game, with the popular chuck-a-puck taking place during the break between the second and third period, in which 400 pucks are sold and then hurled onto the ice by fans.

Full support

Forte is a new owner, acquiring the Yeti in October, and said in taking over the Yeti team, raising money for charity organizations was one of his goals. Throughout the season, events like the chuck-a-puck helped raise thousands for local nonprofits. And on Saturday, 100% of the proceeds will go toward the Colorado Warriors and the Vail Mountaineers Youth Hockey Program.

Forte said he was pleased with the team in his first year as owner, not only for the Vail Yeti’s impressive record at home (15-3-1), but for the team’s ability to connect with the community, raise money for local nonprofits and pack the stands at Dobson each week.

Forte said the Yeti was fortunate to have the full support of some of the strongest local organizations you’ll find in the community, including the town of Vail, the Steadman Clinic, and Howard Head sports medicine.

At Saturday’s final game, “we’ll have our full roster there,” Forte said. “It should be a wide open, skilled hockey game.”

Vail Yeti new owner very pleased with team, town after wrapping up successful first season

The Vail Yeti hockey team went 15-3-1 at home this season, packing Dobson arena with several sell-out events and raising nearly $15,000 for local nonprofits.

For new owner Kyle Forte, who took over the team in October, the season was everything he was hoping for.

“The biggest part for us was just having a deep impact with the community, and I think we did that at a pretty good scale,” he said.

Forte has dedicated much of his life to the sport of hockey; before becoming the owner of the Yeti, he was the coach of the Kalamazoo Wings, a minor league affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, and prior to that he was a hockey director for the Vail Mountaineers youth hockey program. He came back to Vail to help with Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy’s hockey program, and found himself in a position to own the Yeti just before the 2022-23 season started.

He said it was a whirlwind season, with lots of decisions made on the fly, but is very pleased with the way it turned out. The season culminated on Friday with a win at Dobson Arena for the final match of the season in Vail.

“We had great support from the town of Vail, the Steadman Clinic, Howard Head, which really made the season a success,” Forte said.

The win brought the Vail Yeti’s at-home record to 15-3-1, a success by any measure. But aside from the gameplay, Forte said he measured some of the season’s successes in other ways, like selling out all of the “chuck a puck for charity” promotions, where fans purchase a puck and throw it out onto the ice in between periods in an effort to raise money for local nonprofits.

More than $14,000 was raised for local groups including Vail International Hockey, Buddy Mentors, Able Light, Limbs of Liberty, Steadman-Philippon Research Institute, Eagle County Emergency Responders Fund, Court Appointed Special Advocates of the Continental Divide, Mountain Rec, Advancement Via Individual Determination, Girls Scouts of Colorado, Women’s and Children’s Shelter, the Rotary Club, My Future Pathways, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Runs of ALS.

While the regular season is now complete, the Yeti will host one more charity game at Dobson, an April 8 matchup with the Colorado Warriors, a group of veterans who play in hockey tournaments in an effort to foster camaraderie and fellowship after serving in the military.

“It would be great if we could pack the stands once again for that one,” Forte said.

Packing the stands at Dobson was the Yeti’s hallmark this season, something Forte attributes to the low ticket price ($10 in advance, $15 at the door) and the passion of the local community.

“We also offered kids free entry, so for $20, a family of four could have a nice night out,” he said.

Heading into next season, Forte said he doesn’t plan on raising ticket prices.

“That’s something we really pride ourselves on, we want to keep those prices low so money is never a barrier for people to come out in our own community,” he said. “We want to use this platform to enable and empower the community, and provide an amenity.”

The Yeti’s final home game on Friday saw packed stands. The team ended the season with a record of 15-3-1.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

The players attribute their strong play at home to the massive crowds, and the excitement that brings to the games. And Forte said the big-game atmosphere at Dobson also helps attract other teams who bring a high level of competition. Several games this season came right down to the wire.

“When those crowds show up, you do feel a little bit more pressure to perform — the pressure is on to put on a good show, and when we win we are winning for our town, and our community,” he said. “And it helps attract other teams, as well. They get to come to a place where people love to come vacation, and they get to be in front of these big crowds.”

Forte said he’s already looking forward to next season, trying to plan another good schedule with some of the budding rivalries the Yeti has in teams like the Breckenridge Vipers, who the Yeti went 4-2 against this season.

