ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Before their second matchup of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Broncos knew they would need big plays on both sides of the ball to keep up with the top-ranked team in the AFC. The defense made plenty of game-changing plays with two interceptions and two forced fumbles, but the offense had its share of highlights and big gains as well, thanks to strong performances from running back Javonte Williams and wide receiver Courtland Sutton.
In the run game, Williams registered 27 carries for 85 yards and helped the Broncos control the clock and outgain the Chiefs 152-62 on the ground. Williams also scored his first touchdown of the season on a 4-yard screen pass from quarterback Russell Wilson.
Sutton made the most of his targets, securing a 6-yard touchdown pass from Wilson in the fourth quarter to give the Broncos a two-possession lead. Earlier, he corralled a jump ball in tight coverage to convert a third-down opportunity and also drew an 18-yard interference penalty to start the fourth quarter.
Wilson emphasized the offense's focus on making explosive plays and made sure to highlight Williams' and Sutton's performances.
"We were talking about how we have to finish this game and make a play here and there," Wilson said after the game. "Guys made great plays. It just shows the level of playmaking that we have. I think Courtland's catch that he had over the guy, right over his head, that was an amazing catch. Guys kept making plays. Javonte, his mentality in the second half and the first half, too. I thought we did what we came out to do, and that was to win this football game."
Williams recorded his third consecutive game with at least 50 rushing yards and used both his speed and punishing running style to attack the Kansas City defense. After missing most of last season with a knee injury and most of the Broncos' win over the Chicago Bears in Week 4, the third-year rusher has returned to being a focal point of the Denver offense.
The Broncos' ability to run the ball in the second half — Denver ran 24 times after halftime — was one strength Williams said was indicative of the offense's success.
"I just felt like we dominated that game," Williams said on Monday. "When you can run the ball at the end of the game, that means you're doing something good."
Williams — who finished with 98 scrimmage yards — was over the 100-yard mark for the day before two late run plays lost seven yards as Denver ran the clock out on a win.
Sutton also factored into Denver's 24-9 win as one of the passing game's top options. During the Broncos' first drive of the second half, Sutton high-pointed the ball and made a juggling catch to pick up a critical first down. Sutton drew a pass interference penalty on the play and still made the reception, one of two pass interference penalties he drew on the Chiefs during the afternoon.
In the fourth quarter, the SMU product found the end zone once again to record his sixth touchdown reception of 2023, tying his career-best mark for a single season.
Head Coach Sean Payton said Sutton is reaping the rewards of the hard work he put in this offseason and making the most of his unique skill set and frame.
"He's worked his tail off," Payton said on Monday. "He's someone that is super committed to what he's doing [in] his craft.
"His size and ball skills probably have a lot to do with [drawing pass interference penalties]. When you're matched up in some bump-and-run situations where you're trying to handle him and the ball is thrown high and away, I think a lot of it has to do with his skill set. He's got really good instincts for the ball when he's down the field. … He's someone who's very comfortable in traffic. Some guys are good with the noise and some guys aren't as good. I think that's a real strong suit of his."
Denver came away with a big win on Sunday, and the performances of Sutton and Wiliams were major factors in the victory.
ALLEN DESCRIBES BROWNING'S IMPACT ON DENVER'S PASS RUSH
Count defensive end Zach Allen as one of the many Broncos who are glad to see outside linebacker Baron Browning return to action. Browning forced a crucial second-quarter strip-sack of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes on Sunday and finished the game with three quarterback hits and a pair of sacks.
"It's pretty special to watch, and [Baron] can be a really special player for us," Allen said on Monday. "I'm just really glad we have him back. With him and [outside linebacker Jonathon Cooper], we have a really special rush group."
In just his second game of the season, Browning has returned to form and given the young Broncos pass rush a force off the edge.
Allen said Browning is one of the most talented teammates he's played with during his career and compared him to another legendary Broncos pass rusher.
"[The forced fumble] was definitely an incredible play, and Baron is as talented of a rusher as I've ever played with," Allen said. "He has that size and that power, but his flexibility and bend is something that you don't really see. Everybody jokes around saying it's Von Miller-esque obviously for what Von did here, but it's true."