BRONCOS

After Broncos win, Sean Payton staying the course regarding playoffs

Dec 10, 2023, 6:06 PM

The Denver Broncos dominated the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon.

A 24-7 win was maybe their most complete of the season, and the victory took them back above .500 at 7-6.

The defense flew all over the field, recording six sacks and making life very tough for both Chargers QB Justin Herbert and his backup Easton Stick. Herbert broke a finger in the first half and had to leave the game, and it sounds like his season might be over.

On offense, Denver did enough, including a phenomenal drive engineered by Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter to slam the door shut. Up 17-7, Wilson bled the clock, converted on key third downs and ultimately found Adam Trautman for a touchdown to put a bow on things.

Head coach Sean Payton has led the Broncos to wins in six of their last seven games, and that 1-5 start is a distant memory. It’s an unbelievable run, and one Payton should be commended for.

Denver is tied with the Steelers, Colts, Texans, Bengals and Bills at 7-6 and currently the No. 9 seed in the AFC based on tiebreakers.

Payton was asked about the playoffs after the game, but says he’s staying the course. In a bit of a philosophical answer, it’s all about next week, despite distractions in the outside world around the holidays.

“We get in these routines where I can’t believe Christmas is around the corner. I really can’t, because it’s just the next week, it really is. Alright, we play Detroit on a Saturday, what’s the schedule like? Tomorrow, we’ll have scouting reports, we’ll look at the Lions and all this other stuff goes on outside,” Payton said.

It’s the right way to approach things, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard on Payton and the players.

“It’s difficult, sometimes when you get to Thanksgiving and Christmas, because it’s hard. But there’s not a lot of reflection, it’s like you take a peek at what the AFC did today, then let’s go, it’s on to the next challenge. I’m being honest,” Payton said.

And that challenge is a Lions team that’s been struggling recently after a hot start. Detroit has lost two of their last three games and even recent wins have been close. It’s not a contest that Broncos can’t steal.

For now, that’s Payton’s focus. And it’ll be his team’s too, after a great win that kept them firmly in the postseason conversation.

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