“It’s incredible how well both communities travel when we play one another — we go up there and a third of the fans have come from Vail to watch us, or visa versa, they come here and a third of the fans are cheering for the Vipers,” Forte said. “I think it goes to show that both organizations have really found their home within the community.”

As for next year, “We’re hoping we can retain a lot of the group that we had this year, but another good group of guys together and have another bang-up year,” Forte said.

Deion ‘Coach Prime’ Sanders calls trip to Vail a life-changing experience

Coach Prime caught Vail in the prime of the winter season, and he appears to have left town transformed by its magic.

In a social media post, Sanders said his recent visit to Vail with Tracey Edmonds was “unbelievable.”

“Vail, Colorado, changed my life, I’ll never be the same,” Sanders said.

Sanders said while he did suffer a bout of elevation sickness, he was able to recover and have an amazing experience snowmobiling in the Wolcott area.

“Vail, Colorado, I’m coming back,” Sanders said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Deion Sanders riding a snowmobile at Sage Outdoor Adventures in Wolcott.
Instagram screengrab

Sage Outdoor Adventures says their “silent treatment” snowmobiling tour is exactly what they recommend for someone who is visiting from the city and has a stressful job, like the head football coach for the University of Colorado, Boulder, for example.

“On tours, we try to take 2 minutes to just appreciate the silence,” said Brit Goldman with Sage Outdoor Adventures. “It’s so silent and tranquil, and the peace and rejuvenation that comes from even just 2 minutes of silence can be very grounding.”

Goldman is herself a CU graduate and was just getting caught up to the fact that Sanders, otherwise known as Coach Prime, is now the head football coach at her alma mater (Sanders announced he was coming to Boulder in early December). Goldman said while Sage Outdoor Adventures usually goes to great lengths to protect the anonymity of their guests — especially high-profile clientele like Edmonds and Sanders — the social media posts from the power couple on Sage Outdoor Adventures’ property quickly got out and started spreading around the Vail Valley.

“We were so excited that they had a great experience and decided to share it in that way,” she said. “And it sounds like they were able to get out there and forget about everything, which is exactly what we want. Just getting to be a normal human being.”

Edmonds and Sanders in Vail Jan. 21. Sanders is holding a bag from local shop Eye Pieces.
Instagram screengrab

In Vail Village, a mid-morning appearance from Sanders and Edmonds on Jan. 21 had the staff abuzz, said Marketing Manager Dani Barry. Barry said the staff did a good job of keeping a lid on their appearance at first, but when the social media posts got out, she did confirm Sanders was in the store and left with some Eye Pieces products.

“We were stoked to have them in the store and have their support,” Barry said of Sanders and Edmonds. “(Sanders) is a style icon, so we’re happy to have him here and have him sporting some of our eyewear.”

Mayfield, Akers lead Rams’ 51-14 blowout of Broncos

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Baker Mayfield threw two touchdown passes to Tyler Higbee, Cam Akers rushed for 118 yards and three more scores, and the Los Angeles Rams routed the Denver Broncos 51-14 Sunday for their second victory since mid-October.

Mayfield went 24 of 28 for 230 yards in another standout performance for his second win in three starts with the Rams (5-10), who produced the best game of their dismal season on Christmas.

Rookie Cobie Durant returned his second interception 85 yards for a touchdown with 4:08 left to cap the Rams’ first 50-point performance under Sean McVay since their famed 54-51 victory over Kansas City in 2018.

For at least one more week, Los Angeles avoided becoming the first defending Super Bowl champion to lose 11 games. Even with the NFL’s 32nd-ranked offense coming in, Los Angeles became just the second team to score 50 points in the NFL this season, joining Dallas earlier this month, and put together a comprehensively dominant performance.

In his Los Angeles debut, Larrell Murchison made 2 1/2 of the Rams’ six sacks of Russell Wilson, who passed for 214 yards with three interceptions for Denver (4-11).

The beleaguered Wilson was not sharp in his return from a one-game absence with a concussion, throwing interceptions to end Denver’s first two drives. The second pick was by Bobby Wagner, who faced his longtime teammate and friend for the first time after spending a full decade together in Seattle.

