clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Broncos lost but the ride isn’t over

You would think all playoff hopes were dashed by the reaction of Broncos Country.

Well, the Denver Broncos winning streak ended with their loss to the Houston Texans. It was a game that saw Russell Wilson throw three interceptions. The offensive line was a sieve. The secondary let Nico Collins gain a ridiculous 191 yards on 9 catches. Alex Singleton made a huge mistake costing the team points. It was the worst the team has played in over a month.

All that seems to mean Sean Payton hates Russell Wilson, and it’s time to move on. Seriously, ask Broncos Country what they want right now, and it ain’t Russ.

I can’t tell you how many times I came across a tweet with the video of Jerry Jeudy running a perfect route, ending without the ball and then squatting down in disappointment, only to read that this was the reason Russ was washed and Payton wanted him gone.

Don’t get me wrong, Russ misses plays. Payton said as much in his discussions with the media. It is a bit of a problem, but the expectations versus the reality of football are just not matching up.

Can you point to plays where something that should have happened, or could have happened, or would have happened if... but didn’t? Obviously. It’s the NFL. Teams are really good, and they make players make mistakes. But the narrative that Payton doesn’t like Russ is just plain lazy.

When Ian St. Clair and I broke down the game on Broncos Odds and Endzones I could not help myself. I had to get into it. That missed play to Jeudy? It was 4th down. The goal is to pick up the first. The play was immediately disrupted by the Texans getting into the backfield. Russ had no chance at getting the ball out to Jeudy.

And yes, Payton calling out Russ and saying that he has to get the ball into Jeudy more is throwing a little gasoline on the fire. But that doesn’t mean he wants to move on.

On the contrary, Payton is a coach. Coaches do that. They call out mistakes. They put their players on notice. They would be doing them a disservice to not do that. And if we want to play the blame game, there are plenty of places to point the finger.

The offensive line was disastrous against the Texans. Will Anderson Jr. lived in the backfield because Garett Bolles was a turnstyle. The Texans schemed DBs and LBs into the trenches, and disrupted the offensive timing the whole game.

Where were the adjustments? Why didn’t Payton adjust his play calling? He called himself out about that very issue. And it was the right thing to do. Everyone gets to take a little ownership of this loss.

Mistakes and penalties that kept drives alive for Houston, or killed drives for Denver, can’t happen, but they did. Russ has to be better. The secondary can’t let one guy own them. Why didn’t Pat Surtain II end up on Collins after Tank Dell went out injured, Vance?

Plenty of blame to go around. I’m not here to fanboi Russ, or preach about how great he is. He threw 3 picks. The last one was a tough spot that he was forced into by what Payton called chaos on the field. He had one tipped that ended up being a pretty good play by the Derek Stingley, Jr. The second was on an incredible play on a deep ball to Sutton, again by Stingley.

Russ played poorly, but the Texans played great on defense. That happens in the NFL. And they still almost won. So calm down. The Broncos aren’t out of the playoff picture yet. Bring on the Chargers.