Wilson throws game-winning touchdown in final minutes, beating Vikings 21-20.
BY CHRIS TOMASSON email@example.com
The Gazette, Colorado Springs
Broncos sink Vikings with late scoring pass to Sutton DENVER • It wasn’t pretty for nearly 59 minutes for the Broncos on Sunday night. But the last minute and change was pretty darn good. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton with 1:03 left for a 2120 win over Minnesota at Empower Field at Mile High. The Vikings had a chance to win the game on their final drive and they have kicker Greg Joseph, who was making 63-yard boots with ease in warmups. But the Broncos swarmed quarterback Joshua Dobbs down the stretch and Minnesota never came close to a field-goal attempt. It was the fourth straight win for the Broncos, who moved their record to 5-5. They are now in sole possession of second place in the AFC West. “We knew we were going to win this game,’’ Wilson said. It sure didn’t look that way through much of the game. After the Broncos fell behind 7-3 when Dobbs threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Josh Oliver on the first play of the second quarter, they didn’t lead until Wilson’s pass to Sutton concluded a 75yard drive. “Courtland was lights out,’’ Wilson said of Sutton, who caught four passes for 66 yards. The Broncos were kept in the game, thanks to getting three takeaways, the third straight game in which they have gotten three or more. They got a fumble recovery from nickel back J’quan Mcmillian, a fumble recovery from Josey Jewell and an interception from Mcmillian. However, the Broncos only were able to get nine points off those three turnovers, all on three field goals by Wil Lutz. Lutz was 5 of 5 on field goals, including a 52-yarder on the final play of the first half that cut the deficit to 10-9. However, Denver couldn’t get into the end zone until Wilson’s late pass to Sutton. “A crazy game in a lot of ways,’’ said Broncos coach Sean Payton. “It was good for us to come out of there with a win. It was one of these games when you looked at the stat line, Minnesota did a number of things better than us.” The Vikings (6-5), who had their fivegame winning streak snapped, outgained the Broncos 385 yards to 295 yards, including 175-46 on the ground. Dobbs completed 20 of 32 passes for 221 yards, and Alexander Mattison carried 18 times for 81 yards. The Vikings got a 31-yard run on a fake punt in the fourth quarter by Ty Chandler that kept a drive alive for a field goal. In the end, Wilson ended up having the better game of the two quarterbacks, even though the Broncos were just 2 of 12 on third-down conversions. He completed 27-of-35 passes for 259 yards and the touchdown pass to Sutton. And the Broncos didn’t have a turnover. “Our third-down numbers were poor, but we took the ball away three times, and we didn’t turn the ball over,’’ Payton said. The Broncos got seven catches for 60 yards from running back Samaje Perine and five catches for 58 yards from wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. Their leading rusher was Javonte Williams with 37 yards. But the Broncos believe they have turned their season around. They are trying to become just the fifth team in NFL history to make the playoffs after a 1-5 start. Cincinnati, which actually started 1-6, did it in 1970. And Kansas City did it in 2015, Indianapolis in 2018 and Washington in 2020.