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Key player

Broncos WR Courtland Sutton

Broncos kicker Wil Lutz was their entire offense for 59 minutes, but on their last drive, Courtland Sutton made the big plays. He drew an Ivan Pace Jr. pass interference while also making a one-handed catch on fourth and 3, then leaped for the game-winning score with just over a minute left. The Broncos were 2 of 12 on third down (0 for their first 7) and scored just one TD in five trips to the red zone on the night, but that one was the only one that mattered. It was Sutton's eighth red-zone touchdowns this season.

Key play(s)

The Vikings' penultimate fourth-quarter drive

After Joejuan Williams broke up a pass to Jerry Jeudy in the end zone in the fourth quarter, forcing the Broncos to kick another field goal to pull within 17-15, the Vikings embarked on a drive that could have put Denver away.

And it looked like the Vikings were going for the kill. Taking the ball with 10:37 left, they gained 31 yards on Ty Chandler run on a fake punt on fourth and 4 from the their own 31, and converted a fourth and 1 after gaining 19 yards on third and 20 (again by Chandler).

But they gained no yards after reaching the Denver 12, with two unsuccessful runs and an incomplete pass with Dobbs under heavy pressure. The Vikings ate up seven minutes of clock but had only a five-point lead instead of potentially a nine-point one with 3:17 left.

Key number


This works two ways. The Broncos scored 12 points in the fourth quarter; the Vikings scored 3. But 12 is also the number of takeaways the Denver defense has in its last three games, all wins. The Broncos entered Sunday with nine takeaways in their last two games, and got three more from the Vikings, whose ball security problems returned. The Vikings lost the turnover battle 3-0, and lost the game, the same formula that sent them to a 1-4 start.

Up next

vs. Chicago, Nov. 27, 7:15 p.m. (ABC, ESPN)

The Vikings' season turnaround began with a win in Chicago in Week 6 and went into overdrive with a victory the following week on "Monday Night Football." So here they are again on MNF and playing the Bears. Quarterback Justin Fields returned Sunday from a dislocated thumb sustained against the Vikings. He was 16 of 23 for 169 yards and TD and rushed for 104 yards against the Lions, but the Bears (3-8) blew a 12-point lead in the final four minutes in a 31-26 loss.

2023 schedule and results

Sept. 10: L, 20-17 vs. Tampa Bay
Sept. 14: L, 34-28 at Philadelphia
Sept. 24: L, 28-24 vs. L.A. Chargers
Oct. 1: W, 21-13 at Carolina
Oct. 8: L, 27-20 vs. Kansas City
Oct. 15: W, 19-13 at Chicago
Oct. 23: W, 22-17 vs. San Francisco
Oct. 29: W, 24-10 at Green Bay
Nov. 5: W, 31-28 at Atlanta
Nov. 12: W, 27-19 vs. New Orleans
Nov. 19: L, 21-20 at Denver
Nov. 27: vs. Chicago
Dec. 10: at Las Vegas
TBA: at Cincinnati
Dec. 24: vs. Detroit
Dec. 31: vs. Green Bay
TBA: at Detroit