Sean Payton finding it hard to enjoy what little he has to celebrate in first year as Broncos coach

DENVER (AP) — Count Sean Payton among those who wonder why the Denver Broncos' first-year coach can't ever seem to enjoy himself.

After chewing out his defensive coordinator on the sideline and snapping at a reporter from the podium following Denver's 19-17 win over Green Bay, Payton finally had something to celebrate in Denver with his team's first win after three losses at Empower Field.

“Sometimes it's hard to be pleased or not upset, you know,” Payton said Monday. "You want to play your perfect game and that was a good win for us and yet I'm driving home last night, you know, heading to get sushi — I don't like sushi — and finding myself circling around the parking lot like, ‘All right, why can’t I be happy?'

“Well, you're searching for the perfect game, and so I'm just that way. I'm gonna wear my emotions on my sleeve.”

Hold up, before we go any further. Why is he going to a sushi place if he's not a big fan of sushi?

“So, my wife likes it. My kids like it. Everyone in the party likes it. So I’m a team player,” Payton explained. “The nice thing is, it was the first time we were going out to celebrate at home after a win at home, so that was good.”

Even in celebration, however, Payton was bothered by mistakes that were made, timeouts that had to be wasted, plays that didn't work. After the game, he snapped at a reporter who asked him about ending a skid in which the Broncos had lost 10 consecutive games in which they led at halftime, three of which came on his watch.

Despite that short fuse, linebacker Josey Jewell said he appreciates Payton's high standards.

“He likes his stuff exact, which any head coach, any coach should like it exact,” Jewell said. "You know you can't play a perfect game but you can get pretty darn close and that's what he expects out of us and that's what we should expect out of ourselves.

“So, I think that's always great that he always expects more and I think we've got to keep on expecting more if we're going to want to win more games here.”

Asked about his first home victory — and avoiding the first 0-4 home start in franchise history — Payton said he hopes there are a lot more meaningful milestones ahead.

A big one could come Sunday if the Broncos (2-5) can snap their 16-game losing streak to the Kansas City Chiefs (6-1), whom they lost to 19-8 two weeks ago at Arrowhead Stadium.


Denver's rejuvenated defense has surrendered 19 and 17 points in the last two games after allowing an average of 36.2 over the first five weeks.


Safety Kareem Jackson was suspended Monday without pay for four games for his continued violations of the league's unnecessary roughness rules. He drew his second disqualification of the season Sunday for an illegal hit on Packers tight end Luke Musgrave in the second half.

The 14th-year pro is hurting his team more than he is helping it with his over-the-top hits. His suspension will cost him about $589,000 in salary and he's facing yet another fine. Just Saturday, the league announced Jackson had been dinged more than $43,000 for an illegal hit last week at Kansas City. He's been fined four times over the season's first six games for nearly $89,670, ejected twice and now suspended.


RB Javonte Williams is rounding into form after his relatively speedy recovery from a devastating knee injury last season. Williams' 82 yards on 15 carries Sunday represented his best outing at home in his three-year career and his best production since carrying 23 times for 102 yards at Kansas City on Dec. 5, 2021.


Jackson. He can't stay away from late, high hits that draw flags fines and the ire of opponents and the league, and now he'll be sidelined for nearly a month as punishment.


The Broncos reported no injuries from the game.


29 — Career fourth-quarter comebacks by Russell Wilson in the regular season, second-most among active players to Matthew Stafford's 34.

5 — Touchdown catches by Courtland Sutton, his most 2019 when he had a career-high six. Sutton is the first Broncos player since TE Julius Thomas (nine) and WR Demaryius Thomas (six) in 2014 to record at least five TD catches in the first seven games of a season.

1 — Game-clinching interception by backup S PJ Locke, who played his 50th career game Sunday.


With an upset of the Chiefs, the Broncos could hit their bye on a two-game winning streak, something they haven't had since beating Houston and San Francisco in Weeks 2-3 last season. Lose and they stumble into their bye — and the Oct. 31 trade deadline — at 2-6, facing daunting odds of ending their six-year streak of losing records and seven-year run without a playoff berth.