Wagner also sacked Wilson during the first half, when the Rams improbably racked up 261 of their 388 yards before halftime and eventually scored on their first eight drives against Denver’s above-average defense, already matching their full-game season high in points with their 31-6 halftime lead.

Denver trailed 41-6 before Wilson hit Greg Dulcich for the Broncos’ only touchdown with 8:30 to play.

Akers continued his late-season surge by producing the Rams’ first 100-yard rushing game of the season, while Higbee led the passing attack with 94 yards receiving for an offense missing its top three wideouts due to injury.

The Rams led by double digits less than nine minutes in when Durant picked off Wilson’s second pass and Mayfield hit Higbee for a 9-yard TD three plays later. Higbee became the Rams’ career franchise leader in touchdown catches by a tight end with his 19th score.

Wagner then poached a pass from Wilson across the middle of the field and made a long return, and the Rams scored two snaps later on Akers’ 3-yard run. Los Angeles had scored just one touchdown off a takeaway all season long before doing it twice more in the first quarter.

The Rams’ 17-point first quarter was their highest-scoring opening period since Week 6 of McVay’s first season in 2017. They subsequently scored touchdowns on four consecutive drives for the first time in McVay’s tenure.

Higbee made his second TD catch early in the second quarter after a smooth 75-yard drive by the Rams’ long-struggling offense. Akers then punched it in again 1:06 before halftime for a 31-3 lead.

Ramsey picked off Wilson’s long heave to the end zone on Denver’s opening drive of the second half. The Rams’ pressure on Wilson improbably was led by Murchison, who signed with LA 13 days ago after Tennessee cut him.


Murchison left in the fourth quarter with a neck injury. … Dulcich was ruled out with a hamstring injury late in the fourth quarter.

Broncos revel in small gains as they careen toward basement

DENVER — Linebacker Josey Jewell hesitated for a second after picking off Patrick Mahomes with the Denver Broncos trailing the Kansas City Chiefs 27-0 on Sunday.

Should he race for the end zone so he and his teammates could preen for the cameras in celebration?

Surely that would be a bad look for a team down by four scores and one whose plummet toward the NFL basement will only benefit the Seattle Seahawks, who stand to get the second overall pick in the 2023 draft as part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver.

Or should he trot to the sideline and act as if he’d done this before — he hadn’t. This was the fifth-year pro’s first career interception, and by game’s end, he’d have a pair of them.

“There was definitely a little pause,” said Jewell, who looked to defensive captain Justin Simmons, who encouraged him to celebrate the takeaway.

So they raced for the north end zone, joined by their jubilant teammates, to let loose, gleefully accepting any mockery if it could provide a spark for a team that has spiraled through a season of belly-flops, letdowns, setbacks and screwups.

“It made people want to make plays and try to get that momentum going,” Jewell said.

The Broncos (3-10) haven’t had much to celebrate this season with Wilson struggling in his transition to Denver, a rash of starters sidelined by injuries and a defense unable to set the edge after GM George Paton traded away Bradley Chubb to recoup a first-round draft pick in 2023.

A season that began with hopes of finally dethroning Mahomes and the Chiefs atop their AFC West perch has devolved into a stretch run where coaches and players alike are trying to save face and preserve their jobs.

Jewell’s interception sparked a 21-0 run with Wilson throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Jerry Jeudy and another to Marlon Mack, but he was sidelined with a concussion by the time the Chiefs eked out a 34-28 win, their 14th straight over the Broncos.

Coach Nathaniel Hackett said Monday that Wilson appeared to have been knocked unconscious on the play but added that Wilson, who is in concussion protocol, “felt great today when we saw him. He looked great.”

Hackett praised his team’s spunk for not folding when down 27-zip.

“They didn’t blink,” he said. “They stayed together.”

What’s working

Wilson finally looked like his vintage self with his first three-TD game since last year’s season finale and he led the team in rushing with 57 yards on four carries. That’s the most by a Denver QB since Tim Tebow ran for 93 yards against New England in 2011.

But with Wilson, who just turned 34, sustaining a concussion at the end of his final run, the Broncos have to wonder if he can subsist playing as he used to with the Seahawks.

What needs work

The decision-making by the offensive coaching staff. With LG Dalton Risner (back, shoulder) missing his first game this season, they decided to start rookie C Luke Wattenberg in his place.

