Matters got worse as Olandis Gary would be injured and lost for the season as well. However, lat round draft pick Mike Anderson and he would step in to rush for 1,500 yards completely scoring 15 TDs to claim Offensive Rookie of the Year honors,
The Broncos won nine of there last 11 games in 2000 to finish with an 11-5 record, which was capped by a 38-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the final game at Mile High Stadium.
In September of 2001, the Broncos opened Invesco Field in style by beating the New York Giants 31-20 on Monday Night. The win was damaging as WR Ed McCaffery suffered a season ending leg injury. Without McCaffery, the Broncos offense would struggle, as Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, and Mike Anderson each had disappointing seasons scoring a combined five TDs. The Broncos would go on to complete a disappointing 8-8 season, as it seemed no one could deliver the big play.
Despite continued unpredictability from QB Brian Griese, the Broncos got off to a solid start winning seven of their first 10 games a RB Clinton Portis gave the Broncos a breakaway running threat they had been lacking since Terrell Davis's career was disrupted by a series of knee injuries.
They were on the way to winning the Offensive Rookie of the year Portis would rush for 1,506 yards while scoring 17 TDs. The Broncos struggled at the wrong time losing four of their next five games as to fall out of playoff contention the Broncos would win the final game of the season to finish with a 9-7 record, by beating the Arizona Cardinals in the final game of the season but it was not good enough for a playoff berth. Following the season, the Broncos would release Griese and sign Cardinals Free Agent QB Jake Plummer.
2003 was tough for the Broncos, as they did not do so well. In 2004, they were able to use a solid running game to get off to a good start as Reuben Droughns took over for Clinton Portis who was traded to the Washington Redskins for Champ Bailey, rushing for a team high 1,240 yards as the Broncos won five of their first six games. After losing their next two games, the Broncos responded with a 3-game winning streak. The Broncos would recover winning their next two as they sat atop the AFC West with a 7-3 record. A stunning home loss to the Oakland Raiders in the snow and a loss on the road to the San Diego Chargers on the road would cost the Broncos the division and would put the playoff in jeopardy. After splitting their next 2 games the Broncos needed to win their final 2 games just to slip into the playoffs after beating the Tennessee Titans 37-16, the Broncos benefited from a Indianapolis Colts team taking the week off for rest and advanced to the postseason with a 33-14 win at Invesco Field as they posted a 10-6 record. A week later, they would face the Colts again this time with their full arsenal of weapons as they were chewed up by Peyton Manning in the Wild Card Round again losing 49-24, after trailing at halftime 35-3.
Now in 2005 we realize that soon it has to end. The Broncos cannot keep finding RBs and have their running game remain strong. The Broncos, who have been teetering the last few years, finally tip off and tumble all the way down to last place as fans turn against Coach Mike Shanahan and overrated QB Jake Plummer.