The Denver Broncos are now 1-5 following a Thursday Night Football loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It's no surprise that the defending Super Bowl champions would beat the hapless Broncos, but the way Denver performed, there was still plenty of shock value to stun local fans.
Russell Wilson was bad. When he wasn't failing to gain yardage on designed runs, he was turning in his worst passing performance of his Broncos career. He completed just 13 of 22 passes for 95 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. In 179 career games he's now been held under 100 yards three times. It was the 18th multi-interception game of his career and his third in 21 games as the Broncos starter.
Then there's Sean Payton. Here he is explaining a late first half timeout that helped set up a Chiefs field goal.
Reportedly the second highest-paid coach in the NFL behind Bill Belichick, Payton has taken a team that won five games last year and put them on pace for an even worse season with a 1-5 start. Their one win was a miraculous comeback against the equally bad Chicago Bears. They'd be 0-6 if not for a historic and embarassing collapse by Chicago. The 2023 Denver Broncos are the only team in NFL history to allow Justin Fields to pass for over 300 yards. Can't really blame that on Russell Wilson.
On Thursday they failed to gain 200 total yards. Combine that with the worst defense in the NFL and its going to be hard to win any games. Depending on how you look at that pathetic performance against the Chiefs, the Broncos may have three of the most embarassing losses of the season.
They scored eight points against the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football. They gave up 70 points to the Miami Dolphins and lost by 50 in Week 3. And they lost to Zach Wilson, Nathaniel Hackett and the New York Jets last Sunday. The media spent the first month of the season talking about how bad Wilson is and Hackett was the guy who got fired so the Broncos could hire Payton. Then Payton talked shit about how bad a coaching job he did and went out and actually did worse.
Payton is in the first year of a deal that is worth nearly $100 million. Wilson is in the second year of a deal worth about a quarter-billion dollars. Neither guy is worth the money and the Broncos are absolutely going to have to eat a ton of money at some point in the next year or two to get rid of both of them because there is no coming back from this.
Wilson is washed and it would take Payton years to build a team that could compete under normal circumstances. He's got to try and do it with an albatross of a quarterback. Payton is the Broncos' sixth head coach since they won the Super Bowl in 2015. It's not going out on a limb to suggest that he won't be the next guy to bring home a Lombardi Trophy to Denver.
The only real question for the Broncos is which guy will they get rid of first? Both will be financially crippling, incredibly embarrassing, and very amusing to watch for anyone outside the organization, but it's going to happen. Payton will probably get to say he wants to spend more time with his family and pursue media opportunities while Wilson will end up becoming the Bobby Bonilla of the NFL as they stretch out his deal through the year 3000. I'm telling you, it's going to be funny.