From 1-5 to 5-5, the Denver Broncos have come a long way since the beginning of the season.
Let’s appreciate the surge and remember the game in the most Gen Z of ways: GIFs.
For the first time in a long, LONG time, there was exuberant confidence spreading across Broncos Country, and a win was expected. Not hoped for, but downright expected. There’s a new swagger with this team, and regardless of the Vikings’ success, we got this.
Another first series turnover for the defense!
It’s deja vu all over again. For the second straight week, on the first series, Ja’Quon McMillian forced a turnover to give the Broncos the ball inside the 30-yard line. The offense only managed a field goal last time, can they turn it into seven points this week?
A field goal...okay...
A field goal it is...at least the team moved the chains once, but Russell Wilson took a sack to pin the team in third-and-15 territory, and the end result is three points. Maybe be better the next series and take what the defense gives you more seriously?
Three-and-out and a lost lead
After the defense forced a punt, the offense immediately went three-and-out. Eventually the defense is going to be unable to bail you out offensively, and that time is now. The Vikings clawed 75 yards for the game’s first touchdown to make it a 7-3 game.
Another three-and-out? Seriously?
No disrespect to the Vikings’ defense, who is very good and well coached, but for the love of pete, MOVE THE STICKS! Get creative, do something different! This series gave the ball back to the Vikings, who converted a field goal to make it 10-3 before a Broncos field goal the next series made it 10-6.
Can we go into halftime with the lead??
A Vikings punt into the end zone gives the ball to the Broncos at their own 25-yard line with just enough time for an opportunity to go ahead entering halftime (after which they get the ball to start the second half). The offense has been flat, can they wake up?
The answer? Nope
The offense still can’t find a way to cut through the Vikings’ defense, but the unit did enough to get another three points. Will Lutz at least came to play. The Broncos will get the ball back after half down 10-9.
Well, this isn’t good
Instead of starting the half strong, the offense was forced to punt after a 28-yard reception was taking away by a holding penalty. The Vikings’ offense, on the other hand, did come out strong, driving 70 yards for the team’s second touchdown. It’s now 17-9 Vikings.
Another gift by the defense. Can we capitalize? Of course not
After yet another three-and-out by the offense, the Broncos’ defense forced another turnover to give the offense terrific field position. And once again, the Broncos can only get three points out of it. This team is allergic to the end zone.
Defense with ANOTHER turnover!! Can we cap— never mind...
Following the field goal, Ja’Quan McMillian comes up with his second turnover of the game, picking off Josh Dobbs to give the ball to the Broncos inside the 10-yard line. For most teams, this is an automatic touchdown, but no one expects that for the Broncos. And of course, they show just why, when the biggest yardage of the drive was a 15-yard penalty in the opposite direction by way of a Marvin Mims facemask call. Will Lutz is getting some nice leg work as the Broncos make it 17-15.
FINALLY a touchdown
The defense held Minnesota to a field goal, and with the game winding down, the Broncos could not come up short and settle for a field goal. They needed to get in the end zone, and when push came to shove, the unit finally produced. Say what you will about Russell Wilson, but when he has needed to make plays with backs against the wall, he has come through. Playing flat for most of the game but coming up when needed most is commendable. He teamed up with running back Samaje Perine (who has been increasingly valuable in recent weeks) and receiver Courtland Sutton to drive the 75 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, but missing the two point conversion. All that’s needed now is for the defense to hold on.
The defense stands tall! Game over!
The defense saved the best for last, stuffing the Vikings’ offense into oblivion. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a win, and the Broncos are officially .500.
Again, a win is a win, but this was a home win over a team without its starting QB and superstar WR. And the team barely eked it out. It warrants mention again that the Broncos offense simply has to be better. The defense can’t keep getting three or four turnovers again only for the offense to settle for field goals every time. The end zone wins games, and the unit needs to find a way to get there. Russell Wilson can’t keep holding onto the ball as if he he has an entire quarter to make a decision and has to go through his reads quicker. He also needs to see the field better, as he missed seeing multiple open guys throughout the game. And Sean Payton is not exempt, as the playcalling was predictable at times, starting with running the ball on first down nearly every time. The complete turnaround of the defense is one of the best stories of the year, but if this team truly has its eyes on the playoffs, the offense is going to have to significantly step up their game.