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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Jon Heath

10 takeaways from the Broncos’ wild 24-22 win over the Bills

The Denver Broncos upset the Buffalo Bills 24-22 in a classic Monday Night Football showdown in Week 10. Here are ten quick takeaways from Denver’s wild win.

Ja'Quan McMillian continues to shine

The Broncos seem to have found their next great slot cornerback. McMillian forced and recovered a fumble on Denver’s first defensive snap in Buffalo and he ended the game with five tackles. McMillian continues to make big plays and he looks like the real deal in his second season.

Courtland Sutton has been brilliant

What. A. Catch.

Sutton now has seven touchdown catches this season, setting a new career high with eight games remaining this season. Sutton has emerged as quarterback Russell Wilson’s favorite target, and Monday’s performance makes it easy to understand why.

The offense still needs work

Denver’s defense showed up in Buffalo and forced four turnovers. The Broncos’ offense only managed to score six points off those four turnovers. Wilson was sacked four times and he had several underthrown passes kill drives (ironically, a late-game underthrow resulted in a game-saving pass interference penalty). Most of the team’s offensive struggles can be pinned on the passing game, and a large part of the blame falls on Wilson. The offense remains Denver’s weakness, but we can’t be too hard on Wilson (more on that shortly).

Javonte Williams continues to be a workhorse

The Broncos have found a winning formula by pounding the rock with Williams leading the backfield. During the team’s three-game winning streak, Williams has totaled 15, 27 and 21 rushing attempts. In addition to his 79 rushing yards on Monday, Williams also hauled in four receptions for 31 yards and a score against the Bills.

P.J. Locke's absence was felt in the secondary

Locke left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return. Denver’s secondary greatly missed Locke on Monday as Delarrin Turner-Yell is not ready for more than a special teams role. Kareem Jackson is set to return from his suspension next week, but Locke was arguably playing better than Jackson has this season. The Broncos will hope it’s not a long-term injury for Locke, who should be starting across from Justin Simmons even after Jackson returns.

Penalties remain a problem for the Broncos

(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Denver needs to be more disciplined, especially with pre-snap penalties on offense. The Broncos were penalized 10 times for 61 yards on Monday. Thankfully, those fouls did not end up costing Denver a win.

Von Miller has not returned to pre-injury form

(Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)

Von Miller played against the Broncos for the first time on Monday, but the veteran pass rusher failed to make an impact on the game. Miller is 34 and coming off a torn ACL and it’s clear that he is yet to return to his pre-injury form. We hope that he can get back to his old self at some point this season, and we’d love to see Miller finish his career back in Denver some day down the road.

Russell Wilson made plays when it mattered most

We criticized Wilson for Denver’s offense struggles and it was deserved criticism — the veteran QB continues to hold the ball too long at times and he seems to have a handful of terrible throws every week. With that said, Wilson also deserves praise for making plays when it mattered most.

Wilson definitely has his shortcomings, but there’s no denying that he’s a gamer. The 34-year-old QB rushed for 30 yards on Monday and he extended plays with his legs throughout the game, including a great effort to get the ball to Courtland Sutton on fourth down and a phenomenal flip to running back Samaje Perine on third down. He also made a gutsy touchdown pass to Williams while getting hit, and he led a 10-play game-winning drive to seal a victory. Wilson has now led 30 fourth-quarter comeback wins in his career, representing the 10th most in NFL history.

Wilson isn’t a perfect QB, but he’s a gamer, and he knows how to win.

Wil Lutz redeemed himself

After missing an extra point earlier in the game, Lutz was about to be in hot water after his initial 41-yard miss at the end of Monday’s game. After a Bills penalty gifted Denver a second chance, Lutz made up for his previous mistakes by nailing a 36-yard game-winning field goal.

There's hope for the Broncos

Denver’s not dead yet. Sean Payton has fans in Broncos Country believing again after a three-game winning streak. Up next is a Sunday Night Football showdown with the Minnesota Vikings in Week 10. If Denver wins that game at home and improves to 5-5, the Broncos could emerge as a real threat to get into the playoff hunt this fall.

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