DT Chris Jones, who came in with 10 sacks, manhandled the fifth-rounder from Washington, forcing the Broncos to rotate in others.

Stock up

WR Jerry Jeudy. He caught a career-best three touchdown passes after moving over to flanker with Courtland Sutton (hamstring) out. He caught eight passes for 73 yards despite being the focus of the Chiefs secondary. Jeudy came into the game with just six TD grabs in 36 games.

Stock down

WR Jerry Jeudy. His trio of TDs came after he bumped an official in the second quarter while arguing that he’d been held. Jeudy wasn’t flagged by line judge Tripp Sutter for the infraction but is in line for a hefty fine. Hackett didn’t see the bump, but was told about it by the officials and addressed it immediately with Jeudy.

“He definitely knew that he was wrong,” Hackett said. “That’s unacceptable. You can’t do that.”

Jeudy said he was “out there playing with frustration wanting to make a play for my team. I feel like at that point, I was just held and that should’ve been called. But I have to know how to control my anger and just move on.”


Wilson is in concussion protocol and could miss his second game this season after missing just three in his decade in Seattle. RB Mike Boone (ankle) is likely done for the year and Hackett had no update on WR Kendall Hinton (hamstring), who was limping badly after the game.

Key number

66 — RB Marlon Mack’s 66-yard touchdown catch was the longest of his career and the longest by a Broncos running back since Kapri Bibbs’ 69-yarder against the Raiders in 2016.

Up next

The Broncos host Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, who will be playing on short rest after facing the Patriots on Monday night.

Home away from home: Kilde wins Birds of Prey downhill by narrow margin over Odermatt

BEAVER CREEK — Friday’s snowstorm was just what the doctor ordered for Aleksander Aamodt Kilde.

The Norwegian, who said he got sick following last weekend’s Lake Louise World Cup — where he was second in the Nov. 26 super-G and first in the following day’s downhill — had the fastest time at Saturday’s World Cup downhill on the Birds of Prey course.

It was the event’s first day of competition after Friday’s downhill was canceled on account of the weather. Kilde finished 0.06 seconds in front of reigning overall World Cup champion Marco Odermatt while Canada’s James Crawford rounded out the podium.

“Yeah you know, it’s been a tough week,” Kilde said of his recent bout with the flu. “(I had to) take down everything a notch. I felt way better even yesterday. That got canceled, got another day of rest, and then today, you know, I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system, but I got the possibility to just be ready for the two minutes that I needed to be ready.”

Working from bib No. 6, Kilde posted the fastest split on the top of the course. As the wind picked up for the late starters, his work there may have been more decisive than his gaudy second segment, where he posted the fastest speed recorded — 75.4 miles per hour — on the entire course.

“Well I had the same situation last year where I was really fast on the top,” Kilde said of 2021, where he won a super-G and a downhill. “Today, there’s more weather, it’s windy; it’s hard for me to say, but, maybe I was a little bit lucky but I also had a good feeling there.” 

Odermatt challenged Kilde, winning back the lead in the second segment, only to trail by 0.02 seconds in the third. He lost another seven-hundredths in the third, but gained back three of those with his direct line off of the Harrier Jump, forcing fans to hold their breaths in Red Tail Stadium as Kilde — who told EuroSport afterward that he calls this “his second home” — waited in the leader’s chair to see if his lead would hold.

“Well, I think six-hundredths — you find that everywhere,” said Odermatt, who leads Kilde by 60 points in the current overall standings.

Marco Odermatt competes in the Xfinity Birds of Prey downhill Saturday in Beaver Creek.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

“Of course, it’s a sport with small margins,” Kilde added.

The defending downhill World Cup champion, Kilde has won the first two downhills of the season and has won the last two at Beaver Creek, going back to last year.

“I found a really good setup with my equipment and also with my skiing,” he said. “I believe in myself, I trust in myself and I have a good gameplan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know this plan is what I do and when I do that, it’s going to be fast.”

For Crawford, it was just his second World Cup podium in 66 starts. The 25-year-old was 82nd in the overall standings in 2021 and 14th last year. Currently, he’s seventh.

“It wasn’t until last year that I started breaking through. When you get a little bit of exposure on the tracks and confidence, it’s really easy to go out and do what you know,” he said.

