Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson passes against the Houston Texans...

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson passes against the Houston Texans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Houston. Credit: AP/Eric Christian Smith

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos are aiming to go on another winning streak like the one that ended with a thud last week in Houston

At 6-6, the Broncos are still alive in the playoff picture but their margin for error is much slimmer after coming up short 22-17 to the Texans on Sunday, which snapped their AFC-best five-game winning streak.

Russell Wilson is coming off his worst game of the season, one in which he was picked off three times, underthrew receivers several times and bypassed a wide-open Jerry Jeudy for a walk-in touchdown and instead scrambled for the first down in a series that ended with a field goal.

Coach Sean Payton peppered his Monday comments with what many perceived as digs at his quarterback, including this nugget when addressing that play in which Jeudy was left wide open: “If you watch all of it, holy cow, there are about two or three of those plays."

Wilson took the opportunity at his weekly news conference Wednesday to remind everyone — maybe his coach, included — that the sky wasn't exactly falling on the Broncos (6-6).

“We've been 5-1 over the last six games,” Wilson offered. “We can't forget that, too. We've got five games to go. We went 5-1. We've got a lot of confidence in this locker room in who we are and what we're going to do and how we can go about it. And so, I believe that's who we are over the past six games, and I believe we can be even better and that's the best part about it.”

Maybe that was an inspirational message to his teammates or perhaps it was a veiled retort to his coach.

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) tries to get past...

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) tries to get past Houston Texans linebacker Christian Harris (48) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Houston. Credit: AP/Eric Gay

Either way, the Broncos' loss to the Texans narrowed their path to the playoffs, where they haven't been since winning the Super Bowl in Peyton Manning's farewell game in February 2016.

Although they're 2 1/2-point underdogs Sunday against the Chargers in Los Angeles, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, Denver should be favored in most of its remaining games.

Wilson said now is not the time to radically change anything on offense even though it's sputtered for stretches this season and again Sunday.

“I think we're closer than you guys may know, that's what I believe,” Wilson said. “I mean, there's some plays in there that we could have had, we almost had. The second play of the game Courtland (Sutton) almost makes a big play for us. I mean, that's a 50-yard big play for us.”

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is sacked by Houston...

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is sacked by Houston Texans defensive end Will Anderson Jr. (51) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Houston. Credit: AP/Eric Christian Smith

So, too, could have been Marvin Mims Jr.'s deep route if not for Wilson underthrowing him and the defender tackling him before the ball got there on a play that wasn't flagged.

“Maybe I put it out there another foot,” Wilson said. "Jerry had another one, Jerry had a deep one where I had to get it out of my hand quickly, unfortunately. But he was going to be open.

“There's three or four plays in there that the game's completely different," Wilson added. "That's why when you watch the film you understand that there's a lot of great opportunity, a lot of good stuff. And I think we've just go to stay the course and trust.”

TV cameras caught Jeudy demonstratively showing his frustration on the play where Wilson tucked the ball and scrambled.

“Unfortunately it took a while and (I told myself) OK, go get the first down," Wilson said. "But I think there's some great stuff in there. I think first of all with Jerry, he practices extremely well. I've got all the confidence in the world in him.

“We've got five games to go. That's what we're focused on as a team and he's going to help us win. He's a winner. He's a guy who's competitive. He's got unbelievable ability. I've got all the trust in the world in him and I'm excited for the next five games for not just him but for our football team and what we can do."

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