Sports

Broncos special teams were spectacularly bad

FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016 file photo, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs after the catch against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver. The Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons have found different ways to win despite ranking near the bottom of the league in yards allowed. The Atlanta Falcons play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)

FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016 file photo, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs after the catch against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver. The Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons have found different ways to win despite ranking near the bottom of the league in yards allowed. The Atlanta Falcons play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — One game, Denver special teams co-ordinator Joe DeCamillis is getting a game ball from coach Gary Kubiak in a jubilant locker room after a blocked extra point led to the first defensive 2-point game-winner in NFL history.

The next, he's wincing as the Broncos muff two punts, allow an 86-yard touchdown return and line up wrong on a field goal, giving the Chiefs a do-over they turn into a touchdown, a four-point gaffe in a gut-wrenching three-point loss.

"It's the worst game I've ever been a part of special teams-wise," DeCamillis said Thursday in his first public comments since the Broncos' 30-27 overtime loss to Kansas City on Sunday night.

"It was tough to go through. It's uncharacteristic because the one thing that we pride ourselves on since we have been here is our coverage teams and we just didn't play well," DeCamillis said. "Everybody had a turn, including me. When you play like that you obviously don't do a good job. We have to get that picked up really quick."

DeCamillis said he didn't "sleep one bit. It was a rough night. My kids were all in and my family was all there. It was a pitiful night. We've never had a game like that here and I don't want to have another one like that again."

The Broncos (7-4) face another good special teams unit Sunday at Jacksonville (2-9), but Kubiak said special teams didn't get special attention this week.

He said there were too many other problems to fix, like a defence that couldn't protect an eight-point lead in the final seconds and an offence that couldn't protect quarterback Trevor Siemian, who sprained his left foot on a sack and hasn't practiced all week, putting his availability against the Jaguars in doubt.

Plenty of players on both sides thought Denver had escaped all its slips on special teams with a tie when Cairo Santos' 34-yard field goal as overtime expired clanked off the left upright.

Instead of ricocheting, however, the ball sliced across, whizzing just inside the opposite post .

"You talk about lucky bounces. I've never seen one like that," DeCamillis said. "I heard it clang from over on the sideline. He must have gone to Mass that morning and said his Hail Mary's and everything. In 29 years, I've never seen one go through like that. I've seen them clang on the inside of the upright and go in that way, but not sideways."

It was an oddly fitting end to a frustrating night for Denver's special teams.

The game-winner came a minute after Brandon McManus had implored Kubiak to let him try a 62-yard field goal only to kick the ground and watch it come up short, giving the Chiefs a short field to go win it themselves.

DeCamillis hinted there could be a change in the works at punt returner after Jordan Norwood's pair of muffs led to a turnover at midfield and a safety to go along with a shove in the back from an angry Aqib Talib.

"We're working guys as we speak," DeCamillis said. "That's unacceptable. We can't put the ball on the ground. We have to maintain field possession for our team and it was not a good night. We have to get that corrected quickly."

The Broncos are prepared to go with replacement long snapper Thomas Gafford again because Casey Kreiter's strained calf hasn't allowed him to return to practice all week.

DeCamillis said his first message to his players was that he was taking as much blame as they were.

"If you play like that, it's something that you missed during the week," he said. "I wanted them to know that first. Then, we went through the corrections. It wasn't a great week; I can tell you that. We have to come back strong and we have a heck of a challenge in front of us this week."

After watching Tyreek Hill become the first rookie since Gale Sayers in 1965 to reach the end zone on a rush, a reception and a return, DeCamillis said he had warned his players that Hill had "world class speed ... as in Usain Bolt and Michael Johnson."

Jacksonville's returners aren't quite that, but "we have to play faster than what we did the other night," DeCamillis said. "If you watch, there's a T-shirt that we have that says 'speed, speed, speed.' They heard that from me. We didn't play fast enough the other night. We have to get back to that this weekend."

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Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton