ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Broncos kicker Wil Lutz made good on his do-over field-goal attempt, much like Denver has done in rebounding from one of its most embarrassing defeats in franchise history.
Getting a second chance after missing wide right from 41 yards thanks to Buffalo being flagged for too many players, Lutz connected on a 36-yard field goal attempt as time expired to secure a 24-22 win over the sloppy, turnover-prone Bills on Monday night.
The Broncos (4-5) have won three straight and four of six since a 70-20 loss at Miami. And they came out of their bye week carrying over the momentum of a 24-9 victory over Kansas City, which ended a 16-game skid against their AFC West rival.
“We believe in each other. We believe in what we can do,” said quarterback Russell Wilson. “To beat the Chiefs, to beat these guys, it sets a standard of who we should be, who we can be, and who we are going to be.”
The Bills (5-5) continue to sink out of the playoff picture, having dropped four of six. Forget defending their AFC East title for a fourth consecutive season, the Bills are suddenly in jeopardy of missing the playoffs altogether for the first time since 2018.
“Yeah, I’m still confident. But it’s no secret. The clock’s ticking. Got to have some urgency now,” quarterback Josh Allen said after throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble.
The clock might also be ticking on offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey’s tenure after the Bills failed to score 26 or more points for a sixth straight game. It’s matches Buffalo’s worst stretch since Allen’s rookie season in 2018.
“I’m confident. But I believe we can be better at the same time,” coach Sean McDermott said, when asked about Dorsey.
And he had few answers on what’s required to turn around a team whose offense is sputtering and defense held up for the most part despite missing five starters to injury.
“I think I need a little bit of time here after the game to assess that,” McDermott said. “Obviously I’m not real happy right now, so I’ll evaluate that in the next 24 hours here and see where that takes us.”
McDermott called the too many men penalty to be “inexcusable,” because it’s a situation the team practices at least two or three times a week.
Lutz was relieved.
“Extremely grateful that we get another opportunity, and you don’t get that opportunity every day,” Lutz said. So, huge win. Just grateful I was able to get another kick there.”
Lutz also overcame his own struggles in a game he missed an extra point by hitting the left upright, and was unable to get another extra-point attempt off when holder Riley Dixon bobbled the snap.
Lutz made four field goals and Javonte Williams scored on a 3-yard run.
After Allen scampered for a 6-yard touchdown to give Buffalo its only lead with 1:55 left, Wilson responded by overseeing a 10-play, 57-yard drive to set up Lutz’s field goal for the his 42nd career game-winning drive — the most among quarterbacks since 2012.
The key play of the drive came on third down and 10 from Buffalo’s 45 when Wilson — facing an all-out blitz — lobbed a pass deep over the middle intended for Jerry Jeudy, who was clearly interfered with by defensive back Taron Johnson.
Johnson was flagged for pass interference, giving Denver the ball at Buffalo’s 17.
After allowing 181 points in going 1-4 in their five outings, the Broncos have clamped down to allow 67 points in their past four. The Broncos have 16 takeaways over their past five outings.
Wilson finished 24 of 29 for 193 yards, including a perfectly placed 7-yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton. What initially appeared as if Wilson was simply throwing the ball out of bounds instead landed in Sutton’s hands, with the receiver able to get both feet in bounds. The play was initially ruled an incompletion before being overturned upon a replay review.
The Broncos forced four turnovers two weeks after forcing five against the Chiefs.
“It just feels so good to win, man. I’m sitting here thinking about the adversity that we hit, and how everybody kind of answered the bell there,” safety Justin Simmons said of the Broncos’ down-then-up season. “You’re always going to face adversity, it’s just a matter of how you respond.”
Allen has turned the ball over in all but two games, and thrown an interception in six straight — the longest run of his career. He finished 15 of 26 for 177 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown to rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid.
The turnover-fest began on Buffalo’s first play from scrimmage when Denver’s Ja’Quan McMillan pried the ball out of the hands of running back James Cook to force a fumble. Allen followed up by ending Buffalo’s second drive by having his hard pass over the middle glance off the hands of receiver Gabe Davis, with the ball bouncing directly to Simmons for his 30th career interception.
Allen’s second interception came in the final minute of the first half, and on the first play from scrimmage after Lutz hit a 49-yard field goal to put Denver up 12-8.
Allen fluttered a pass up the left sideline that was easily intercepted by Fabian Moreau, which led to Lutz making a 40-yard field goal to close the half.
Broncos: Host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night.
Bills: Host the New York Jets on Sunday.
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