The 2023 Denver Broncos should be dubbed the 'streak-enders' as they've put the kybosh to yet another opponent's heretofore successful run. The Minnesota Vikings were the hottest team in the NFL, winning five games in a row entering Week 11, but the Broncos put an end to it.
It was a good defensive performance where the Broncos took the ball away three times and stopped the Vikings' offense in critical situations. While it wasn't a great offensive performance, the Broncos managed to do enough when it mattered to secure the win.
The Broncos' offense struggled on third down, couldn't capitalize on takeaways fully, and had little life outside its two-minute drills. The Broncos have to find more consistency to match their defensive output better.
If the defense doesn't sustain what it's been doing, the Broncos' offense hasn't shown enough to carry the load, and that can be risky and difficult to overcome as the team pushes for a playoff spot.
As we continue to sift through the Broncos' victorious aftermath of their 21-20 win over the Vikings, let's get to the grades from a fourth straight win that brought Denver to a .500 record.
Offensive MVP: Courtland Sutton | WR
It's excellent that the Broncos are using Sutton to the best of his abilities. He has always done well making contested catches and going up and high-pointing balls.
Sutton has been playing lights out in all phases during this win streak. If it weren't for a few fumbles, he would be the overall MVP of this offense.
It would be a mistake for the Broncos to look at moving on from Sutton after this season, especially if they stick with the status quo at quarterback. This QB/WR duo has excellent chemistry, and Sutton's big-play potential is worth the money.
Defensive MVP: Ja'Quan McMillian | CB
McMillian has been the Broncos' defensive MVP for the past five games. He has brought so much to the defense and has a nose for forcing or finding takeaways.
It doesn't matter if it is against the run or in coverage; McMillian consistently finds ways to make a play. And he's always around the ball.
Quarterback: Russell Wilson
This was a good performance by Wilson, though it wasn't perfect. Again, the Broncos had issues capitalizing off turnovers and moving the chains on third down, and some of that falls on the quarterback.
However, Wilson handled the blitz-heavy Vikings' defense alright and made some big throws in vital moments. He has been turned into a game-managing quarterback, but it's working.
However, if the Broncos' defense struggles to force three or more takeaways, giving the offense those extra possessions, the limitations of this Wilson model could be costly. More consistency is needed from Wilson and the Broncos' offense as a whole to make a serious push for the playoffs.
Justin Simmons | S | Grade: 76.6
It was Simmons' birthday, and he produced a good game, making two huge plays on the final drive to break up a completion. It started rocky with some bad run fills and poor tackling, but he improved after the first couple of drives.
Quinn Meinerz | OG | Grade: 75.9
Meinerz has been playing at an All-Pro level in recent weeks. He has been one of the best guards in the NFL and has turned his season around after some early-season struggles. It's great to see Meinerz being so reliable upfront, and he brings a lot of energy to the offense, which isn't typical from a guard.
Zach Allen | DL | Grade: 74.2
The changes made to the defense have benefitted Allen, who has taken his play to a different level. It started poorly against the Vikings, with Allen getting pushed around and controlled, but the defense adjusted, and Allen ended up with an excellent game. He finished with five pressures and three stops.
Samaje Perine | RB | Grade: 73.8
Whenever the Broncos are on their four-minute offense, they must find a way to get the ball to Perine. He has been so effective in those situations during the Broncos' win streak. While the Broncos struggled to run the ball, Perine was highly effective as an extra blocker and receiver out of the backfield.
Kareem Jackson | S | Grade: 31.5
Jackson was suspended four games without pay due to a hit early in this game. He lowered his helmet and led with it in forcible contact, which is illegal use of the helmet.
Outside of that, Jackson's play wasn't great, and his run fills were questionable. His age has caught up to him in coverage.
Nik Bonitto | OLB | Grade: 34.5
The young edge defender had three QB pressures but struggled in coverage on limited reps and was terrible as a run defender.
Javonte Williams | RB | Grade: 42.1
It was a rough outing for Williams, and it wasn't all his fault. However, he did miss a few lanes to run into contact and didn't do well as an extra blocker.
Adam Trautman | TE | Grade: 48.6
It was good to see the Broncos' tight end make a few catches and a couple plays as a receiver, but his blocking still has been an issue. It was better against the Vikings, but still not ideal, especially with how much hype he received for his blocking ability.
Other Noteworthy Grades
Lloyd Cushenberry III | C | Grade: 69.8
The Broncos' center continued his campaign for an extension. Cushenberry has elevated his play and has finally come along as a center. After trending towards bust status, he saved himself in Year 4.
Garett Bolles | OT | Grade: 67.6
The Broncos' left tackle had some great blocks and did well handling his man. It wasn't perfect, as he did get beat once for pressure.
He also got hit with an outstanding and perfectly executed twist that pinned Bolles and allowed the defender to get by him. This year's consistency stands out and could keep him from being a cap casualty in the offseason.
D.J. Jones | DL | Grade: 61.5
It was a good game from Jones as he picked up five pressures on 25 pass-rushing snaps. There were issues against the run, but for the most part, he did well there, too.
Jonathon Cooper | OLB | Grade: 39.8
This was a good game from Cooper as a pass rusher. He picked up seven pressures but missed a tackle that would've resulted in a sack and not a touchdown.
That was a massive hit to his grade. On top of that, he struggled in the other phases of defense, especially as a run defender, which is an area he's excelled at for most of the season.
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