BRONCOS

Broncos fall apart in stunning fashion, Sean Payton tries to explain

Sep 17, 2023, 6:10 PM | Updated: Sep 18, 2023, 2:21 pm

The Denver Broncos were rolling the Washington Commanders on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High.

They were up 21-3 early in the second quarter, and QB Russell Wilson looked like his old self.

And then, it all fell apart in stunning fashion.

The Broncos were outscored 32-12 the rest of the way in an ugly 35-33 loss that dropped them to 0-2 on the season. Fans who stayed booed the home team, and plenty of others left early. It was yet another brutal loss that left folks extremely dissatisfied with the product on the field.

A Hail Mary from Wilson to wide receiver Brandon Johnson made things really interesting as the clock expired, but Denver couldn’t get the two-point conversion to tie it. Although it did look like wide receiver Courtland Sutton was interfered with on the try.

After the game, head coach Sean Payton tried to explain what in the world happened, because even with the miracle late TD, the Broncos are still winless.

“It’s really a tale of two games. The first, call it a quarter and a half, we played things kind of like wanted to,” Payton said. “I didn’t think we played well defensively, second half. I think they were 100 percent. Every time they entered the red zone they scored a touchdown. Offensively, we were slow with our communication. That was frustrating. That’s got to start with us, with me. We never got the momentum back, so it was disappointing.”

Safety Kareem Jackson was ejected when the Broncos had that 18-point lead, as his dirty hit certainly seemed to affect the mood in the stadium and the vibe of the game.

Wilson finished with three touchdown passes, but also had two turnovers, including a fumble when Denver was up big. The Commanders scored on the ensuing drive, the same play Jackson was booted on, and the comeback began.

Things won’t get easier for the Broncos next week, as they have to travel all the way to South Florida to play the Dolphins. Miami looks like a fringe Super Bowl contender in the AFC, with an extremely scary offense.

If Washington can score 35 on these Broncos, how many can the Dolphins put up? We’re going to find out, as the reunion with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is off to a rough start.

The Hail Mary will be discussed a lot, but the collapse was the bigger story. Now, this team must regroup. Again.

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