clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Horse Tracks: Bills’ inability to count 12 defenders breathes life into Broncos’ season

Thanks to poor math, Broncos end up with a two-point advantage over the Bills on Monday Night Football and a third win in a row.

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images

Twelve is my new favorite number.

Thanks to the Buffalo Bills' defense not being able to count to 11, all of Broncos Country was Jess Place last night...

Hitting the lowest of lows before rebounding to the highest of highs.

But it wasn’t just the winning that was exhilarating.

Or even the winning against a team once considered among the top two or three teams in the AFC, even the league.

It was doing what we’ve all been bemoaning the Denver Broncos couldn’t do for some time now.

They couldn’t win the close ones.

Except they just did. And in the most dramatic fashion ever - at least since the glory days of Broncos’ comebacks.

Don’t come at me with your “ugly win” downers and “bad offense” complaints.

That win over the Bills IN Buffalo was nothing short of miraculous.

Despite a missed extra point wide left early in the game, a bobbled snap that led to a second missed extra point and then a missed field goal with four seconds remaining in the game and Denver down by one, for once the Broncos weren’t the team making the costly mistake when it mattered.

A DPI on the Bills on 3rd-and-10 to put the Broncos immediately in field goal range with 29 seconds left, and then a 12-men-on-the-field penalty for the missed field goal gave the Broncos’ sputtering offense new life.

And a dub.

Apparently the football gods - and Sean Payton - decided they had seen enough of the Broncos losing close ones.

Because the play that really gave the Broncos the win was Payton’s clock management in the first half “fire drill” to get a field goal just before second quarter came to a close.

On 3rd-and-6 and 30 seconds left in the half, Wilson tossed it to Jerry Jeudy, who was tackled two yards shy of the first down.

With no first down to stop the clock and no timeouts left, Wilson corralled his offense to get off the field as the field goal unit rushed in and the play clock ticked down.

Snap, hold, kick...AND IT’S GOOD!

But for all the crazy plays and multitude of penalties, the Broncos defense never let up and the Broncos offense kept its poise, even when struggling to move the ball.

At the end of the day, Russell Wilson finished with 193 yards passing, two touchdown passes, 30 yards rushing and zero interceptions.

And he also completed a touchdown pass that Next Gen stats said had a completion probability of 3.2% and called it the most improbable completion of the Next Gen Stats era.

The offensive playmakers provided highlight reel-type scores, beginning with Courtland Sutton’s toe-dragging TD and continuing to Javonte Williams’ walk-in-the-park TD.

“We know what we can do,” Wilson said, adding they have to come back and do it again at home against the Vikings next week. “We’re going to enjoy this win, though. We’re going to celebrate. We’re going to have some fun. This is a huge one. This is a good football team we just played. ...To beat the Chiefs, to beat these guys, sets the standard of who we should be and who we can be and who we’re going to be.”

And then the quarterback defended his defense.

“Our defense has been unstoppable the past several weeks. Everybody was talking stuff about them, but I go against these guys every day,” he said. “I know how hard they work and what they do. Man, these guys have been unbelievable, man.”

The defense, which had been atrocious early in the season, particularly Week 3 when it let the Dolphins score 70 points, proved it is no fluke. Despite zero sacks on the elusive Josh Allen, the Broncos D finished with two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, four batted passes and two interceptions.

And now the magic number is also 12.

Is it possible the Broncos can win out and get to 12-5?

Unlikely yes, but after the last three weeks, it does seem possible.

And that’s saying a lot more than we could a month ago.

Credit to Payton for keeping these guys focused internally to turn this around.

“I think Coach Payton has done a great job of changing this culture and really impacting us as players,” Wilson said after the game, complimenting the entire coaching staff. “We’re in this thing together. We’re battling together. We’re fighting together. We believe in us, and I know Broncos Country believes in us, too.”

Broncos/NFL News

‘That was the difference tonight’: Denver’s defensive preparation paves way for another four-takeaway performance against Buffalo
The Broncos used four turnovers to stifle the Bills’ high-powered offense, but preparation made the standout performance possible.

Cover 4: Broncos continue winning streak, earn wild 24-22 victory over Bills
These are the players and plays that led to the Broncos' Week 10 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Bills rue 'inexcusable' 12 men on field penalty in loss to Broncos - ESPN
A mistake-filled game by the Bills culminated in an "inexcusable" penalty for having too many players on the field Monday night against the Broncos.

Huge penalties and many turnovers doom Bills in bad home loss to Broncos
A mistake-filled game on Monday night came down to the final minutes.

Broncos win third straight, beat miscue-laden Bills on Monday night - ESPN
The Broncos relinquished a lead they had held for most of the game, only to win it on a Wil Lutz field goal in the closing seconds.

Denver Broncos 24, Buffalo Bills 22: Three Validating Takeaways - Sports Illustrated Mile High Huddle: Denver Broncos News, Analysis and More
The Denver Broncos just knocked off another quality opponent, this time on the road. What did we learn?

Denver Broncos: Studs and duds from win over the Buffalo Bills
The Denver Broncos have won their third game in a row. Who stood out in the latest win?

Bills QB Josh Allen on offense’s chances for turnaround after 24-22 loss to Broncos: ‘It’s no secret that the clock’s ticking’
With the Buffalo Bills losing to a game-winning field goal to the Denver Broncos, quarterback Josh Allen told reporters after the game that "it's no secret that the clock's ticking."