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Broncos coach Sean Payton on Denver's three-game win streak: A 'fine line between a groove and a rut'

The Denver Broncos pulled out their third consecutive win with a 24-22 victory over the Buffalo Bills on a wild sequence late, including a missed 41-yard field goal from Wil Lutz, a 12-men on the field penalty on Buffalo, and a 36-yarder nailed.

Following a 1-5 start, Sean Payton's club has clawed its way to 4-5 with wins over the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and now Bills.

"It's the NFL. I mean, credit (to) these guys," Payton said after the Monday night win, via the official transcript. "There's a little toughness to this league. I keep saying it -- there's that fine line between a groove and a rut. You have to bow up a little bit, and you have to demand it of each other at practice during the week. You win during the week. I felt like we've been practicing during the week better -- a lot better. If you do that and you demand that of each other, then Sundays become a little bit less chaotic."

It's been the defense that turned things around after getting scorched early in the season. Allowing 33.3 points per game through Weeks 1-6, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph's unit has only given up 16.0 during the three-game win streak.

It hasn't always been pretty, but the Broncos are finding ways to win games, a Russell Wilson specialty.

The veteran quarterback threw for fewer than 200 yards for the fifth consecutive game (longest streak of his career), but as with the previous week against K.C., when his team needed a play, Wilson made one. He threw an improbable TD on fourth-and-2 to Courtland Sutton early in the contest. There were avoided sacks, shovels, heady scrambles and a prayer that answered with a flag for defensive pass interference.

"Well, we know what we can do," Wilson said of the three-game streak. "We have to come back to work this week. We're going against a team, the Vikings, at home, who's been playing some really good football. We're going to enjoy this win, though. We're going to celebrate. We're going to have some fun. This is a huge one. This is a good football team we just played. Obviously, the past couple weeks we've been playing some really good teams. To beat the Chiefs, to beat these guys, sets the standard of who we should be and who we can be and who we're going to be."

The three-game winning streak pushed the Broncos to the fringe of the playoffs in the AFC, with 14 clubs in the conference sitting with a 4-5 record or better. The stretch run will be wild, and the Broncos have a schedule to keep them in the hunt if they continue to play as they did Monday night.

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