The first six weeks of Sean Payton's tenure as the Broncos head coach provided little reason to think that his arrival would lead to a major change of fortunes in Denver.
Five losses in six games, including a 70-20 loss to the Dolphins, seemed to signal that it would be another long year in Denver, but the last three games have sent a different message. After outlasting the Packers in Week Seven, the Broncos beat the Chiefs for the first time since 2015 and then they showed more signs of growth in Buffalo on Monday night.
The same defense that got strafed by Miami forced four turnovers and Wil Lutz made the most of a second chance to kick a game-winning field goal to lift the team to a 24-22 win. Payton's record in Denver is now 4-5 and he said after the game that it was a reminder of how quickly a team can go from streaking in one direction to another.
“It’s the NFL. I mean, credit these guys,'' Payton said, via Mike Klis of KUSA. "There’s a little toughness to this league. I keep saying it — there’s that fine line between a groove and a rut. You have to bow up a little bit and you have to demand it of each other at practice during the week. You win during the week. I felt like we’ve been practicing during the week better — a lot better. If you do that and you demand that of each other, then Sundays become a little bit less chaotic.”
The Broncos will be at home the next two weeks and continuing this groove a little longer would put them into the fight for playoff spots in the AFC. That seemed hard to imagine a month ago, but the tide has definitely turned in Denver.