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Payton says Broncos ‘didn’t make enough plays’ as team drops opener to Raiders

The Sean Payton era of the Denver Broncos started off with a disappointing loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1, as the culture of losing continues.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Sean Payton era of the Denver Broncos got off to a dud of a start Sunday afternoon with a 17-16 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at home.

No, that’s not a copy-and-paste typo from last season. The team literally lost by one point in a 17-16 contest in Week 1 yet again.

The game, however, appeared much more crisp early on than it did the past season, and Russell Wilson looked to be much more in sync with the offense. But still, the overall effort was disappointing, the post-McManus kicking is still disastrous, and the post-Chubb/Miller pass rush is pathetic.

Sean Payton called the loss “disappointing” and that he felt like the game was going to come down to one possession.

“We didn’t make enough plays,” he said after the game. “There will be some things we like on film, and there will be some other things we’ll have to correct. I thought the penalties were a tick high for us, that’s gonna hurt us, but I thought that we defended the run well. We’ll have to go from there.”

The Broncos finished with 10 penalties for 83 yards, some in more crucial situations than others, but in contrast from years past, the defense did hold Josh Jacobs to just 48 yards rushing. That alone should’ve secured a Broncos victory, but the inability to get off the field on third down and put the pressure on QB Jimmy Garoppolo proved to be the difference.

“The defense has to be better,” safety Kareem Jackson said after the game. “From what I feel and what I think I know, I think it’s third down for us.”

Fellow safety Justin Simmons echoed those sentiments.

“We’ve just got to get off the field as a defense,” Simmons said. “We had two opportunities there to give our offense the ball and go down there and score and win the game and potentially have us in a two-minute (situation). That is what you want, so we just didn’t execute”.

The Raiders converted 5 of 11 third-down situations throughout the contest.

QB Russell Wilson and the offense appeared much more efficient early on in the game but flatlined during the second half. Wilson would finish with an efficient 17-24 passing for 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns (which seems like Tecmo Super Bowl stats compared to last season), but he and the offense could do nothing in the second half, scoring just three points.

“I think the biggest thing is that we had six possessions,” Wilson said. “I thought we did well on pretty much all of them. I think the biggest thing is finding one more play here.”

Before going all in and piling on the offense, it isn’t as bad as it seems with the 16 points. As Broncos reporter Andrew Mason pointed out, the team had six possessions while the majority of teams average nine-12 per game. The offense was efficient but not on the field enough. Therein lies the issue with the defense and the returning Vance Joseph.

That team had only three QB hits and no sacks on Garoppolo, who ain’t exactly Mahomes. If the Broncos hope for a winning season, that has to change immediately.

Altitude TV’s Vic Lombardi perhaps said it best.

“What happens in sports is pretty simple,” he said. “Winning is a habit, and so is losing. For these Broncos over the last seven years, it’s not how they’re going to find a way to win, but how they’re going to find a way to lose, and that’s something Sean Payton is going to have to fight. It’s about changing that habit, and until you change that habit, wins are going to be tough to come by.”

The team hopes to bounce back next week at home vs. the Washington Commanders.