Kiszla: Dancing on the brink and living on a prayer, Broncos beat Vikings and get back in playoff hunt


Dancing on the brink and living on a prayer, the Broncos refuse to flinch or fold. When one slip would end everything, they laugh at the danger and and live to dream of the playoffs for another day.

And with another incredible escape, their playoff hopes are very much alive after a 21-20 victory against Minnesota.

“A crazy game in a lot of ways,” Broncos coach Sean Payton said Sunday.

Denver never found the end zone until the final 69 seconds of the fourth quarter, but a leaping touchdown catch by Courtland Sutton to salvage a desperate 15-yard pass by quarterback Russell Wilson was enough for the Broncos to win for the fourth-straight time and even their record at 5-5.

These Broncos aren’t anyone’s idea of pretty. But they certainly are ornery.

After being released from timeout by the NFL, Broncos safety Kareem Jackson stood up from his seat in the corner where he served a two-game suspension for repeatedly battering the brains of opponents with illegal tackles and reminded the authorities he would not abide by their safety rules.

With a hit that stunk worse than a pile of dirty laundry, Jackson lowered his helmet and blasted Minnesota quarterback Joshua Dobbs on the Vikings’ opening possession of the first quarter, forcing a fumble that resulted in yet another takeaway in the rebirth of Denver’s defense.

Rather than being penalized for his uncontrolled mayhem, Jackson and the Broncos were rewarded with a short field that resulted in a 31-yard field goal by Wil Lutz that staked Denver to an early 3-0 lead when quarterback Russell Wilson and the offense stalled out in the red zone.

Maybe the Broncos should replace the horse on their helmet with a lasso, because it would be more fitting with their brand. They try to win games with the rope-a-dope. It’s a keep-it-close and pray-for-a-late miracle style not seen around here since those brief, but giddy days of Tebowmania.

Yes, Wilson throws a tighter spiral than the best stuff in Tim Tebow’s dreams, but DangeRuss wasn’t the reason “Sunday Night Football” could hype the Broncos as having the makings of an amazing comeback story after a 1-5 start to this season.

After defensive coordinator Vance Joseph bought a clue when he was forced to swallow that 70-burger in Miami, the Denver D plucked this team from off the dust bin with ball-hawking tendencies that did the Orange Crush proud.

But truth be told, the Broncos should’ve felt lucky to be hanging around, down only 10-9 to Minnesota at halftime. During the opening two quarters, the Vikings produced 200 yards of total offense, while the ground-and-pound offense of Denver was limited to only the 16 yards rushing from Javonte Williams on five carries.

Minnesota, however, was unable to put Denver away because the Broncos kept forcing turnovers. For those of you keeping score at home, they came up with three takeaways against the Vikings, upping their total over a three-game span to a mind-boggling 12.

Don’t ask how long Denver can win by living on the brink. Just pray they keep on dancing.

Want more sports news? Sign up for the Sports Omelette to get all our analysis on Denver’s teams.

Want more Broncos news? Sign up for the Broncos Insider to get all our NFL analysis.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here