Skip to main content

2023 NFL season, Week 10: What We Learned from Broncos' win over Bills on Monday night

Editor's note: The Buffalo Bills fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey on Tuesday morning. Assistant Joe Brady will take over as interim OC.

Denver Broncos
2023 · 4-5-0
Buffalo Bills
2023 · 5-5-0

  1. Denver finally capitalizes on a prime opportunity. The Broncos had a ton of chances to build a significant lead in this game. By the fourth quarter, their average drive started at their own 42. They dominated time of possession and recorded four takeaways. And with all of this in mind, they found themselves in a tie game midway through the fourth quarter. It felt almost as if they were destined to lose in incredibly painful fashion, a loss that would've stung well beyond Monday night. Their miscues with the kicking unit left the door open for Buffalo to hang around, and after finally delivering a clutch touchdown, Denver's defense morphed into a sieve against Buffalo's running game. And yet, Russell Wilson and the Denver offense were able to find ways to move the ball down the field, and after a Bills mental mistake gave kicker Wil Lutz a second shot at a game-winning field goal, he converted. It wasn't pretty by any means, but if one of these two teams deserved to win Monday night, it was the Broncos
  2. Mistake-filled night dooms Bills. Four turnovers. That's the stat that mattered most for Buffalo on Monday night, and it began on the first play from scrimmage, when James Cook was stripped of possession. It continued with Josh Allen's first interception, a properly placed pass that deflected off the hands of Gabe Davis. And as it tends to go in this sport, the errors started to snowball. Allen threw another interception, trusting his arm too much to get it over a defender, who easily picked him off. Later, Allen botched a handoff to Cook, failing to place it properly in his abdomen, producing another giveaway. The mistakes don't end there, either. On fourth down with the game on the line, Wilson heaved a prayer to Jerry Jeudy, who was interfered with by Taron Johnson, moving the ball from Buffalo's 45-yard line to the 17, deep in field goal range. And when Lutz missed the potential game-winner, Buffalo gifted him a second chance by having too many players on the field. If Buffalo believes it can finally get over the hump and into the Super Bowl -- a result that is looking less likely by the week -- these mistakes have to be corrected and avoided to give them a decent shot. Right now, they're holding them back significantly.
  3. Russell Wilson puts together somewhat of a vintage performance. The numbers are not going to back this up, but the tape tells the true tale of this night for Wilson. The veteran channeled the prowess of his Seattle days on Monday night, completing 24 of 29 passes amid constant pressure, extending plays with his legs -- including on a phenomenally placed pass along the boundary in the end zone for an incredible Courtland Sutton touchdown catch -- scrambling for key gains and delivering passes under duress in important moments. For the first time since perhaps his first-half showing in Week 3 against Washington, Wilson propelled this offense forward, even on a night when finishing drives proved to be difficult. And when Denver needed to move into scoring range with the game on the line, Wilson came through, finally justifying the team's blockbuster deal to acquire him. It's still not a flawless partnership between Wilson and the Broncos, and is often overly complicated, but on Monday night, it was the difference between a win and a loss.
  4. Josh Allen proves to be a determining factor for Buffalo. Allen has never been the best at protecting the football in his career, but in the past, his success largely outweighed his negative plays. That's starting to shift in the opposite direction as of late in a highly concerning development for Buffalo. Allen has already appeared frustrated in postgame press conferences more often this season than he did a year ago, and we're only just now entering Week 11. That's not great! Neither were his three giveaways Monday night. Allen nearly rescued himself and the Bills by scoring on a keeper around the left side late in the game, but the Bills were in this position primarily because their superstar quarterback isn't living up to the hype right now. He leads the NFL in interceptions (11) and turnovers (14), and it's quickly evolving from annoying to worrisome. The Bills go as Allen goes, and right now, he's not heading toward a great place.
  5. The Broncos are suddenly hot. Through six weeks, it sure looked like Denver was headed nowhere in 2023, destined for the AFC West cellar at 1-5. Three wins later, they're knocking on the door of the playoff picture. The most impressive victory came against the Chiefs in Week 8, but this one will likely resonate longer because of the fight the Broncos showed in a raucous road environment. They didn't take advantage of every chance to win Monday night, but when they regained possession inside two minutes and surprisingly came through, they sent a message to themselves: Keep battling and it just might turn out in your favor. That type of revelation can power a once-lost team through the grueling back half of a season. While it remains to be seen if Denver can build on this, we can now admit one truth: The Broncos aren't going to fade into the abyss quietly, and after logging wins over Kansas City and Buffalo, we'll have to take them seriously until they prove otherwise.

Next Gen stat of the game: The Bills lost -19.4 expected points and 45.7 in win probability across four turnovers, with three pinned on Josh Allen.

NFL Research: Russell Wilson's 82.8 completion percentage is the highest in a game by a DEN QB since HOFer Peyton Manning in Week 7, 2014 (84.6). 

Related Content