April 19, 2024

The Denver Broncos stunned the Buffalo Bills, 24-22, on the road Monday night with a walk-off field goal to move to 4-5 on the season.

The Bills are now 6-5, having lost back-to-back games. 

After Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense took its first lead of the night with a 6-yard rushing touchdown from the quarterback, Russell Wilson and the Broncos, only down by a point, had an opportunity to win it.

Wilson was able to get the necessary yardage for a 41-yard field goal attempt by Wil Lutz, and with no timeouts and the clock ticking closer to zero, Denver’s field goal unit sprinted onto the field to rush their kick before the end of the game.

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Courtland Sutton catches touchdown

Broncos WR Courtland Sutton catches a 7-yard pass for a touchdown in the second quarter. (USA TODAY Sports)

In the rush, Lutz missed the game winner wide right and it looked like the Bills were going to steal a victory. However, in a night filled with Buffalo mistakes, they made their biggest one yet as a flag was thrown for too many men on the field.

Giving the Broncos’ field goal team another chance five yards closer, Lutz kicked right down the middle on a 36-yarder to end the game.

Looking back at what transpired prior to that field goal, Buffalo shouldn’t have been in position to win the game in the first place. 

Buffalo’s offense struggled mightily during the game, mostly because of drive-killing turnovers.

The issues began in the first play of the game when Allen swung a short pass out to running back James Cook, who took the ball a few yards, but Broncos cornerback Ja’Quan McMillian wasn’t satisfied with just tackling Cook to the ground – he ripped the ball out instead.

McMillian fell on the ball and immediately gave Wilson and the Broncos’ offense some work to do. 

Two more brutal turnovers for Buffalo came in the first half, beginning with a ball that went right through the hands of wide receiver Gabe Davis on a pass that Allen whipped through a Broncos zone defense. Davis wasn’t covered, making this a ball he was expected to catch. Instead, Justin Simmons came away with the pick.

Josh Allen looks to pass

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) prepares to throw in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Highmark Stadium on Nov. 13, 2023. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

The third turnover came right after the Broncos kicked a field goal to take a 12-8 lead in the second quarter. Allen took over with less than a minute to go when he tried hitting Khalil Shakir on the boundary, but Fabian Moreau read the play the entire way, jumping the route for the interception that eventually set up another field goal before the half ended.

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The second half saw a better effort from the Bills at first despite a turnover on downs. It started with a Denver turnover as Taron Johnson knocked the ball out of Sutton’s arms and the Bills recovered it with perfect field position to get points back. 

The Bills rode the run game on the ensuing drive, with Latavius Murray punching one in from three yards out to tie the game at 15 after the extra point was good from Tyler Bass – but the turnover bug wasn’t over for the Bills.

Latavius Murray stiff arm

Latavius Murray #28 of the Buffalo Bills carries the ball against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at Highmark Stadium on Nov. 13, 2023, in New York. (Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

On their next drive, after forcing yet another Broncos punt, Allen simply botched a handoff attempt to Cook at midfield, which Denver scooped up.

Though it didn’t lead to points, Wilson and the Broncos’ offense finally got another touchdown drive, this one killing seven minutes and 16 seconds of time in the fourth quarter. After 12 plays and 54 yards, Wilson tossed a short pass to Javonte Williams who scored to take a 21-15 lead.

However, the extra point attempt led to a bobbled hold by punter Riley Dixon, who tried to run for two points instead but was tackled. 

Allen’s rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter was almost the decisive factor in this roller coaster of a game, but instead, it turned into another wacky occurrence that worked in the Broncos’ favor. 

Russell Wilson throws football

Broncos QB Russell Wilson #3 throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at Highmark Stadium on Nov. 13, 2023, in Orchard Park, New York.  (Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

The play of the game was definitely the first touchdown when vintage Wilson scrambled all over the pocket and launched a pass to the back left of the end zone where Sutton came flying over, set his feet in bounds, and leaned his way to the ball to secure the score.

That magnificent catch led to a surprising Broncos victory, one that keeps them in the playoff hunt. 

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Meanwhile, the Bills have to answer more questions about whether they are a playoff contender after they weren’t able to handle business at home as expected.

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