James Crawford of Canada flies down the downhill course during the Xfinity Birds of Prey Saturday in Beaver Creek.
Ben Roof/Courtesy photo

“Today I definitely thought the skiing was good enough, the skiing was there. There’s still a little bit of a gap to close to Odermatt and Kilde.”

The Canadian said, given the deteriorating visibility and mounting winds, his early start may have been especially serendipitous.

“They were definitely hard,” he said of the conditions. “I think the early bib was definitely a bit of an advantage, but at the same time you have to use the advantage; you have to ski well to get on the podium.”

Crawford, who is currently ranked 10th in the downhill cup standings, finished one-hundredth of a second in front of three-time Olympic gold medalist Matthias Mayer.

“When you have so many guys on the World Cup who are able to win, at the end of the day it is mental,” he said of the close margins in ski racing. “It’s the approach you bring, it’s how you control nerves and when you’re able to actually produce on race day.”

“It was a close one, but it’s good,” Mayer said.

Sunday’s super-G begins at 10 a.m. In last year’s super-G, Kilde narrowly beat Odermatt, winning the event by 0.03 as American Travis Ganong snuck on the podium in third.

At 40, downhill racer Nyman still going full speed ahead

BEAVER CREEK — On occasion, fellow ski racers have been known to refer to Steven Nyman as “Old Man.”

Mostly, though, they go with “Sven” (a shortening of his first name) or “Nymonster” (a play on his last).

Or, he jokingly adds: “They just call me impressive.”

Now 40 years old, the American downhill racer from Utah is still speeding along with no plans of slowing down (translation: retire) anytime soon. Sure, his back sometimes aches but it’s not enough to deter him from chasing after the feeling of a perfect race.

It’s been a pursuit since he made his World Cup debut in 2002. A pursuit that’s led to two Achilles injuries, two ACL tears, breaks in both legs and hand surgery. A pursuit that’s also resulted in three World Cup wins and enduring memories as he and his teammates return to their home course in Beaver Creek, Colorado, this weekend for two downhill races and a super-G.

“This is a really good life, man,” said Nyman, who finished a downhill training run Wednesday 2.95 seconds behind the top time of Otmar Striedinger of Austria. “I’ll continue to do this as long as I feel like I’m capable and competitive. I love the challenge. … It keeps me young.”

Mention anything age-related and Nyman gently points out he’s not the oldest one out there taking on the demanding Birds of Prey course. That distinction belongs to France’s Johan Clarey, who turns 42 in January and tied for the fifth-fastest time in training Wednesday. Clarey was a surprise silver medalist in the downhill at the Beijing Olympics last February.

“I enjoy that medal more than if I was 21, because of all the hard work and resilience,” said Clarey, who plans to make this his last season on the circuit. “I would say to (Nyman), that as long as he’s enjoying training, and he’s enjoying skiing and competing, of course, he has to go on.”

What really keeps Nyman going is purely internal — that sensation when everything comes together in a race. He felt it during a stretch eight years ago. He won a downhill at Val Gardena in December 2014 by beating retired Norwegian standout Kjetil Jansrud by 0.31 seconds and the rest of the field by more than a second.

Then, nearly two months later at the world championships in Beaver Creek, Nyman finished fourth in a downhill despite a massive headwind on his turn to zoom down the mountain.

“The search for that performance is such a motivator,” Nyman said. “I just like being among a bunch of people that are trying to become the best they can be and pushing each other to the highest heights. But it’s hard.”

To keep going, that is.

Because of family. He and his partner, Charlotte, have two daughters, Nell, 5, and Ayla, 2. In years past, they would join him in Europe. Charlotte has a job at a new resort and they’re staying in Utah. They will join him when they can and he will fly home when the schedule allows.

“I would do this as long as I possibly could,” Nyman said. “But there’s a lot of stuff that weighs not just on what I desire and what I want.”

Any promises to his family of keeping things safe in an event where the speeds can reach around 80 mph (128 kph)?

“Downhill is not safe,” Nyman said with a laugh.

His injuries offer proof of that.

He tore his left Achilles in 2011, the right one in 2020. There’s been the broken legs that required rods, plates and pins (and more surgeries to remove them). He’s needed total reconstruction of his left knee, when it took four or so hours to repair his ACL, MCL and PCL, and another ACL repair on his right.

