Broncos report card: Perfume of takeaways and late offensive heroics provide pleasant cover for stinky underlying performance

Offense — C

Russell Wilson and Courtland Sutton provided the heroics, and that saves what otherwise was shaping up to be a failing grade. Denver missed 10 of its first 11 third-down tries. It failed four straight times in the red zone before Sutton’s 15-yard scoring grab. The Broncos rushed for 46 yards on 15 attempts, nearly a third of the production coming on one 15-yard Javonte Williams run. At the end of the day, the 10 plays, 75 yards and game-winning touchdown wash away all that frustration, but if Denver’s going to actually make a playoff run, this is the unit that has to improve the most.

Defense — B

Like the offensive heroics, another night full of takeaways serves as something of a mask for the Broncos’ defense. They got three in the form of two fumble recoveries and an interception. They got a key stop in the final 63 seconds when all Minnesota needed was a field goal to win the game. But in between, they gave up 175 rushing yards (after 192 last week in Buffalo) and nine conversions (six on third down, three on fourth down), and too often struggled to tackle in the open field. In the fourth quarter, though, Denver got an interception, forced a field goal after Minnesota had first-and-10 at the Broncos’ 12-yard line and then a close-out turnover on downs. That’s how you finish.

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Special teams — B+

Wil Lutz, obviously, gets an A-grade. The Broncos kicker came up big, knocking through all five of his field goal attempts, including a 52-yarder to close the first half. He was nails. That’s a key part of the result, just like last week when he hit a walk-off 36-yarder on a mulligan after missing from 41 against Buffalo. It …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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