Sean Payton insists he and Russell Wilson have a good relationship despite sideline tongue-lashing

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Sean Payton insists he and Russell Wilson are good despite his tongue-lashing of Denver's quarterback during the Broncos' 42-17 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Payton said he didn't need to hash things out with Wilson or address the blowup with his team.

"Not at all," the Broncos' first-year head coach said Monday, two days after the defeat at Detroit. “First off, we haven’t had a team meeting and Russ and I have a great relationship. No, not at all.”

The Broncos' path to the playoffs — where they haven't been in eight years — grew much more arduous over the weekend when they lost and the Bengals, Colts, Texans and Bills all won to get to 8-6. Also, the Chiefs and Browns both improved to 9-5.

Denver left itself without any wiggle room over the final three weeks, when the Broncos will face the Patriots (3-11) and the Chargers (5-9) at home and the Raiders (6-8) on the road.

“It's gonna take three wins,” Payton said.

Payton reiterated his reasoning for not throwing a challenge flag on two plays during the crucial goal-line sequence that led to him chewing out Wilson, and he continued defending his decision to go for a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 5 after Michael Burton's TD run was negated by a dubious offensive offside call.

Payton said he had a good look at Javonte Williams coming up short on third-and-goal from the 1. On the previous play, Jaleel McLaughlin might have crossed the plane on a 9-yard run but was ruled down just shy of the goal line.

“Does he get in or not? It's still hard to tell, right?” Payton said. "Javon's play, I know (it wasn't a TD). I had a good enough angle on that. But we're sitting at the half-yard line and I'm thinking we have a good goal-line plan in this game.

“And I'm one to throw a challenge flag and burn them up and use them. But I didn't feel strong enough that we had crossed the goal line,” Payton said. “And then my history relative to them changing that call has just been average at best.”

Payton was still coy Monday about why exactly he chewed out Wilson once the offense came off the field following the offsides call on guard Quinn Meinerz.

“The anger and the frustration in that sequence comes from the fourth-down call and the touchdown and then what was later called a penalty," Payton said. "And then all of a sudden we're sitting at fourth-and-let's-call-it-6 instead of fourth-and-a-half-a-yard.

“So, we're trying to get to within two scores.”

However, the field goal made it 28-10, still a three-score deficit.

Payton's tongue-lashing of Wilson remains puzzling because the quarterback didn't seem at fault for any of the three non-touchdowns in that goal-line sequence.

After the game, Payton grew testy when pressed about it, and while he was calmer when asked about it Monday, he provided no more clarity.

“Nothing more to share,” Payton said. “It's certainly, you know, in-game intensity, heat of the moment, all of those things. But, nothing more to add.”


Defensive lineman D.J. Jones has stepped up big since moving to the three-technique tackle spot upon Mike Parcells' return to the lineup, and he recorded his first sack of the season and 10th of his career Saturday night to go with two tackles for loss and a QB hit.


Payton's decision-making in the heat of the moment and his anger management when it comes to his quarterback.


PJ Locke has locked down the starting safety job opposite Justin Simmons by playing well during Kareem Jackson's four-game suspension. Jackson returns this week from his second suspension but said recently he still doesn't know how to modify his playing style to avoid another banishment.


Payton’s second-half play-calling finally paid off with Denver's first TD drive to start the third quarter, but not challenging the goal-line calls and settling for a field goal when trailing by three touchdowns were head-scratchers.


Payton said he still expects TE Greg Dulcich to play at some point over the next three weeks. Hamstring issues have limited Dulcich to parts of two games this season. He returned to practice for one day last week but the Broncos subsequently shut him down with a sore foot.


14 — Times in 14 games Wilson has thrown at least one touchdown pass. The only other QB in franchise history to do that was Peyton Manning in 2013 and '14.

25 — Times in his career Wilson has both a TD throw and a TD run in a game, including three this season.

74 — Yards receiving on three catches by WR Jerry Jeudy a week after his three botched receptions cost him 97 potential yards.


The Broncos host the Patriots on Christmas Eve. Their final three games are against backup quarterbacks and head coaches who may not be back with their teams in 2024.