The coach for the Saints back in 2011 for that performance? Sean Payton. And he now finds himself once again a part of the highest single-game point performance by a team this century...only he’s now on the other side.
The Dolphins did literally whatever they wanted on offense, accumulating an insane 726 yards of offense while having a 300-yard passer, a 200-yard rusher, and a 150-yard receiver. It was quite the display of ineptitude, as the Dolphins set a pace the Broncos offense had no chance of matching.
Payton was quite literally at a loss for words after the game.
“That was embarrassing and tough to watch,” he told reporters. “Aside from the (Marvin Mims touchdown) kick return, there weren’t a lot of positives to take from that game. We had opportunities with our offense early, but with penalties taking touchdowns off the board, and...I think they only punted one time.”
When asked about the defensive performance (or lack thereof), Payton could do nothing much more than shrug his shoulders to explain what happened.
“It’d be one thing to say we’re going to move on to the next game, but we have to watch that tape,” he said. “Tomorrow is going to be tough for a lot of players and tough for us, too, as coaches...we knew were playing a really good offense, but we have to look closely at what we were doing, because when someone runs the ball up and down the field like those guys did, throw it up and down the field, it’s not acceptable.”
A reporter would eventually bring up the fact it was only the third time that a team had hung 70 points up on the scoreboard, and a visibly frustrated Payton appeared to have trouble biting his tongue. It was not quite a Mike Ditka “talk to the trainer” or Jim Mora “playoffs?!” moment, but it clearly struck a nerve with the Broncos coach.
“I’m aware, what’s your question, WHAT’S THE QUESTION?” he would snap before the reporter could finish. “I just finished telling you, next question.”
It was brief, but it was definitely a heated moment, something of a fire that did not infect his defense the same way. Speaking on how he would address the situation and the current state of his team, he said he’d start from the top down and move from there.
“You always start inwardly and look at where can I be better,” he began. “Then you start with the staff, then move on to the tape, and then you move on to meetings with the players. These next two days we’ll have a lot to look at. Again, it’s disappointing, and I’m at a loss for words. I’ve been on the other side of some games like that, and then every once in a while in this league you get your butt whooped, but this was more than that.”
Just how Payton, and potentially those above him, respond to this unprecedented level of loss will be something to monitor in the coming days.
The Broncos look to figure it out quickly, as they travel to face a talented young QB in Justin Fields next week in Chicago as they still search for their first win of the season.