Not only did the Denver Broncos defeat the Minnesota Vikings by one point in primetime, but two out of the other three AFC West teams -- the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders -- lost their Week 11 games, against the Green Bay Packers, and Miami Dolphins respectively.
Denver extends their winning streak to four, and is now at a 5-5 win-loss record, after starting the season at 1-5. The Broncos also ended the Vikings' five-game winning streak and improved to 3-0 against NFC North teams this season (week 4 at Bears, week 7 vs Packers, and now week 11 vs Vikings).
With that being said, let's dive into the key takeaways from the game...
1. Defensive turnovers, huge again, but run defense is still bad:
The Denver Broncos had nine turnovers in two games against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills. Once again, against the Vikings, the defense was clutch by forcing three turnovers (two fumbles and one interception).
Despite the offense not taking much advantage from the turnovers, especially from the field position after the first fumble and the interception, they still scored nine points. Wil Lutz made three kicks off of turnovers during the game.
Jerry Jeudy dropped a pass in the endzone after the Ja'Quan McMillian interception that would have been a touchdown, and once again, the offense needs more points after turnovers. Now, the bad thing...run defense was awful. How do you allow 175 (21 from Josh Dobbs) combined rushing yards to the 3rd-worst rushing team in the NFL?
They looked bad when trying to tackle the runner with tons of missed tackles, and that's something that must improve going forward, especially when you have to face the Browns next week.
2. Running game was non-existent:
Following three consecutive games of 85+ rushing yards, the Denver Broncos had a combined stat line of 46 yards on 15 carries against the Vikings. Javonte Williams alone had 15 or more carries in the past three games against the Packers, Chiefs, and Bills respectively. At least Williams had a big 15-yard run, but excluding that, the Broncos had no good or consistent running game on Sunday Night. Jaleel McLaughlin had nine combined rushing against the Bills and the Vikings.
Minnesota is obviously a top-tier defense against the run, which makes the Broncos' rushing stats understandable, but your run game must be more consistent, as it was in the past few weeks.
3. Mr. Clutch strikes again, with another game-winning drive:
Another week, another game-winning drive by the Denver Broncos offense. Sean Payton unleashed the Mr. Clutch in Russell Wilson for the second consecutive week. Yes, he might have not seen some guys wide open during the game, or the offense might not have taken much advantage from turnovers, but you have to let Russ cook.
As against the Bills, the offense was not great, but when it mattered the most, they executed well and scored. Two consecutive game-winning comeback drives by Russ and the offense. This one was a 10-play, 75-yard drive, once again with under two minutes to go. Wilson showed a lot of patience before making the throws, he did not look desperate and finished it up with a great touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton, who by the way converted a big 4th down and three earlier in the game-winning drive.
If Sean, Russ, and the offense, could create drives like this at any point of the game, and not only to come back in the fourth quarter... buckle up! Maybe the Broncos could rely more on the passing game.