Chaotic Broncos-Bills ending, explained: Denver’s game-winning field goal set up by Buffalo’s 12 men on the field penalty

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Chaotic Broncos-Bills ending, explained: Denver’s game-winning field goal set up by Buffalo’s 12 men on the field penalty

Check in on the Broncos and Bills fans in your life after that one.

The “Monday Night Football” game between Denver and Buffalo wasn’t pretty, and it had a little bit of everything. After a long contest that featured plenty of lead changes, turnovers, chaotic plays, and outcome-altering penalties, the Broncos came away with a 24-22 victory over the Bills.

And even a tight final score like that hardly does justice to the way the final two drives unfolded to produce a result. 

MORE: Broncos earn ‘MNF’ upset as late penalties cost Bills

If you missed the bizarre ending to the Broncos-Bills “Monday Night Football” game, The Sporting News has you covered below.

How Bills 12 men on the field penalty led to Broncos game-winning field goal

Before we even get to the final two drives of the game, a quick synopsis of how the Broncos and Bills ended up in this situation in the first place.

The Bills had four turnovers on the night, as star QB Josh Allen continued to be careless with the football. RB James Cook fumbled on the first play from scrimmage, then Allen extended his infamous interception streak to six straight games on Buffalo’s second drive.

Cortland Sutton hauled in the most improbable completed pass of the NFL Next Gen Stats era for a touchdown, but Will Lutz missed the extra point (which is worth noting for later). Allen also ended the first half with an interception, leading to a Broncos field goal to give Denver a 15-8 lead.

MORE: Patrick Mahomes perfectly predicts Broncos TD call, stunning football world

Buffalo eventually tied the game at 15 midway through the third quarter, but Allen had a baffling fumble on a handoff to Cook that made it feel like it was Denver’s game to lose.

After the Broncos and Bills traded punts, the chaos began.

Broncos missed XP following late go-ahead touchdown

Denver RB Javonte Williams caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to give the Broncos a lead with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, but a botched extra point attempt left the door open for Buffalo to win with a score and successful PAT.

BRONCOS MESS UP THE PAT… pic.twitter.com/SIT1zZG8vX

— Mr Matthew CFB (@MrMatthew_CFB) November 14, 2023

Denver led 21-15 with 5:06 to play.

James Cook scoops his own fumble for pivotal 42-yard gain

Cook had one fumble in the contest and he and Allen had a bad exchange leading to a second giveaway. Given that turnovers were a major storyline throughout the night, it’s only right that a potentially game-deciding fumble turned into one of the most crucial plays.

Cook took a handoff and shot up the middle for a gain of nine yards but Broncos safety Justin Simmons swiped at the ball, popping it loose to the turf. The football, somehow, bounced right back into Cook’s hands and the Bills RB took it in stride for a total gain of 42 yards to put Buffalo on the doorstep of the red zone.

— NFL (@NFL) November 14, 2023

Cook gained 20 more yards on the ground to lead into the two-minute warning. On the first play after the break, Allen scrambled six yards for a touchdown and Bills kicker Tyler Bass buried the PAT to give Buffalo a 22-21 lead with 1:55 remaining in the game.

Bills defensive pass interference sets Broncos up for game-winning field goal

Wilson had the Broncos offense moving, gaining 36 yards in five plays before a sack set up a 3rd & 10 with 35 seconds remaining.

In need of a chunk play, Wilson tried to find WR Jerry Jeudy on a go-route but underthrew his target. When Jeudy came back to the ball, he collided with Bills CB Taron Johnson which resulted in a defensive pass interference call, giving Denver a free 28 yards.

That gave the Broncos the ball on Buffalo’s 17-yard line, only needing to kneel out the clock and kick a game-winning field goal.

Bills 12 men on the field penalty leads to Broncos game-winning field goal

To set the stage, Denver was out of timeouts and Buffalo had two remaining. The Bills took timeouts on each of Wilson’s first two QB kneels to kill the clock.

On Wilson’s third kneel, he set up Lutz for a game-winning 41-yard field goal but with zero timeouts, the field goal team had to scramble onto the field with 20 seconds remaining.

Lutz teed up the game-winning try but just pushed it right, and the Bills thought they came away with a win.

However, there was a flag on the field and Buffalo was assessed a 12 men on the field penalty, giving Denver five yards and another try at the game-winning kick.

This time, from 36 yards, Lutz split the uprights to deliver an improbable victory for the Broncos.

The wild final sequence of #DENvsBUF in its entirety. pic.twitter.com/L9Y8pi3YBO

— NFL (@NFL) November 14, 2023

With the win, Denver keeps its wild card hopes alive as it advances to 4-5. With the loss, Buffalo drops to a disappointing 5-5 as a team with Super Bowl aspirations is hardly clinging on to playoff hopes with just seven weeks remaining in the season.

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