The Denver Broncos won their first home game of the season in a 19-17 thriller over the Green Bay Packers. Following the game, head coach Sean Payton told reporters how he was “glad we ended up with a win.”
“This game, after a while you see enough of it,” said Payton on October 22. “The ability to kind of get onto the next play, put the adversity behind you. It’s going to come in each game. The teams that have that trait generally fare better and I was glad to see us do that.”
Denver went up 16-3 after Russell Wilson threw an 18-yard touchdown to Courtland Sutton with 6:17 left in the third quarter. Green Bay then scored 14 answered to take a one-point lead with 8:31 left to play in regulation.
Wilson then led a 41-yard drive that ended in a 52-yard field goal from kicker Wil Lutz. Payton complimented Lutz for his “makeup” while making it clear that he was “proud of him.”
“These guys are going to miss. It’s part of the deal, even the great ones. I think he’s a young, potentially really good kicker, possibly a great one down the road. I like his makeup. It’s why we brought him here,” Payton said.
Lutz hit all four of his field goals against the Packers. The veteran kicker has made 12 straight field goals since missing a 52-yarder in Week 1 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Broncos Avoided Dubious Team Honor in Week 7 Win
Throughout the 63-year history of the Broncos, no team had started with an 0-4 record at home. Their second-half meltdown nearly contributed to another heartbreaking loss on their home field.
However, Denver avoided entering the team record books against the Packers. The comeback win was a long in the making in the Mile High City.
Per ESPN Stats and Info, Denver won after holding a halftime lead for the first time since Week 14 of the 2021 season. Entering Week 7, the Broncos had 10 straight losses with a halftime lead, the longest streak in NFL history.
Despite a poor 1-3 start at Empower Field at Mile High, the Broncos have led in every home game this season.
Denver has five remaining home games in 2023, four against AFC opponents. Their upcoming matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs presents an opportunity for the Broncos to enter their Week 9 bye on a winning note.
Defense Nearly Blew the Game With Another Second-Half Collapse
Denver’s defense has shown gradual improvement over the last two games. In Week 6 against Kansas City, the Broncos held the Chiefs to 19 points, their second-lowest point total of the season.
The Broncos went into halftime with a 9-0 lead while holding the Packers to 100 offensive yards in the first half.
Green Bay found their rhythm in the second half as they scored 17 points and gained 231 total yards. The Packers’ first two drives after halftime went for 139 yards on 21 plays, making it a one-possession game.
Second-half collapses have contributed to the Broncos’ woes at home in 2023. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will continue to face scrutiny if his unit routinely fails to make proper adjustments.
Fortunately for Joseph, the Broncos are no longer alone in having the worst scoring defense.
Carolina was on their bye week in Week 7 and has given up 186 points in six games. The Broncos have given up 217 points in seven games.