The Denver Broncos used a furious fourth-quarter rally to beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Despite more struggles on defense, how did Denver buckle down in the second half?

Russell Wilson leads Denver Broncos to comeback victory

After trailing 28-14 heading into the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson helped orchestrate the Broncos offense on a 10-play 66-yard scoring drive that saw him find Courtland Sutton for a score, leading to his third passing touchdown of the afternoon.

Prior to that series, Wilson helped march the Broncos downfield on a 7-play 75-yard scoring drive where he found a wide-open Brandon Johnson in the back of the endzone.

Momentum is a snowball in the NFL, and while Denver struggled with it in the first half, they found a way to capture it in the second half and didn’t look back.

Wilson has looked like his old self as of late, using his legs and mobility to extend plays and create opportunities. He was calculated and precise with his ball placement, but more importantly, he took the necessary risks when needed.

What’s even more impressive is how Denver responded after the Bears scored on their first possession of the third quarter, putting Denver in a 28-7 deficit.

With Denver trailing 28-21, outside linebacker Nik Bonitto, who had a career day, blasted Justin Fields and forced a fumble that was scooped up by Jonathon Cooper, who ran it back for a score to tie the game up at 28 apiece.

Chicago’s decision to go for it on fourth down rather than kicking a field goal came back to haunt them as Denver’s defense came up with a big stop after Alex Singleton and Delarrin Turner-Yell shot through to stop Bears running back Khalil Herbert.

Wilson found rookie speedster Marvin Mims for a 49-yard catch and run that put Denver in field goal position, which allowed them to go up 31-28 after Wil Lutz nailed a 51-yard field goal.

The game came down to Denver’s defense needing a stop, and Jonathon Cooper and D.J. Jones provided pressure to make things difficult for Fields. Broncos safety Kareem Jackson called the game after jumping a route intended for Bears tight end Cole Kmet who caught two touchdown passes on the day.

Denver gets their first win of the season, but there are plenty of issues they have to correct schematically on both sides going forward.

Broncos offense guts it out late, has plenty to clean up

One area of concern surrounding the Broncos offense has been penalties and an overall lack of run sustainability. Denver faced adversity early on despite marching downfield to score on their opening possession.

Rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims muffed a kick return that put Denver on the four-yard line. Two plays later, the offense was called for holding, which backed them up even further.

Despite a strong day from Russell Wilson, the overall lack of a sustainable run game is something Denver has to correct going forward. One potential bright spot was the emergence of undrafted rookie free agent Jaleel McLaughlin, who helped power Denver’s rushing attack in the second half.

He finished with seven carries for 72 yards and helped shift momentum with a 31-yard rush in the third quarter. His production was important after Denver lost Javonte Williams in the first quarter after he sustained a hip injury. Williams did not return.

It’s unclear right now what Williams’ status is, but that’s something we’ll learn more about this week as the team returns to practice. If he misses time, Perine and McLaughlin will both see plenty of carries, but Denver could call up Tyler Badie from the practice squad as another back option.

Going forward, penalties are something that Broncos head coach Sean Payton wants to eliminate, especially presnap penalties on third down. On Sunday, the Broncos offense committed five false start penalties out of their seven total penalties against Chicago.

Broncos defense lets Justin Fields, Bears offense shine

The Broncos made an interesting change in their starting lineup defensively to start Sunday’s game. Ja’Quan McMillian started in the nickel for Essang Bassey, and Nik Bonitto started in place of Randy Gregory at outside linebacker.

Justin Fields and the struggling Bears offense got off to an efficient start, tying things up in the 2nd quarter after Fields connected with D.J. Moore on what was a questionable touchdown reception. Moore didn’t appear to have both feet in, but the score counted.

Fields continued his hot streak on the Bears’ next possession, carving up the Broncos defense 9/9 for 139 yards and two touchdowns with 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter.

His hot day continued as he led another scoring drive against Denver’s defense that put Denver in a 21-7 deficit, while Fields continued to carve up Denver’s defense, throwing 12/12 for 185 yards and three touchdown passes.

At one point in the third quarter, Fields had his fourth passing touchdown of the game and was sitting at 23/24 passing for 285 yards. Denver’s offense helped alleviate the 28-7 Bears cushion by scoring, but the first three quarters were ugly for the Broncos defense.

Momentum is a constant ebb and flow in football and things can change quickly. Despite surrendering over 471 yards of offense, Denver’s defense came up big in several spot situations that helped them comeback and win.

Bonitto and Cooper each had a massive day, including the biggest play of the afternoon that tied the game at 28. Bonitto blew past the Bears’ right tackle and knocked the ball out of Fields’ hands, where Cooper shot through and scooped it up for the score.

The Broncos second-year edge rusher turned in a career-high day, registering 2.5 sacks. Cooper finished with one sack on the afternoon.

Alex Singleton and Delarrin Turner-Yell’s big stop on fourth down was another huge turning point in the game. After having success targeting him earlier, Fields looked to D.J. Moore on their final drive, but Patrick Surtain emerged with a key pass breakup.

Jackson’s game-sealing interception capped off the Broncos’ furious comeback win, but Denver has a lot to clean up from a schematic standpoint as they get ready to face more efficient offenses coming up.