In a Sunday night showdown reminiscent of a wild western duel, the Denver Broncos secured a nail-biting 21-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The Broncos, once grounded, are now soaring on the wings of a four-game winning streak, fueled by a secret recipe that combines opportunistic defense, a risk-averse offense, and last-minute heroics from the enigmatic Russell Wilson.
The Good: Predatory Defense
Under Vance Joseph's renewed guidance, the Broncos' defense has become a turnover-generating machine, setting the tempo and rewriting the narrative of their early-season struggles. Against the elusive Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs, the defense managed to contain him to 221 passing yards, a rushing touchdown, and crucially, forced two turnovers. However, the Achilles' heel remains the inability to stifle the run game, as the Vikings amassed a hefty 175 yards on the ground, averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
Russell Wilson: Efficient But Boring
Offensively, the Broncos' play-calling and Wilson's risk-averse approach have turned the team into a model of caution. The conservative playbook, akin to a librarian's dress code, has rendered the Broncos' offense predictably safe. While Wilson's 259 yards and a touchdown resulted in a commendable 106.7 passer rating, the overall offensive strategy has been labeled as efficient but lackluster. The question looms: Can a cautious approach lead to sustained success?
It is also a question with Sean Payton as the Head Coach as he was previously a risk taker and up tempo coach with the New Orleans Saints. Although, this is a different team one would think that the dynamic would transition over. Overall, Russell Wilson has always been a little lackluster stemming from his days in Seattle. There was always great weapons around him that attributed to his shine but as we can see with the Broncos his shine is not as bright as before. Can this be changed as the season continues is something to look forward to precisely.
The Tale of Turnovers, Late-Game Gambles, and Progress
Despite the defense's commendable efforts, the offense seems uncertain about what to do with turnovers, treating them like unwanted gifts. Credit is due to the Vikings' defense, employing a complex blitz package that disrupted the Broncos' offensive rhythm. The struggles in the run game, limiting Javonte Williams to 37 yards on 11 carries, and an ineffective play-action game have resulted in more field goals than touchdowns, leaving the Broncos searching for offensive identity.
For much of the game, Denver's offense resembled a monotonous lecture, failing to inspire and delivering results akin to watching grass grow.
Reliance on Late-Game Heroics
The Broncos' strategy of relying on a suffocating defense to compensate for offensive shortcomings feels like a high-stakes gamble. While the thrill of last-minute touchdowns is undeniable, this approach resembles using a band-aid on a bullet wound—a temporary fix with inherent risks. The four consecutive wins, while impressive, come with a caveat: these aren't the victories of legends.
A more robust run game, a touch of daring in the passing game, and a defense that doesn't allow runners to slip by like ghosts in the night are essential for sustained success.
The Bumpy Road to Playoffs
While Broncos Country braces for a bumpy ride towards the playoffs, the team is undeniably progressing. Confidence may be fleeting, but for now, it firmly rests in the hands of a Broncos squad showing signs of brewing something special. As the victories accumulate, the team must address its shortcomings and strive for a more balanced and sustainable approach on both sides of the ball. The journey is fraught with challenges, but navigating them successfully is the mark of a team destined for greatness.
This is Dez Barnes of Pretty Girls Love Sports, a new writer on the MTMV Sports platform. I am a retired US Army veteran, professional cheerleader, dog mom, and avid sports lover. Feel free to follow my writings as I dive into the latest sports news! You can find me on all social media channels @PGLOVESPORTS.