Sean Payton downplays sideline clash with Russell Wilson: ‘I was upset about the call’

As the Denver Broncos lined up for a 21-point field goal late in the third quarter, coach Sean Payton stormed into the officials before turning his anger toward quarterback Russell Wilson in the team’s 42-17 loss to the Detroit Lions on Saturday at Ford Field.

Officials called Denver’s offense an offsides penalty on fourth-and-goal on the 1-yard line, erasing a touchdown by linebacker Michael Burton. Payton was visibly angry about the call, which named right guard Quinn Meiners as the culprit even though replays showed him in a legal position.

Meinerz called the punishment “unfortunate.”

He told reporters after the match: “I have not seen the photo or the film yet to have an accurate opinion about the situation, but it is unfortunate. I am really trying to play penalty-free football.”

Payton said after the game that any noticeable frustration from Wilson was related to the offensive offside call that doomed the score.

“I was upset with the call,” Payton said after the game. “That’s it. Simple.”

In response to a question about what he said to Wilson during the conversation on the sidelines of the match, Payton replied: “Listen, what I talk about with Russell is none of your business.”

Play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan described Payton and Wilson’s interaction as a “very lively discussion” and “one-sided.” For his part, Wilson saw his interaction with Payton as a non-issue.

“Obviously we wanted to score (a touchdown) on that drive,” Wilson said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t do that. More than anything, we’re frustrated that we didn’t score there because we would have made it 28-14. And obviously they ended up shutting us down. That was the disappointing part. … You want a passionate coach.” You want players as well. The most important thing for me is to always focus on the next play.

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The infuriating sequence occurred after two plays in which the Broncos were ruled stopped at the 1-yard line, although replays showed a second-down reception by Jahleel McLaughlin and a third-down run by Javonte Williams may have been a touchdown . Payton didn’t challenge either play.

“They were close,” Payton said when asked if he was considering a challenge on play two or three. “The problem is that when you start challenging points, it becomes difficult.”

The entire series of events was ultimately academic given Detroit’s dominance, but Payton’s lateral blast on Wilson, whose first-quarter fumble proved costly, illustrated the frustration of completely wasting an opportunity to move into a playoff position. With the loss, the Broncos fall to 7-7 and remain behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.

Payton, hours after news that Chiefs coach Andy Reid had been fined $100,000 over public criticism of an official’s offensive offside call in Kansas City’s loss to the Buffalo Bills last week, declined to provide further details on his view of the call against the Minners.

“It is what it is,” he said.

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(Photo: Gregory Shamos/Getty Images)

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