In the wake of Sean Payton's celebrated arrival as the new head coach for the Denver Broncos, there was an electric sense of optimism buzzing in the air. Payton, after all, had steered the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl victory and a commendable nine postseason appearances.
This was an impressive leap considering the Saints had seen a mere five playoffs in over thirty years prior to Payton's leadership. Yet, for the Broncos, the start of the season has been less than rosy. Following a disheartening loss to the Washington Commanders, the team is now looking at an 0-2 record.
The Broncos were on the brink of pushing the game to overtime had they succeeded in a pivotal two-point conversion. This, after Russell Wilson's breathtaking 50-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Johnson. In the decisive moment, Wilson opted for wide receiver Courtland Sutton.
However, the Commanders' cornerback, Benjamin St-Juste, expertly disrupted the pass, sealing the win for Washington.
Broncos' Narrow 2023 Defeats
Compounding the Broncos' woes is their shaky start to 2023, with their two losses being by an agonizingly close margin of three points.
This prompted a Twitter fan to cheekily quip, “Broncos country, let’s cry,” while another commented, “To make the Hail Mary and then fail on the 2 is brutal. God I love football”. The game wasn't without its controversies.
Debates flared on Twitter, with fans divided over whether St-Juste should've been penalized for defensive pass interference against Sutton. However, the game officials maintained it was a legitimate play. Yet, one play alone cannot capture the entirety of the Broncos' struggles.
They conceded 35 points to the Commanders. Quarterback Sam Howell of the Commanders had a field day, racking up 299 yards with two touchdowns from 27 completions. A staggering nine penalties were committed by the Broncos, handing the Commanders an undesired gift of 58 yards.
The Commanders' running back, Brian Robinson Jr., further rubbed salt in the wounds with his stellar performance of two touchdowns from 87 rushing yards. The Denver offensive line visibly faltered, with the Commanders' defense registering seven sacks and a whopping 14 quarterback hits on Wilson.
Facing such adversity, the Broncos are eager to move past these setbacks. Their focus now shifts to their next challenge against the Miami Dolphins' formidable offense, spearheaded by Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle, in Week 3.
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