ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In a week in which both remaining undefeated teams fell in upset fashion, the Broncos' defense showed it could compete with one of the best units in the league, holding Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to just 19 points.
While Head Coach Sean Payton said the result against such a difficult opponent was "encouraging," his focus is already ahead on the Broncos' most important challenge and objective in Week 7: improving Denver's play at home and securing the Broncos' first home win.
Denver will have two opportunities to win in front of their home crowd during the upcoming home stand, with games against the Packers on Oct. 22 and the Chiefs on Oct. 29.
"I was disappointed we didn't win, but I was very encouraged by the effort and energy we played with," Payton said on Monday. "We have a chance now to play two games at home. We haven't finished at home. The focus is right in front of you, and the focus is internal. It's your team more than the opponent, even. That's kind of where we're at right now as we get ready for Green Bay."
Running back Javonte Williams said one of the keys to reversing the Broncos' disappointing home game results will be all three units playing a complete game.
"I feel like it's been lopsided the whole year," Williams said. "When the offense is playing well, I feel like the defense has a down game and then vice versa. You always want to play your best, especially against the Chiefs. I feel like every year that I've been playing against them, we've always a chance to win the game, and I thought the same way this time. We've just got to get everything clicking on the same page, and both sides of the ball have got to come to play for the [next] games we've got."
While Williams addressed the cohesion needed across all three units, outside linebacker Nik Bonitto talked about the consistency he hopes to see from the Broncos' defense against the Packers.
Bonitto said Denver's performance of Kansas City was encouraging and indicative of the unit's true identity, but he knows that consistent play in all four quarters will be essential to coming away with a victory at Empower Field at Mile High.
"[We need to] just lock in there for four quarters," Bonitto said. "A lot of the time, we'll come out in the first half and be really good defensively, and then second half, we'll have a lot of busts, whether it's in the run game or the pass game. We have the players here to do it, man, we've just got to execute for four quarters."
Payton also addressed how the Broncos are approaching the buildup to the trade deadline amid a disappointing start. For the Broncos' players and coaches, the focus is entirely on the field and preparing for their matchup against Green Bay.
"The focus is on the schedule and winning the next week," Payton said. "Certainly, every year when this time comes, there's speculation. People call, and people call teams that aren't playing well or are struggling to see if they're interested in moving players. That would be the only thing. It doesn't require a four-day summit relative to what the plan is. [General Manager] George [Paton] would bring any information to [Owner/CEO] Greg [Penner] and myself, but right now, our focus is on playing Green Bay."
WILLIAMS NEARING A RETURN TO FULL HEALTH
Just over a year removed from a serious knee injury, running back Javonte Williams rushed for 52 yards on 10 carries against Kansas City.
Williams said he appreciated the chance to line up in Denver's backfield on "Thursday Night Football" and said that while he hasn't reached 100 percent health in his estimation, he's making progress.
"I honestly feel like I'm getting a whole lot better," Williams said. "I feel like I'm getting closer and closer to 100 percent. But I mean, just the game that we play, there's always going to be something new that pop[s] up just by getting tackled and things like that that go with the game, but I'm feeling pretty good."
Payton has also seen improvement from the third-year running back.
"I know there's a confidence level he has in his knee, and he feels that strength," Paytonn said. "The experts will tell you that it continues to get stronger even in Year 2. Then finally somewhere after two years, it's at that point where [it's full healed]. I don't want to say it's 100 percent, but certainly, we're pleased with his progress and the way he's running."