MERILATT MONDAY

Sean Payton joins the “Blame Russ for Everything” club

Dec 16, 2023, 10:11 PM


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Late in the third quarter in a blowout loss to the Lions, Sean Payton became the symbol of Broncos Country. For no reason at all, Denver’s head coach blamed his quarterback for his team’s failures.

Let’s reset the scene. Trailing 28-7, the Broncos were driving, with second-and-goal from the nine-yard line.

Wilson hit Jaleel McLaughlin on a slant route. The running back appeared to score, but the referees marked him down at the one-yard line.

Payton didn’t challenge the call.

On third-and-goal, Wilson pitched the ball to Javonte Williams. It appeared as though the power back would score easily. He was called down at the one-yard line despite appearing to break the plane.

Payton didn’t challenge the ball.

On fourth-and-goal, Michael Burton scored a touchdown. It was called back due to an offsides call on Quinn Meinerz, which was borderline, at best.

Payton took out his frustrations on his QB.

Welcome to the club, Sean. If anything is going wrong with the Broncos, blame Russ. That’s the knee-jerk reaction everyone else has in bad times; the head coach might as well join the party.

Denver got steamrolled in Detroit, losing 42-17. It was embarrassing. But it wasn’t because of Wilson.

The Broncos couldn’t block the Lions. Wilson was under siege all night.

Denver couldn’t run the ball. Williams in particular was anemic, rushing for 27 yards on 12 carries, most of which came late during garbage time.

And their defense was awful. The Broncos surrendered touchdowns in five consecutive drives.

Blame Russ!

He’s at fault. Verbally undress him on the sidelines in front of a national TV audience.

What a joke!

But it’s the same nonsense heard every week on sports talk radio. It’s the same silliness written on web sites and in the newspaper. It’s the same garbage spewed on social media constantly.

Blame Russ.

For everything. All that ails the Broncos is due to their quarterback. It’s laughable.

Anyone with an unbiased eye could see the difference in offensive talent on Saturday night. Jared Goff is surrounded by stars. Wilson is playing with understudies.

Williams should be benched. He’s totally ineffective. And not just in the running game.

The back caught a pass in the flat, tripped and lost two yards. He caught a screen, had two blockers in front of him, and got caught from behind by a defensive lineman. He had two catches for -7 yards on the night, putting him at 20 yards on 14 touches in the game.

Samaje Perine should be the Broncos starting running back moving forward. Williams is a feel good story, as he’s bounced back from a devastating knee injury. But the NFL isn’t about sentimental stories. It’s time to turn the page.

Jahmyr Gibbs is dynamic for Detroit. He had 100 rushing yards on 11 carries. He was constantly moving the chains. The Broncos have no one close to his play along abilities in the backfield.

Sam Laporta is a playmaking tight end for the Lions. He scored three times against the Broncos.

The rookie is light years better than Adam Trautman, Lucas Kroll And Chris Manhertz. It’s a laughable group that Denver trots out on a weekly basis.

Amon-Ra St. Brown is a legit No. 1 wide receiver. The Broncos might have a No. 2. Maybe.

Courtland Sutton is good. He’s not great. Jerry Jeudy is an underachiever. Lil’Jordan Humphrey is a journeyman. Marvin Mims is a one-trick pony.

Blame Russ!

Sean Payton has done a great job of getting his team back into the playoff race. At 7-7, they’re still likely to make the postseason. Wins over backup QBs in the final three games will get them in.

But he missed the boat on Saturday night. He blamed the wrong guy.

Payton didn’t throw a challenge flag. The refs blew three-straight calls. The head coach yelled at Russell Wilson.

Talk about a microcosm of the situation in Denver. It’s a misguided ire, directed at the wrong person.

Payton tried to defuse the situation after the game. Well, sort of.

“What I talk with Russell about is none of your business,” the head coach told reporters.

Problems abound. The quarterback is the least of them. But he gets all the blame.

Blame Russ!

What’s the alternative? Get back on the quarterback carousel? Have no chance on a weekly basis?

Broncos Country needs a reality check. So too does their head coach.

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