The Denver Broncos blow a 20 point lead to fall 27-23 to the Minnesota Vikings. The game went down to the wire with Denver getting three shots at the end zone from the Vikings four-yard line, but all three passes fell incomplete as time expired.
Denver falls to 3-7 in another heartbreaking defeat - their fourth blown fourth quarter lead of the season.
The Broncos lost the opening coin toss, but the Vikings chose to defer to bring Brandon Allen out for his first road start of his career. Allen wasted no time on the opening drive finding Noah Fant all alone down the seam for a 31-yard gain on the third play from scrimmage to get Denver into field goal range early.
The drive would stall from there as the offense came up a yard short converting, which brought Brandon McManus out for a 47-yard field goal to put the Broncos up 3-0 early.
On the Vikings first offensive play nose tackle Mike Purcell went down with an injury, though he would later return. Purcell had been a critical piece in the Broncos defensive resurgence against the run game since Week 4. However, on a third and one, the Broncos defense stuffed the inside running lanes and forced the Vikings into a three and out on their first offensive possession.
After trading three and outs, the Broncos third offensive possession was deep in their own territory thanks in large part to another terrible punt from Colby Wadman on their previous series.
Royce Freeman got them out of the shadow of their own end zone with a 10-yard gain on the first play to bring Denver out to the 20. On the next play, Allen went deep to Courtland Sutton who was well covered and draped by the cornerback, but still came down with it for a 47-yard gain.
Man catch. Man Catch. #Broncos pic.twitter.com/EmJP01P4dr— ThatsGoodSports (@BrandonPerna) November 17, 2019
Sutton would draw a pass interference two plays later to set the Broncos up with a first and goal at the Vikings three yard line.
After a poor throw to a wide open Fant on first down and a great pass defense by Xavier Rhodes on second down, Allen found Troy Fumagalli for the touchdown over the middle to put the Broncos up 10-0 in the first quarter.
The Vikings finally got a first down on their next possession after two quick passes outside for five yards each. The drive would go no where from there as Dalvin Cook was stuffed by Kareem Jackson and then on third down it was Von Miller who exploded off the edge for the drive-ending sack.
Sutton became a quarterback on the next play and went deep to Tim Patrick for a 38-yard reception.
...and he can PASS!— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 17, 2019
If Courtland Sutton doesn't make the Pro Bowl, we riot #Broncos Country. pic.twitter.com/OklLfpP6BF
They ran the play again, but Sutton kept the end around and kept it for a nine yard run.
To start the second quarter, Denver was faced with a fourth and one from the Vikings seven yard line. They decided to go with another end-around to Sutton who was able to bull his way forward for a one yard gain and a first and goal.
Dalton Risner went down two plays later on a second and goal from the one. He had his ankle rolled up on, but was able to walk off the field under his own power. On third and goal Andy Janovich would power his way through to put the Broncos up three scores 17-0 early in this game.
JANO! pic.twitter.com/tDpx2sCN56— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 17, 2019
The Vikings finally got a big play on offense with Kirk Cousins finding Stefon Diggs deep, but a holding call negated the 34-yard play. That would put them into a third and 19 that would result in another punt for the home team.
Meanwhile, the Broncos offense continued to abuse the Vikings defense through the first half. Noah Fant helped them out near midfield with a 15 yard catch and run. The drive would stall from there, but the offense was able to eat up enough clock to pin the Vikings deep with just over three minutes to go in the half.
Von Miller jumped offsides on the first Vikings play, but Shelby Harris followed it up with a strip-sack on second down that Alexander Johnson recovered to set Denver up inside the Vikings 20 yard line.
Shelby Harris sack and a #Broncos takeaway! pic.twitter.com/X56q4D242F— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 17, 2019
The drive stalled at the Vikings 11-yard line, but they would go up on the Vikings 20-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Broncos special teams unit forced a fumble and recovered at the Vikings 17-yard line. Then Allen threw it into double coverage to Fant where it was intercepted. The back-to-back turnovers ensured that 20-0 lead would remain for Denver heading into halftime.
The #Vikings offense was fourth in NFL in Yards Per Play. They have 48 total yards so far at halftime. #Broncos up 20-0. #DENvsMIN— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 17, 2019
After getting a quick first down, the Vikings offense was again shut down by a Broncos defense that had been dominant all game. However, a Kirk Cousins sneak on fourth down kept their drive alive and he went deep to Stefon Diggs deep to the Denver nine yard line for their first big play of the game.
They would get on the board for the first time two plays later on a quick pass over the middle to cut the Broncos lead to 20-7.
The Broncos next drive almost stalled, but a special teams penalty kept things alive. On the Broncos next third down, Allen found Sutton for a five yard gain. Sutton was double covered and being tackled as the ball arrived. Did he catch it? Yes.
