Why Sean Payton ended up circling a sushi restaurant after his first home win as Broncos coach, wondering “Why can’t I be happy?”

Sean Payton left Empower Field after his first home win last night and headed for the celebration.

But first, a pit stop.

The Broncos coach had to stop and pick up dinner for the waiting group, including his kids and his wife, Skylene.

Payton, though, couldn’t even make it all the way home before the good, the bad and the ugly — mostly the latter two, by his telling — stormed back into his mind.

“I’m driving home last night, headed to get sushi. I don’t like sushi,” Payton explained. “And I find myself circling in the parking lot, like, ‘Alright, why can’t I be happy?’”

Certainly, there’s plenty to correct after a 19-17 win against Green Bay.

A personnel mix-up in goal-line defense that cost a timeout. A perfectly timed call to extend a fourth-quarter drive that turned into an incompletion when Russell Wilson missed Javonte Williams. Questions about red-zone play-calling, and should he have run the ball more, and who the heck likes sashimi anyway?

“There’s that competitive part of you that wants to score 30 points. That wants to take advantage of that first trip down into the red zone and score a touchdown,” Payton said. “There’s that competitive part of you that wants to finish the game where it’s not coming down to the last drive. Sometimes there’s these Utopia games that don’t really exist, and then between that Utopia game and the game you just played, there’s games in between that you feel like you’re capable of playing.

“As coaches, you ask yourself all the time, are we approaching it the right way?”

The 59-year-old is sometimes impulsive and sometimes self-aware. Everybody else likes sushi, so that’s a fine postgame dinner, even though it’s not his thing.

“I’m a team player,” Payton said.

There’s no such democracy during games. Payton wears emotions on his sleeve, to put it mildly, and then forgets entirely about the cussing out of an assistant coach or a quarterback or a line judge by the time the next work week starts.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph found himself on the receiving end in the fourth quarter Sunday, when the Broncos had only 10 players on the field before a goal-line snap for the Packers. Payton said his relationship with Joseph is in “a great spot” — he just gets angry during games. Joseph isn’t the first to catch the wrath this year and won’t be the last.

“There’s an element of wanting it to be, not perfect, but man, you know what it can be,” Payton added, bringing up the bootleg that Wilson and Williams missed on for a third time in two days in the process. … “Then you’re like, did we rep it enough? Did I practice it enough? Those are the things where you pull your hair out. That’s probably the best explanation for it.”

The coach said he called one too many run plays on third-and-short but overall entertained the idea that he should have run the ball more. He has detailed self-scouting data about himself, how he sequences runs and passes and, as such, can theoretically avoid getting predictable. But sometimes you just want to go with your gut, too.

So, should the Broncos have rushed it 30 times instead of 25?

“It’s a question, it’s one of the things that finds me outside the sushi restaurant (ticked) off,” Payton said.

The day Payton was hired, he said being away from the game felt a little bit like seeing the lights from a racetrack in the distance, knowing what the gasoline smells like and what the adrenaline feels like and not being able to be there.

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