May 29, 2024

As December approaches, the Denver Broncos are relevant for the first time since 2016.

Denver Broncos are relevant heading into December for the first time since  2016

Denver — It seemed inconceivable when the Denver Broncos stumbled to a 1-5 start, but they will enter December with a winning record for the first time in seven seasons.
The Broncos (6-5) suffered three home losses to underdog teams in their first month under Sean Payton: the Raiders, Commanders, and Jets. These teams are a combined 10-22 versus other teams.

Of course, their greatest defeat came in the disastrous 70-20 loss to Miami in Week 3, during which they gave up 10 touchdowns, which is one more than they had given up in the previous six games combined.

In their 29-12 demolition of the Browns (7-4), they played their most comprehensive game to date, neutralizing Myles Garrett and the finest defense in the league, stopping Cleveland’s highly anticipated ground game, recovering three turnovers, and scoring three touchdowns in the red zone—a weakness they had previously struggled with.

The infamously critical Payton stated, “There were a lot of things we did that I was pleased with,” after going above.500 with the Broncos for the first time. “And I thought we defeated a strong football team.”

With a 14-0 lead early on, the Broncos made it easier for the defense to stop the run by capitalizing on stronger fronts.

Safety Justin Simmons remarked, “Our offense did such a great job to set us up, to be able to pin our ears back and put them in passing situations to let us get after it.” It was excellent team basketball. I’m extremely proud of this team and the way we’ve persevered to keep things going.

The Broncos gave up just two field goals in the first half; but, the second one, which came with 22 seconds remaining, kept Denver from grabbing a double-digit lead at the half for the first time in the 26 games that Russell Wilson has started as quarterback for the team.

And as has been the Broncos’ issue all season, they labored through the third quarter once more. After leading 17–12 going into the fourth quarter, they pulled away thanks to touchdown passes from Wilson, field goals from Wil Lutz, and a Zach Allen safety, giving Denver their biggest victory margin in almost two years.

Since their most recent defeat (19-8 at Kansas City on October 12), the Broncos have shown a great deal of resiliency. This was best demonstrated by their handling of Baron Browning’s controversial roughing-the-passer call, which took rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson out of the game and gave the Browns a first down on a third-and-12 stop.

I think the best thing about us, though, is it’s about us. It’s about us being together,” Wilson said. “Our defense has been lights out. One of the best defenses in the world. Those guys have been unbelievable. … We’ve handled the adversity. The reality is that we have a lot more ball to go. We have to stay humble and hungry. We have a lot more to do. We feel like we’re just getting started.”

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