On Monday night, the Denver Broncos had a crazy comeback win over the Buffalo Bills and they followed it up with another crazy one that saw them score the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of the game. It was another frustrating one at times to watch but at the end of the day, the Broncos won the game by the score of 21-20. This win is their 4th straight victory and a win that moves them to a .500 record after sitting at 1-5 at one point this season.
Here are the Broncos winners and losers from their come-behind 21-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Head Coach Sean Payton
I will keep this short and sweet, but Sean Payton deserves some credit here. The team was at 1-5, gave up 70 points to the Dolphins, and lost to them by 50 points, and they were staring at another mess of a season. Instead of giving up, selling pieces, and focusing on 2024, this team continued to fight and is building the sort of winning culture that the Walter-Penner ownership group hoped he would bring to Denver.
Now, the Broncos are in the midst of a four-game winning streak that includes wins over the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, Josh Allen, and the Buffalo Bills on the road in Primetime and against the hottest team in the NFL in the Minnesota Vikings who were in the midst of a five-game win streak. So, these have been impressive wins for the Broncos and Sean Payton.
Hopefully, they can keep it up against rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the top-ranked Cleveland Browns defense next week.
Quarterback Russell Wilson
It wasn’t always pretty, but at the end of the day, Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson led another fourth-quarter comeback to lead the Broncos to victory. Sure, he and the offense were awful at times during this game but they showed up when things mattered the most and led the game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes of this game.
He finished the game 27 for 35 for 259 yards and 1 touchdown pass. He pushed the ball downfield at times in this game which was nice to see but the inconsistent play continued at times. However, this is vintage Russell Wilson football. He will play iffy at best for most of the game and then lead a crazy fourth-quarter comeback to win the game.
Wide receiver Courtland Sutton
The stat line will not wow you, but Sutton had himself another incredible game for the Broncos. In what has become a bit of a trend, Sutton caught the Broncos' lone touchdown pass and had another key and incredible highlight catch in this game.
Sutton now has 8 touchdown receptions this season and has caught a touchdown pass in five straight games for the Broncos. He has been by far the Broncos' best offensive playmaker this season and a key part of their four-game win streak.
Running Back Samaje Perine
The stat line will not tell the entire story, but veteran running back Samaje Perine put the Broncos on his back during the final drive. He took multiple check-down receptions down the field for chunk gains and got the offense in position to score their game-winning touchdown pass.
He finished the game with 1 carry for 7 yards but 7 receptions for an important 60 yards. He is the Broncos fourth down back and someone they trust to make plays when they need them the most.
Cornerback Ja’Quan McMillian
Once again, this former undrafted rookie cornerback came up huge for the Broncos defense. During the Broncos win streak, he has intercepted Patrick Mahomes, caused an opening-game fumble vs. the Bills, and in this one, had a key interception against quarterback Joshua Dobbs.
Ja'Quan McMillion with a game changing INTERCEPTIONpic.twitter.com/o0sT9yBx6I— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 20, 2023
He has arguably been the Broncos best defender this season and a big reason behind the unit's overall growth since that awful 70-point disaster game. Hopefully, the ball-hawking second-year player can continue this strong play.
Safety Justin Simmons
On his birthday, Broncos All-Pro safety Justin Simmons came up huge for the Broncos once again. He had a near interception early in the game but his performance in the Vikings final offensive drive of the game is what stood out.
He caused multiple pass breakups of Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson and helped the Broncos defense close out this game. Like Perine, Simmons showed up when the game mattered the most and he did a damn good job and was a big reason behind their victory.
Without the Broncos defense playing at a high level, they would not have a four-game win streak right now. It has not been a dominant performance from this unit, but they have come up with multiple timely turnovers and played their best ball when things mattered the most.
This unit was dragged through the mud after their 70-point effort and rightfully so. However, since then, they have been one of the league's best defenses and will need to continue this sort of play if the Broncos want to make the postseason.
Kicker Wil Lutz
Last week, Broncos kicker Wil Lutz almost became enemy number one in Broncos Country after he missed a potential game-winning field goal in the final seconds in Buffalo. Thankfully, a 12th-man penalty saved his bacon and he got another attempt and made the game-winning kick.
This week? He was automatic and the Broncos offense for the vast majority of this game. He finished the night going 5 for 5 with a long of 52 yards. He was clutch for the Broncos tonight and a big reason why they won this game.
Broncos playoff hopes
The Broncos are at 5-5, at .500, in second place in the AFC West and are firmly in the mix for a spot in the postseason. Right now, they are the 10th seed in the AFC and are one game out of a postseason spot as we currently stand.
The AFC Wild Card race is insane pic.twitter.com/WsMtE4CPbS— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 20, 2023
While the odds are stacked against them in the competitive AFC, they are in the mix and that is exciting. We have not had meaningful football games in Late November/December since the Super Bowl season, so I will take it.
The Broncos next two games come against two teams currently in the 5th and 6th seeds in the AFC. So, if they want to make the playoffs, these next two games will be crucial for the Broncos.
Broncos Run Defense and tackling
For a second straight week, the Broncos run defense was rubbish. It seemed to improve a bit in the second half, but still, they had issues against a team that has not run the ball well on the ground at all this season.
The Vikings finished the game with 175 yards on the ground and this is coming off a game where they struggled to stop the run against the Bills as well. While the defense has been playing well, this is a major weakness they need to correct moving forward.
As for the tackling, that seemed to improve as the game went on but it was awful early in the game. Multiple missed tackles led to long runs and a missed tackle on a sack led to a Vikings touchdown pass.
Broncos Red Zone offense
While the Broncos offense scored a touchdown when it mattered, they settled for field goals quite a few times in this game. They were set up in great field position because of a turnover and they could capitalize on it and ended up just getting three. Kicker Wil Lutz had five field goal attempts because of this.
They need to start turning some of these field goals into touchdowns moving forward because the defense getting multiple key turnovers to set them up once again is likely not sustainable.
Broncos Run Game
The Broncos run game has been a strength recently but on this night, it was not. They could never get anything going on the ground and finished the night with just 46 rushing yards. Javonte Williams averaged 3.7 yards per carry and had a team-high 37 yards on the ground.
That’s not great. The offense in general struggled tonight and things do not get easier next week when the Broncos host the Cleveland Browns and their league’s best defense.
Wide Receiver Jerry Jeudy
Jeudy had a few big plays in this game and even had a funny pump fake that fooled a defender despite him being five yards down the field. However, dropping a would-be touchdown pass in a close game will get you on this list.
Was it tough coverage? Sure, but Jeudy who has been surpassed by Courtland Sutton as the number one receiver needs to make the most of his limited opportunities this season. I think hate on Jeudy’s drops is usually overblown, but I cannot defend him on this one.
Thankfully, the Broncos won the game so it’s not the end of the world.