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Payton addresses ‘tale of two halves,’ looks ahead to TNF

After falling 31-21 vs NYJ, the Broncos are turning their heels on a short week to face a long-standing division rival.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Promising first quarters make the losses so much worse, especially when they happen over and over and over again. Why do the Denver Broncos keep starting out with promise, only to fumble — figuratively and literally — when it comes down to the wire?

Sean Payton wasn’t excused from that conversation, nor should he be. He addressed the “obviously disappointing” loss in Sunday’s post-game press conference,” saying some of the issues were clear to him.

“The turnovers come to mind,” he said, “We talked about the red zone efficiency. Offensively, we had two drives in the first half [that] both ended up in field goals...we felt like we had a good plan going in, and yet, we ended up kicking field goals.”

Payton added that, defensively, the game was a “tale of two halves,” but he admitted that he doesn’t know what changed, aside from just getting worse as the game went on. “We’ll look at the tape quickly and then see what the problems were. I know we have to pad the gap on the long run. That was pretty clear from the pictures.”

The question of why the Broncos collectively fell apart after starting out with a boom wasn’t left to Sunday’s pressers, either. Payton was asked about it again yesterday, when he again referred to it as “the tale of two halves.”

“Look, if I had the answer, we’d be able to address it immediately,” the coach insisted, “Yesterday, it was really the tale of two halves. Collectively, we did a lot of things well in the first half. We didn’t score like we had hoped, then the second half comes out, we struggle offensively, defensively we give up the big run, and all of a sudden, we’re in one of these close games.”

Another topic of interest was the seemingly animated moment between Payton and Wilson immediately after his late-game fumble. According to Payton, it was blown up to be a lot more than it actually was.

This would be an interesting moment to get on Mic’d Up, only I don’t actually want to see it again or know what was said.

“I don’t think I was that animated,” Payton said, “Every attention to exchange or discussions I have with Russ —I just wanted to make sure he knew the linebacker was a free-rusher, so it wasn’t as big of an exchange or big deal I think maybe as some may have thought.”

Anyone could sit and try to analyze it but, what’s done is done, and there are bigger fish to fry in this short week. I have no reason to think that this is when we’ll break our losing streak against the Kansas City Chiefs, but of course I’ll be watching.

Payton kept the spotlight of this Thursday’s game on the Broncos as a team rather than worrying about their record against Kansas City. He shared that a win has to start internally for each player.

“In a short week here, getting ourselves both physically and mentally ready to play a really good football team on the road in a tough environment,” the head coach explained as their goal, “The past 15 [matchups], I don’t know that that’s a big topic right now for us.”