Sean Payton made his official return to coaching on Sunday, when the Broncos hosted the Raiders. It didn’t go well for the home team.
And the game didn’t go the way games usually go. The two offenses had fewer chances with the ball than normal.
“It’s unusual in that it’s rare both teams end up with just six possessions,” Payton told reporters on Monday. “In other words, points then become at a premium. Generally speaking, you’re between 10 and 12 possessions a game. Part of it was a result of both teams having long, sustained drives, overcoming some third downs, maybe some penalties to keep drives moving. It was a little unusual that way.”
One of the reasons the Broncos had fewer drives is that the Raiders defense gave them fewer chances to gain yards in big chunks. Also, the Broncos were missing a couple of weapons.
“Certainly, you miss [receiver Jerry [Jeudy] and you miss [tight end] Greg [Dulcich],” Payton said. “The other thing, we got a little bit more — a lot more — soft zone coverage. To Russ [Wilson’s] credit, the ball came down underneath a number of times when it needed to. It’s that back and forth. You’re waiting for the down safety looks, you’re waiting for the opportunities that maybe provide you those chances down the field, but I would say a little bit more shell [coverage] than expected and force the throws to come underneath.”
Payton also said he was pleased with Wilson’s decision-making. It just didn’t end up with the Broncos having more points than the Raiders.
“It was unique that way in a game where you didn’t have the same amount of possessions you were used to, and then the margins quickly shift,” Payton said. “If you told me we were going to win the turnover battle [or] we were going to win the rushing battle against that team, I would’ve been really happy and said that more than likely we were going to win the game, but it wasn’t the case.”
No it wasn’t. Payton gets another chance to get his first win with the Broncos in six days, when the Commanders come to town.