“I’m really happy with the way everything’s feeling,” Nyman said. “I’m in a good place.”

Over his career, all three of Nyman’s World Cup wins were in Italy. He’s raced at three different Winter Olympics, with his best finish a tie for 19th in the downhill at the 2006 Turin Games. He made a fourth U.S. team, but sat out the 2018 Pyeongchang Games due to a knee injury suffered a month before the Olympics.

“Obviously I have the deck against me right now, with my age and what-not,” Nyman said. “But I feel fit and I feel good.”

Tannehill returns, throws 2 touchdowns as Titans beat Broncos

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ryan Tannehill threw two touchdown passes to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as the Tennessee Titans rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat the Denver Broncos 17-10 on Sunday.

The Titans (6-3) won for the sixth time in seven games. Tannehill returned after missing the last two games with a sprained right ankle, and he appeared rusty early as the Titans fell behind 10-0 in the second quarter and were trailing 208-53 in total yards shortly before halftime.

Titans defensive tackle Naquan Jones (90) tackles Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday in Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Humphrey/AP Photo

Denver came in rested off a bye, not that it helped as the Broncos (3-6) now have lost five of six.

The Broncos had plenty of chances but couldn’t score after halftime. Russell Wilson had a final chance to tie the game, but his pass on fourth-and-8 from the Titans 25 was tipped and picked off by Terrance Mitchell, who dropped a would-be pick earlier, with 11 seconds left.

Tannehill and the Titans got going late in the second quarter.

The quarterback accounted for 70 yards on a TD drive capped with a 9-yard TD pass to Westbrook-Ikhine to pull within 10-7. In the third quarter, Titans used a flea-flicker with Derrick Henry tossing the ball back to Tannehill, who found Westbrook-Ikhine wide open down the right sideline for a go-ahead 63-yard TD.

Westbrook-Ikhine, undrafted in 2020 out of Indiana, had a career-high 119 yards receiving. Tannehill finished with 255 yards passing.

The Titans played without five defensive starters, including lineman Jeffery Simmons, a 2021 Pro Bowler, safety Amani Hooker and outside linebacker Bud Dupree. Cornerback Kristian Fulton was scratched pregame with an injured hamstring. They lost three other defenders to injuries during the game.

Tennessee still sacked Wilson six times. The veteran QB, whose first season with Denver since being acquired in a trade from Seattle has been disastrous, went 21-of-42 for 286 yards, one touchdown and the late pick.

Denver scratched safety Justin Simmons because of the knee he hurt two weeks ago in the Broncos’ win over Jacksonville in London, and P.J. Locke made his first NFL start. Linebacker Baron Browning also was scratched.

Wilson got the Broncos across midfield for the first time midway through the second quarter when he found Jalen Virgil on the left sideline for a short pass. The undrafted rookie from Appalachian State took 66 yards for the TD on his first NFL catch.

Broncos tight end Eric Saubert (82) leaps over the tackle of Titans cornerback Roger McCreary (21) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday in Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Zaleski/AP Photo

The Broncos added a 39-yard field goal by Brandon McManus.


Denver wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who missed seven games last season with a high ankle sprain, was lost on the first offensive play after apparently tangling his feet with Titans defensive back Andrew Adams. Jeudy immediately grabbed at his left ankle, limped to the sideline and was carted to the locker room.

Broncos right tackle Billy Turner hurt a knee in the second quarter and did not return. Center Graham Glasgow, starting in place of the injured Lloyd Cushenberry III, hurt a shoulder late in the third. He was replaced by rookie Luke Wattenberg, who had played one snap previously.

Titans defensive back Lonnie Johnson hurt a hamstring on punt coverage and was carted to the locker room. Cornerback Elijah Molden, activated off injured reserve Saturday, hurt a groin, while cornerback Caleb Farley left with an injured back.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (15) runs after a catch for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Zaleski/AP Photo


Denver hosts the Las Vegas Raiders next Sunday.

The Titans visit Green Bay on Thursday night.

Even his contemporaries are clowning Russell Wilson

DENVER — Those who watch football for a living or for fun have been quick to rip Russell Wilson over his many cringe-worthy games, commercials, catchphrase deliveries and podium performances this season.

Now, even his opponents are clowning the quarterback whose Denver Broncos are off to a 3-5 start just like Tom Brady’s Buccaneers and Aaron Rodgers’ Packers.

