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'That was a gritty, heart-filled win': Broncos show resilience, find way to snag win vs. Vikings

DENVER — It wasn't necessarily pretty.

The Broncos' 21-20 prime-time win over the Vikings was a grind-it-out slugfest, one that required a fourth-quarter comeback and key defensive stops.

Denver was outgained by nearly 100 yards, and the Vikings held the edge on third down, in the red zone and in time of possession.

In plenty of metrics, the box score would suggest that Denver dropped its first game since Week 6.

And yet, the Broncos found a way to earn a major victory on Sunday night.

"Look, obviously a crazy game in a lot of ways," Head Coach Sean Payton said. "Man, it was good for us to come out of there with a win. This is one of those games if you just looked at the stat line, you would see Minnesota did a number of things better than us."

The Broncos, though, held the edge in the turnover margin — and that helped spur Denver to its fourth consecutive win.

For a locker room in which confidence continues to grow, the victory was also the result of unrelenting belief.

"I'm kind of at a loss for words, because this is an unbelievable win," tackle Mike McGlinchey said. "It was so gross, but we got it done when we needed to and that's all that matters. Mental toughness is being your best on command, and we were."

Early in the season, the Broncos lost a pair of games to the Raiders and Commanders by three combined points. They were unable to get off the field in the final moments against Las Vegas, and they relinquished an 18-point advantage against Washington. Against the Jets in Week 5, the Broncos also let a halftime lead slip away. In recent weeks, however, the Broncos have found a way to win the close games — no matter the circumstances.

Against the Packers, the Broncos gave up a lead before re-taking it on a fourth-quarter field goal and sealing the win with an interception. In Buffalo, the Broncos marched down the field for a game-winning field goal with no time remaining. And on "Sunday Night Football," the Broncos posted a go-ahead touchdown drive and then survived Minnesota's last-gasp attempt at a game-winning drive of its own.

"Minnesota is a great team, obviously [with] them winning five straight," cornerback Pat Surtain II said. "We knew it was going to be a great ball game, a tough ball game. We just never lost our composure. We stayed laser focused … at the end till the final whistle. That's a testament to our team and how we're built."

Despite allowing 72 first-quarter rushing yards and 175 in the game, the Broncos' defense responded. And despite starting 1-of-10 on third down, the Broncos' offense also bounced back.

Denver's Week 11 win wasn't a masterclass of perfect football; it was about finding a way to win when things aren't all going right.

"Incredible win and incredible culture-building momentum here with four straight [wins], and to do it with our backs against the wall," McGlinchey said. "We didn't play well all day, we weren't moving the chains, and we weren't efficient on offense.

"… I'm so proud of the heart of this team. That was a gritty, heart-filled win from every aspect of this team and I couldn't be more proud of who we are."

The Broncos' ability to respond to adversity has pushed them to a 5-5 record and into the thick of the AFC playoff race. And while there's still plenty of room to improve, Denver demonstrated a trait that should serve the team well in the weeks to come.

"We have a great group of guys that are never going to quit," wide receiver Jerry Jeudy said. "We're going to finish until the clock says zero."

The Broncos did just that on "Sunday Night Football" — and they ran off the field with a win to show for it.

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