The Broncos were leading the Commanders 21-3 in the second quarter when their safety Kareem Jackson delivered a blow to the head of Washington tight end Logan Thomas as Thomas was making a catch in the end zone.
Thomas held on for a touchdown and Jackson was ejected from the game in a moment that looks a lot like a turning point after seeing how the rest of the game played out. The Commanders would go on a 32-3 run that put them up 11 points in the fourth quarter and then held on for a 35-33 win when the Broncos failed to convert a two-point conversion after a Hail Mary on the final play of regulation.
After the game, Payton was asked if he thought Jackson's ejection took the air out of the team's sails.
"You’d have to ask them . . . I don’t think anyone's getting deflated," Payton said in his postgame press conference.
Jackson was fined for a hit that concussed Raiders wide receiver Jakobi Meyers in the opener and Thomas also suffered a concussion on Sunday, which raises the prospect of further discipline for Jackson in the form of a suspension. The NFL will discuss that on Monday and Payton
“I don’t have an answer for you," Payton said. "Those things happen so quickly and, from my vantage point, you just get to see it one time. You look up. They make the call, and you have to go with it.”
Whether it was the Jackson hit or not, something threw the Broncos off track after a good start on Sunday and the team will have to fix it whether Jackson is suspended in Week Three or not.