Here are the heroes and zeros from Denver’s 21-20 win to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night at Empower Field at Mile High.
Courtland Sutton: Denver’s wide receiver has created an impressive highlight reel over the past two weeks. Down by five points in the fourth quarter, quarterback Russell Wilson threw to the back of the end zone, where Sutton leaped up and caught a 15-yard touchdown pass to take a 21-20 lead. Earlier in the drive, Sutton made a one-handed grab on fourth-and-3 while drawing a pass interference.
Wil Lutz: Denver’s kicker was Mr. Reliable on Sunday night. Lutz went 5-for-5 on field goal attempts and converted a 52-yarder in the second quarter. The Broncos struggled to get in the end zone, but Lutz’s golden foot kept them in the game. He knocked down two field goals in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to two points.
Ja’Quan McMillian: Denver’s second-year cornerback continues to ball out. He has recorded a turnover in three straight games after he had two takeaways against the Vikings. He recovered a fumble on Minnesota’s first drive of the game. In the fourth, McMillian picked off Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs for his second interception of the season.
Broncos run defense: After Denver allowed 192 rushing yards to the Bills last week, it struggled to contain the run against the Vikings on Sunday night. Minnesota, who entered the prime-time matchup ranked 29th in rushing yards (85.7 per game), ran the ball 36 times for 175. Running back Alexander Mattison had 18 carries for 81 yards — the first time he surpassed 50-plus rushing yards since Week 4. From missed tackles to poor execution, the Broncos’ run defense continued to be an Achilles’ heel.
Denver’s third down offense: The Broncos were 2 for 12 on third downs, as the offense looked atrocious in those situations. What made Denver’s third-down issues so troubling was that the team needed seven yards or fewer for the majority of the attempts. The Broncos didn’t have a successful third down until Wilson rushed up the middle in the final seconds of the third.
Pat Surtain II: It’s crazy to have one of the best corners in the game on this list, but that defensive pass interference in the third quarter was costly. The penalty took away Surtain’s interception, and Minnesota took advantage. With 8:01 left in the quarter, Dobbs scrambled into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown to extend his team’s lead to 17-9.
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