The Denver Broncos are once again a game above .500 with the playoffs still within sight.
Despite an early interception from Russell Wilson, the team controlled the scoreboard the entire game in Los Angeles vs. the Chargers and walked out with a decisive 24-7 victory.
Head coach Sean Payton, after the game, said his team’s ability to stand tall with their back against the wall proved to be a major difference.
“The one thing that stood out was our ability to play a lot of that game on their end of the field, especially with how the game started,” he said. “We talk about it a lot, but it felt like most of the game was on their end of the field, and when mistakes happen, like the interception, it becomes more significant.”
After going 0-11 last week in the loss vs the Texans on third down conversion attempts, the Broncos offense was 8-17 this week, and the defense allowed zero conversions on 12 attempts. Payton pointed that out as a major difference maker.
“As far as things to look at and point out, the third down numbers were big,” he said. “The turnovers we won, plus one I think, We knew that they were going to go for it (on fourth down) more often than not, but I don’t know if they converted any except maybe one. I was pleased. It was one of our better team wins this year.”
The offense struggled at times with inconsistencies and miscues, but as he has much of the season, wide receiver Courtland Sutton came up big when his name was called, moving the sticks when necessary and getting in the end zone. Yet, as much as it was his ability to get the football, Payton was quick to remind that the protection allowed such a thing to be available.
“It was something,” Payton said of Sutton’s performance. “He’s like that big power forward. It was a play that was called for (Jerry) Jeudy...but if you notice something on that play, Russ had something like seven or eight seconds. It was great protection. That was the second part of a second play, and Russ has a a lot of confidence in Courtland.”
The game proved to be an impressive bounce back win for the Broncos, who showed the winning mentality the team has taken on wasn’t just limited to when they were on a win streak. Russell Wilson exceeded 200 yards passing for the first time in several weeks, Javonte Williams got his first rushing touchdown since 2021, and Vance Joseph’s defense was once again a force to be reckoned with.
Following the loss to the Texans last week, many could have written the Broncos off with regards to the playoffs.
The team had a different mentality entering this week. It will be something to monitor in the coming weeks just how far it guides them.