Rapid Reaction: Broncos 24, Falcons 20

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Denver Broncos just went a long way toward the playoffs, pulling off their second straight road victory.

Like he did against Cleveland 10 days ago, Denver quarterback Jay Cutler threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to complete a comeback.

Playing without five defensive starters, including standouts Champ Bailey and D.J. Williams, and with a rookie fullback playing tailback, Denver has taken charge of the AFC West.

After starting 3-0, the Broncos floundered badly. They lost three in a row and stumbled to a 4-4 record at their bye week. Their defense was a sieve, the offense was committing silly turnovers and the injuries were mounting.

Denver went to Cleveland, looking like a team ready to collapse. But a fourth-quarter comeback against the Browns, where Cutler threw three touchdown passes, sparked this team. Denver beat a quality team in the Falcons on Sunday.

With six games remaining, the Broncos look like a quality team again. Sunday's win was legit. If Denver does make the playoffs, the win over the Falcons will be remembered as a key victory.