From midfield, Allen would then hit Tim Patrick for 29-yards down the field on a back shoulder throw to get Denver back into scoring range late in the third quarter.
I think the #Broncos are happy Tim Patrick is healthy. pic.twitter.com/r6QhCgEpFh— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 17, 2019
The drive would stall from there, but Denver was able to extend their lead to 23-7.
The Vikings converted another fourth and a yard deep in their own territory to keep their next drive alive, but Dre’Mont Jones had himself a sack on the next set of downs to force a third and long. Cousins found his tight end over the middle for a big gain across midfield for a first down.
Two incompletions later, the Vikings were stopped on third down, but Duke Dawson interfered with the wide receiver well short of the first down marker to give Minnesota the automatic first down.
The jury is still very out on Duke Dawson. Good moments mixed with really bad. Ruins the #Broncos third down D here. pic.twitter.com/VDmjPaLtaX— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 17, 2019
That sprung the Vikings into field goal range to end the third quarter.
Cousins continued picking on Devontae Harris who found a wide open Diggs for a third down conversion to the Broncos 20. Then a screen pass to Dalvin Cook gained another nine yards to the 11. Cooked sliced through a hole for five yards to setup a first and goal to go opportunity for Minnesota.
Cook would get the edge two plays later for the touchdown. They would fail on the two-point conversion to help keep a two-score advantage in place for Denver early in the fourth quarter at 23-13.
The Broncos foolishly went with yet another end around to Noah Fant on third and one that last quite a few yards and put the ball back in the Vikings hands with well over 11 minutes remaining in the game.
Noah Fant end arounds have gone for a combined -13 yards this year.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) November 17, 2019
Three plays later, Cousins would find Diggs deep who beat Chris Harris Jr. for a 54-yard touchdown reception to cut the Broncos lead to 23-20.
Chris Harris Jr. got beat like a drum and the #Broncos lead is all but gone. pic.twitter.com/OWM10akQyz— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 17, 2019
Anyone who has watched Broncos games the last three seasons had the same thought at that point, “Here we go again...”
But one thing is different this year and his name is Courtland FREAKING Sutton. Allen went back to the Sutton well on a 43-yard bomb to the Vikings 31-yard line for a huge gain and a big momentum swing.
#Broncos WR Courtland Sutton puts a nasty double-move on #Vikings DB Xavier Rhodes. Pick up of 43-yards.— Steve Frederick (@_SteveFrederick) November 17, 2019
Sutton now with 4 Rec for 101 Yards pic.twitter.com/U7NEuU5lel
Those good feelings lasted about two minutes as Brandon McManus would push the field goal attempt wide right to blow a critical opportunity for Denver.
Cook took a screen pass on the first play for the Vikings out to the Broncos 45-yard line. A short six-yard pass was followed by another Shelby Harris sack - this third of the game - to bring out a third and five for Minnesota. They easily converted to a wide open Diggs who was covered by Dawson.
Kyle Rudolph went uncovered deep for a 32-yard touchdown reception to put the dagger in the Broncos lead to go up 27-23.
Will the #Broncos ever stop screwing themselves out of wins?— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 17, 2019
Diontae Spencer opened up with a huge kick off return to the 40-yard line to keep hope alive for Denver. Royce Freeman did the same taking a short swing pass outside 13-yards to convert a 3rd and 13 at midfield.
A big run by Phillip Lindsay would be negated by a holding call on Andrew Beck who is in for the injured Janovich. The holding call was a phantom call, but Denver was able to get back in position for a third and one after a quick slant to Sutton.
Garett Bolles had a timely false start penalty to make it a third and six instead. Noah Fant was brutalized on the next play trying to block a pass rusher and Allen had to throw it away. On fourth and six, Noah Fant made up for it by snagging a ball from Allen over the middle for a first down.
Three plays later, the Broncos faced another fourth and six. Allen found Patrick on a slant for exactly six yards and another first down.
Tim Patrick is such a welcome addition to this #Broncos offense. pic.twitter.com/DYWls4yj7e— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 17, 2019
Lindsay ran for five yards, then two plays later Allen hit Patrick for a four yard gain at the Vikings 14-yard line. On fourth and a short yard, the Broncos from the shotgun Allen ran the option to the Vikings 5 yard line for the first down.
The clock ticked miserably down from the mid 20s all the way to 10 seconds before the Vikings called a time out while Denver took way too much time to get lined up. After two quick incompletions, the game came down to third down with 2 seconds to go. Allen threw it incomplete to Fant to end the game.
Broncos lose 27-23.
That would be the game. The Broncos found a new way to lose, blowing a 20 point lead this time. When will our misery end?