The prime-time matchup between the Broncos and Bills started as a defensive slugfest as the Bills kept turning the ball over and the Broncos kept punting.
But it was the Broncos’ game to lose as they led most of the game until midway into the fourth quarter.
A second missed extra point to give the Broncos just a six-point lead in the fourth proved costly when the Bills marched down the field to score with two minutes left and went up by one.
The Broncos had a chance for a comeback - twice.
Will Lutz missed his first opportunity for a game-winning field goal, but a penalty by the Bills gave him a second chance.
And this time he didn’t miss - sending the ball straight down the middle for a two-point victory.
First quarter recap:
Denver jumped out in front of the Bills 3-0 almost immediately on Monday Night Football when a James Cook fumble gave the Broncos the ball at Buffalo’s 28.
Unfortunately the offense did very little and settled for a chip shot to get the first points on the board.
Josh Allen and his offense were feeling generous on their next possession too as a tipped ball landed in Justin Simmons’ hands for a second Bills turnover in as many possessions.
But once again the Broncos offense gained no ground - thanks in part to Sean Payton insisting on calling end-arounds in the backfield that never freakin’ work for Denver - and had to punt it back.
Thankfully the Broncos’ defense hung in there, thanks to back-to-back pressures from Baron Browning and Jonathan Cooper to keep Allen in check.
The quarter ended with the Broncos facing 3rd and 4 from their own 38 but still leading.
Second quarter recap:
A Russell Wilson 10-yard scramble for a first down kept the Broncos alive as the second quarter opened, but ultimately the punting team would have to come out again as the Bills pass rush was just too much.
A three-and-out from the Bills and a punt return to mid-field by Marvin Mims gave the Broncos offense good field position and energy, and they took advantage of it, driving down the red zone before a big 4th-and-2 from the 7 yard line.
Wilson scrambled out of trouble and hit Courtland Sutton with a remarkably accurate throw for an incredible toe-dragging touchdown catch on the left side of the end zone.
But a missed extra point keeps the score 9-0 Broncos.
The Bills found life in James Cook and Stefon Diggs on their next drive as they steamrolled the Broncos’ defense before a wide-open touchdown pass to tight end Dalton Kincaid. The Bills got a two-point conversion and closed the score quickly 9-8.
But the Broncos opened their next drive with a deep 36-yard pass to Sutton before stalling for several downs just past midfield, eventually ending the drive with a 49-yard field goal on 4th and 6.
Broncos up 12-8.
But Allen’s first pass from the line of scrimmage with a minute before half falls into the waiting hands of Fabian Moreau, his first interception as a Bronco.
Wilson and the offense took over practically where they left off on the Bills’ 32-yard line with 30 seconds left in the quarter.
On 3rd-and-6, a Wilson pass to Jerry Jeudy was just short of the first down so the clock didn’t stop but the field goal unit made it on the field to get a kick “up and good” just in time.
Broncos lead 15-8 at the half.
The Broncos got the ball to start the second half but a penalty-ridden drive brings out the punt unit. A flag on the 63-yard boomer gives the Bills the ball at their 39.
Bills come up short of the first on 3rd and 10, but QB pressure results in an incomplete and a turnover on downs.
In predictable fashion, the offense goes practically nowhere, finding itself in third-and-long again. A pass to Sutton short of the sticks ends with a hit that knocks the ball out of his hands but unfortunately not out of bounds. Bills recover the ball - and some pride - in Broncos’ territory.
After three minutes and eight quick plays, former Bronco Latavius Murray dances into the end zone for an easy touchdown.
Tie game at 15.
Thanks to a nice kick return from Mims, the Broncos started in good field position. A designed run by Wilson on 3rd-and-2 kept the drive alive but short runs and two bad sacks forced the Broncos to punt away with 2:30 left in the third.
On the third play of the Bills’ drive, Allen fumbles and Broncos’ recover. Denver takes over at Buffalo’s 46 but can’t do anything and start the 4th quarter with a punt.
Score still 15-15.
Josh Allen fumbles the ball while trying to hand it off and the Broncos recover for their 4th turnover of the game.pic.twitter.com/mUEaycf3rt— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 14, 2023
After a great punt but a quick start from the Bills, the home team’s offense crumbles under Denver’s pressure and Buffalo can’t do anything except punt.
The Broncos' offense showed life on the next drive as it took over with just over eight minutes to play.
Other than a 19-yard pass to Jeudy, the Broncos inched their way down the field, before Javonte Williams took over and rumbled his way through everybody to get the Broncos to 1st and goal from the 3-yard line. On play action, Williams would be the hero again as he scored on a wide open three-yard pass.
A bobbled snap on the extra point prevented the Broncos from a seven-point lead - something that hopefully would not prove costly in the end.
Broncos up 21-15 with just under five minutes in the game.
On 2nd-and-3, James Cook ripped off a 42-yard run, and then in deja vu fashion, the Bills’ running game just steamrolled the defense.
It took the offense a few more short runs before Allen just took it himself for a seven-yard scoot just over the pylons. A kicker who didn’t miss the extra point put the Bills up 22-21 with 1:55 left in the game.
Fighting time and pressure, the Broncos were desperate to get into field goal range. A key first-down pass to Samaje Perine got the Broncos to Buffalo’s 45.
Plays later on 3rd-and-10, a very timely pass interference call on the Bills got the Broncos a 1st-and-10, ball on the 20, setting up a short field goal with just seconds left in the game and no time-outs.
Will Lutz missed the kick just right but a flag gave him a second chance.
And he took advantage, sending the ball straight down the middle for a two-point victory.
WOOOOO HOOOOO, Broncos Win! Broncos Win!
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