The Baltimore Ravens kicked off Week 8 with a come-from-behind 27-22 win over Brady and the struggling Buccaneers on Thursday night and on the flight home, cornerback Marlon Humphrey busted out his phone for an Instagram livestream.

When he panned to Justin Tucker, the kicker said, “I heard Lamar (Jackson’s) leading us in high knees: Ravens flock, let’s fly!”

Those potshots stemmed from Wilson telling reporters that he did high knees up and down the aisle while his teammates slept on their trans-Atlantic flight to London last week and Tucker’s twist on Wilson’s “Let’s Ride” tagline the Broncos’ new $245 milion QB had doggedly clung to even as his poor play continued and the losses, whispers — and yells — began piling up.

Someone else on the Ravens’ plane bellowed, “Un-LIM-i-ted!” ribbing Wilson over his notorious “Mr. Unlimited” video.

About the only thing missing from the miles-high hilarity was a send-up of Wilson’s cringy Subway commericals.

“But we’ve got to play him,” Tucker quickly added. “We respect him. We like him.”

The Ravens host the Broncos on Dec. 4.

This piling on Wilson began in earnest with Richard Sherman relishing in his former teammate’s horrible homecoming when the Broncos opened the season with a 17-16 loss at Seattle a few weeks after Keenan Allen joked about Wilson’s “Broncos Country, Let’s Ride” tagline that fans in Denver would quickly turn into “Broncos Country, Let’s Hide.”

Sherman continued the bashing after the Broncos’ 12-9 loss to Indianapolis on the “Thursday Night Football” postgame show a month ago after Wilson was picked off in the end zone on a play in which the situation — and Sherman — screamed for a run.

It was so reminiscent of Super Bowl 49 when Malcolm Butler’s goal-line interception of Wilson preserved New England’s 28-24 win over the Seahawks that Sherman said he wished Marshawn Lynch was there with him to discuss the situation.

Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Kurt Warner have chimed in on Wilson’s obdurate struggles. Warner’s brutal 40-minute video breaking down Denver’s multitude of problems followed Sherman’s diatribe and placed the bulk of the blame for the Broncos’ lurching offense on the QB.

“He’s just got to be better and he’s got to have a better overall understanding of what he’s seeing and where different throws have to go,” Warner said after that Indy loss. “Can he get a little bit of help with the execution? Can he get a little bit of help with some of the play design? No doubt about it. But when you watch the film you see it: there are guys open all over the place; there are big plays to be had all over the place.

“You’re not going to see many wins playing like this,” warned Warner.

Wilson followed up with a similarly bad game — and Broncos rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett followed up with an equally headscratching carbon copy of a game plan — in a 19-16 overtime loss to the Chargers 11 days later.

Wilson’s strained hamstring kept him out of a 16-9 loss to the Jets in which backup Brett Rypien looked a lot like Russell, missing open targets with both his arm and his eyes.

That hamstring, which forced him to miss just the fourth game of his 11-year career, was why Wilson said he spent most of the flight to London on his feet.

The globe-trotting Wilson said he’s immune from jet lag because he flies so much — on his private plane on his own time — that he’s learned to avoid the consequences of long flights.

“The first two hours, I was watching film, watching all of the cutups and everything else. For the next four hours, I was doing treatment on the plane,” Wilson explained. “I was walking up and down the aisles. Everybody else was knocked out. I was doing high knees, working on my legs and everything else, and making sure that I’m ready to rock.

“That was good. Then the last two hours, I fell asleep for one hour and then I watched film the rest,” Wilson said, adding that he stretches on flights “when I need to. Especially on the longer flights, the more you move, the better you feel when you get off of it. I have my secrets; I have my movements and tons of water always helps.”

Hackett, who’s been no stranger to the guff in his first crack at head coaching and who received a vote of confidence from his general manager last week, said he thinks Wilson is genuinely unbothered by the piling on.

“I mean, he’s an amazing human being from that standpoint,” Hackett said. “Everybody says what they want. They say whatever they want. That’s part of this game. It comes with the territory.

“As a head coach, as a quarterback, you’re always going to get that, especially if you don’t win, especially if the offense doesn’t look good, like it hasn’t. I think for us we just band together, we put our heads down, and try to find a way to win and help this team any way that we can.”

