Do you believe in miracles, Broncos Country?
After it seemed like all hope was gone, the Denver Broncos defeated the Buffalo Bills on the road with a thrilling 24-22 victory on a last-second field goal by Wil Lutz. While their odds at a post-season berth are slim, tonight’s victory in a must-win game keeps the team’s playoff hopes alive.
Here are some quick instant reactions from tonight’s performance.
Broncos defense forces numerous turnovers, offense fails to capitalize.
The key difference in the Broncos competitive drive over the past handful of games has been the revival of their defense. After getting drubbed by the Miami Dolphins, they have played quite well all things considered. Vance Joseph’s boys came to play once again and brought their turnover recipe on the road to Buffalo.
They racked up three turnovers courtesy of their secondary (Ja’Quan McMillian, Justin Simmons, Fabian Moreau) in the first half alone. And guess what? That wasn’t it. On the Bills first possession of the second half, Zach Allen rushed Josh Allen out of the pocket causing an errant throw to nowhere resulting in a turnover on downs. Late in the third quarter, Alex Singleton recovered a botched hand-off from Josh Allen to James Cook.
Sadly, the Broncos were only able to secure six points off of two Wil Lutz field goals even with all those turnovers. In reality, this was a game that shouldn’t have been close had the Broncos’ offense shown a pulse during the first three quarters of the game. At the end of the day, give Joseph’s unit a lot of credit for today’s win.
Penalties plague offense throughout the game.
Let’s be real. The Broncos offense has struggled to hit their stride consistently all season long. Arguably, it’s been their least effective unit all season long. A key culprit in their issues tonight were the plethora of penalties. There were plenty of yellow flags all game long.
Whether it was false starts or holds—the Broncos knew how to stall their offensive drives. They routinely put the Broncos in bad down-to-go distances and a handful of three-and-outs. In fact, Denver converted less than a third of their third downs all night long. You won’t win many football games doing that. They even had a 10-minute time of possession advantage to only have a tie ball game at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
If the team wants to be serious about making a second half run to make the playoffs, they have to be more disciplined and cut down on the penalties on offense.
Throw those Marvin Mims reverse touches in the trash.
After a strong start to the season, Marvin Mims has faded in the Broncos passing game. That’s certainly not his fault, but it’s frustrating to see him not be targeted. The touches he does seem to get are on designed running plays that absolutely fail to hit the mark. Maybe in the back of Sean Payton’s mind he sees it as a gamble thinking they will eventually hit. Unfortunately, every time he calls the play it goes nowhere. It’s a waste of a down.
Will the offense ever be consistent?
When the defense forces four turnovers and gifts you good field position on a turnover on downs, you expect more points than the Broncos scored tonight. Sure, Russell Wilson’s completion percentage and stat line might look good, but those were padded stats on short throws and running back dump offs.
How about some consistency for once? How about taking some shots down the field? The offensive line struggled with penalties and pass protection, but eventually Wilson is going to have to start throwing the ball downfield and creating some big plays to propel the Broncos offense to greater heights. What we are seeing right now isn’t sustainable or a recipe for success if they want to make a serious playoff push.