BUFFALO, N.Y. — On the heels of a 24-22 win over the Bills that handed Denver its third consecutive victory, the Broncos know there are still many areas in which they need to improve.
"We're still nowhere close to where we want to be, we're just moving in that right direction," inside linebacker Alex Singleton said Tuesday. "I would say it's just buying in one day at a time. Everyone doing the little things every single day just to continue to go in the direction we are."
Head Coach Sean Payton said learning how to continue a win streak "is a good problem to have," and he noted "there's plenty to clean up" after a game in which the Broncos were penalized 10 times and went four consecutive possessions without points to start the second half.
"You know, you get frustrated sometimes," Payton said Tuesday. "You get frustrated with yourself because [you think], 'Did I not cover this well enough? Are we on the same page? Do we need to cover this more?' [It's important to] approach each week understanding that the work week — when we practice Thursday, Friday and Saturday — and Saturday's practice this week will be a little longer — that's where you win the game. That's where your preparation matters, so that when the game comes, you've covered it. I think there's a little bit of a journey to that, and we do have veteran players that, like I said, the attention to detail has been good. The focus has been good, but we still have a long way to go."
The Broncos' offense is just one of the units that will look to improve, as they "haven't hit that sweet spot" they're looking for, according to Payton. Denver found itself in too many third-and-long scenarios, and the Broncos will emphasize early down production to create manageable third-down opportunities.
The corrections, of course, are easier to make after a win — and the Broncos have several elements from recent weeks they'll look to replicate as they move forward.
"Let's hope we continue to take the ball away," Payton said. "I'd like to have seen us run the ball more efficiently last night. We ran it, but I felt like there were more yards to be had when you watch the tape the next day. Physical at the line of scrimmage, and then defensively, defending the run is one of the keys that helped us flip the script. Last night, obviously in the second half, we began to see more handoffs with some success. But the line of scrimmage play and the turnover battle is something we're emphasizing."
With that focus, the Broncos should be able to find continued improvement — and more wins.
FEELING A SHIFT
On the sidelines during Monday's win, Singleton said he felt an energy that was different than the one that permeated the team when he first arrived in 2022.
"I think over the last year and a half I've been here, there was a big culture change from a team who was used to losing to a team that was going to find a way to win," Singleton said. "I think last night was a great example of us kind of with momentum swings, stuff happening, where there wasn't that feeling on the sideline anymore of 'Here we go again.' It was more of a 'We're going to go get this thing done.' … I think that is kind of the team we are right now."
After a tough start to the season, the Broncos have now won three one-possession games this year, including two in the last three weeks.
Payton on Tuesday reaffirmed his decision to run the field-goal unit onto the field for the game-winning kick, rather than to bring the unit out while the clock was stopped. Payton said the decision was twofold: It prevented the group from overthinking the kick after a couple of earlier miscues, and it lessened the amount of time Josh Allen and the Bills' offense would have for a drive of their own.
"I could have sent it out there and we could have taken our time, lined it up and got set, but I don't know that that was really what I wanted to do," Payton said. "Every once and a while, you're taking the basketball out from under your own net, you want to bring it up the court, call a timeout and set a play, or do you want to just go ahead and [try to score]. I felt like, with our miss, and then our mishandling of the snap and the way we handled it at the end of the first half, I would have — and I would've done it the same way again — I wanted them to not have to think much and just go out and execute. We had plenty of time — go out, get lined up, get set, and kick it without a lot of thought. That was the reason."