Broncos trade star Bradley Chubb to Miami Dolphins

ENGLEWOOD — The Denver Broncos are trading star-crossed pass rusher Bradley Chubb to Miami for a package that includes the Dolphins’ first-round draft pick next year.

The Broncos (3-5) also get running back Chase Edmonds and a 2024 fourth-rounder from the Dolphins (5-3), who are getting a 2025 fifth-rounder from Denver.

Chubb’s departure comes a year after the Broncos traded franchise sacks leader Von Miller, who helped the Rams win the Super Bowl in February before signing with the Buffalo Bills this offseason.

“Decisions like this are not easy,” GM George Paton said after a record-setting dozen players were dealt on NFL trade deadline day. “… but ultimately we always have to do what’s best for the team. And we don’t make this decision if we’re not confident in the players and the coaches on this team.”

Paton said the depth at edge rusher was strong enough for him to part with Chubb, and “the draft value was significant. We just believed it was too good to pass up at the end of the day. And it’s no secret we need picks. It’s going to help us continue to build our football team.”

The Broncos went 3-6 after Miller’s exit and Paton said he wanted fans and players alike to know this is no surrender.

“We believe in this football team,” Paton said. “We believe in our leadership. We believe in our depth.”

He also believes his lurching offense is going to come around.

Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler also were coveted by other teams, but Paton chose to keep his receiving group intact as the team tries to develop more chemistry on offense.

“We wanted to keep our young, talented receivers,” Paton said. “We started to get some rhythm in our last game versus Jacksonville and we just feel good about where we’re going. We’re trending in the right direction with Jeudy and Hamler and Courtland (Sutton) and we didn’t want to break that up.”

Paton worked out a secondary deal in acquiring fifth-year pass rusher Jacob Martin from the New York Jets in a trade that included an exchange of 2024 draft picks with the Broncos giving up a fourth-rounder and the Jets a fifth-rounder.

The first-round pick Paton obtained in the Chubb trade is the one that the Dolphins acquired from San Francisco that allowed the 49ers to move up and draft quarterback Trey Lance in 2021.

The Dolphins forfeited their own 2023 first-round selection and a third-round selection in the 2024 draft after an NFL investigation found that Miami violated the league’s anti-tampering policy regarding communication with Tom Brady.

Chubb was the fifth overall pick in the 2018 draft, a key part of Denver’s stellar defense and a locker room leader, although some Broncos fans still smart over John Elway’s bypassing of Wyoming QB Josh Allen, who went two picks later to Buffalo.

Chubb has 5½ sacks this season — although none in the past three weeks — and a pair of forced fumbles after coming off his first fully healthy offseason since his rookie year when he had a career-best 12 sacks playing alongside Miller.

With the Broncos (3-5) off to a bad start under the Nathaniel Hackett-Russell Wilson coupling, Paton found more value in what he could get for Chubb in next April’s draft than in the production he’d get from the former North Carolina State star over the next nine games.

Even if the Broncos’ record were flipped, Paton said, “we would have made the trade regardless. We just felt the value was too good. … Moving forward, we have other holes to fill on the offensive side of the ball.”

Paton had traded away his first- and second-round picks this year and next in the blockbuster deal that brought Wilson over from Seattle last spring.

By avoiding the megadeal on the horizon had he kept Chubb, Paton now has the financial flexibility to re-sign rising defensive line star Dre’Mont Jones to a big extension. “He is one of our core players,” Paton said. “We want him here a long time.”

Chubb said last week that the speculation he was a top trade target was “kind of cool,” in that “it lets you know that I’m playing good ball where other teams notice it as well.” But he added that he preferred to stay “in Denver long term. I’ve got my house. I got everything. I’m comfortable.”

Chubb is making nearly $14 million on his fifth-year option this season. But his career features almost as many missed games (25) as sacks (26).

He missed most of last season following surgeries on both ankles to remove bone spurs and didn’t have a single sack in seven games upon his return. He also missed most of 2019 with a torn ACL, but bounced back in 2020 with a Pro Bowl season.

Chubb’s departure comes at a time the Broncos are hurting in the pass rush department with Randy Gregory (knee) and Baron Browning (wrist) on IR. Paton said Gregory probably won’t be ready to return for Denver’s next game, at Tennessee on Nov. 13.