ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — On Sunday, the Denver Broncos were part of history.
In the worst possible way.
As if the team’s 0-2 start to the season couldn’t get worse, the Miami Dolphins handed the Broncos one of the most embarrassing losses in NFL history, beating them 70-20 and dropping them to 0-3 on the year.
After preaching throughout the offseason, and even after the slow start to the season, how important it is for the team to get off to a hot start, Sean Payton’s tenure in Denver is off to as rocky of a start as possible.
Vance Joseph’s defense, who Payton hired shortly after he became the team’s head coach in February, is by far the worst in the NFL, giving up over 40 points per game.
Payton’s offense has actually showed progress this year after taking over the worst group in the NFL last year. However, on Sunday, Payton’s squad was only able to muster up 13 points of offense, with the other seven coming from a Marvin Mims Jr. kickoff return.
With hope for the season quickly evaporating, Payton had a message for the fans on Monday morning.
“First off to the fans, we’re going to work our tail off and get this ship straightened away,” the head coach stated. “That’s going to happen. There’s going to be a process involved in that. Certainly, there’s a lot of work ahead of us. The key is finding these guys, putting them in the right positions to be successful, and then that confidence that comes with winning. That’s the main thing.”
The message many fans were clamoring to hear on Monday morning was that the team was moving on from Joseph, after allowing 70 points on Sunday to the Dolphins. But the Broncos are not making that move.
“No, and that would not be something that I shared on a conference call if that were ever the case,” Payton said, when asked if there will be any coaching or player changes following Sunday’s loss. “So no, to answer your question.”
Instead, on Monday, the Broncos sat through the “unpleasant” film, as Payton said, in order to “get these things cleaned up.”
“There are a handful of things that jump out at you,” Payton said about Sunday’s game tape. “That critical moment in the game where we’re able to hold them on fourth down. Offensively, we have the penalty, and we end up kicking a field goal. Right at that critical juncture of the game, we ended up scoring three, and they still ended up scoring 14 more points. The three offensive turnovers all led to touchdowns, that’s 21 points. Typically speaking, when you see a score that high, you know the one thing that had to exist was turnovers. All three of them led to points for Miami.”
“We did a poor job of setting the edge on our defense,” Payton continued. “They got to the edge early on and often with their toss series and their outside crack series. We struggled taking away some of the things we knew he liked to throw, which was the interior portions of the field. Offensively, we had two touchdowns called back because of penalties. Those are all things that when you look at the tape jump out at you.”
These corrections started on Monday by watching the film and will continue as the team takes the field for practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, leading up to their matchup with the 0-3 Bears on Sunday in Chicago.
This isn’t the first time Payton has started 0-3. In fact, he faced this exact situation in 2007, 2015 and 2016 with the New Orleans Saints. In all three of those years, the team did turn the season around, to an extent, finishing with a 7-9 record.
For Denver to finish with seven wins this year, that would mean going .500 in the final 14 games.
On Monday, Payton had no doubt he will get the Broncos ship back on track.