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For moody Broncos, winning streaks and titles are just a fable – Denver Broncos Blog

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos, now 2-5 after Thursday night’s cave-in against the Kansas City Chiefs, have discovered their offense is rather disheveled, their defense doesn’t play its best in the biggest moments and the special teams units are piling up mistakes.

The Broncos appear to be a moody team that rises too high at the first hint of success and falls hard when the losses come. This is the challenge for a franchise filled with players who have not won consistently.

Thursday, the Broncos offense surrendered nine sacks, including one that resulted in a fumble returned for a touchdown. The team rushed for just 71 yards against a previously porous Chiefs defense. The Broncos defense allowed the Chiefs three full scoring drives with backup Matt Moore at quarterback. Special teams had a missed field goal attempt to go with what coach Vic Fangio called a “botched” fake punt.

A poor showing, to say the least, after two consecutive wins.

“It just shows us maybe we got a little bit ahead of ourselves,” said Broncos defensive end Shelby Harris. “We’ve got to [go] right back to the drawing board and play our game.”

“Definitely a learning experience for guys to kind of get knocked on their butt a little bit,” said quarterback Joe Flacco. ” … If we truly believe that we can be who we want to be, well, the men in this situation don’t bury their heads and go hide and let everything fall apart.”

The Broncos are now 13-26 since the start of the 2017 season. They have just 14 players on the current roster who were with the team in the 2016 season — their last winning season, at 9-7 — and have just seven players on the current roster who played in Super Bowl 50.

That leaves 39 players on the active roster who have not experienced more than a three-game winning streak on the Broncos.

Winning regularly and competing for AFC West titles is just a fable for most of the Broncos. At one point during Thursday’s loss, the Broncos were in a six defensive back look that featured three DBs (Davontae Harris, Coty Sensabaugh and Duke Dawson) who weren’t even with the team before Aug. 31.

The trick is finding a message that gets through to the players who have seen the best of times and the players who know nothing but the worst of times.

“[We] can’t get discouraged, it’s pro sports,” said Broncos linebacker Von Miller.

“We don’t have time to keep our heads down,” Chris Harris Jr. said. “We still going to keep fighting. … It looks bad right now, but a lot of teams have a record like us.”

It stung a little more Thursday because the Chiefs represent how far the Broncos have to go. The Broncos were once the AFC West’s measuring stick with five consecutive division titles between 2011-15, but that designation now belongs to the Chiefs.

Thursday was the Broncos’ eighth consecutive loss to the Chiefs — the last win coming in Week 2 of 2015.

Asked how he and his coaching staff keep players who haven’t experienced winning in position to win, Fangio said:

“You just keep coaching them on ‘This is a winning play, this is not a winning play.’ And keep showing them the mistakes that are correctable. … A lot of our poor play, as it is for a lot of teams, is self-inflicted. Very few times are you just dominated and whipped one-on-one. It happens, but our problems are more self-inflicted a lot. Some of it we’re getting whipped.

“Obviously [Thursday] night wasn’t a proud moment for any of us.”

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Los Angeles Chargers’ Michael Davis suspended 2 games for violating NFL’s substance abuse policy

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COSTA MESA, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Michael Davis has been suspended two games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

The Chargers (4-7) are on their bye this week. The suspension will cover road games against Denver (Dec. 1) and Jacksonville (Dec. 8).

Davis, who is in his third season, has started nine games this year and has an interception along with 27 tackles.

General manager Tom Telesco said in a statement that Davis is a good person who made a “significant mistake this past offseason.”

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Washington Redskins place TE Vernon Davis (concussion) on season-ending injured reserve

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ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins placed tight end Vernon Davis on injured reserve Friday, ending his season and leaving his career in doubt.

Davis, 35, suffered a concussion in Week 4 and has not played since, though he had been limited in practice for most of that time. Davis missed the last two games of 2018 with a concussion. Another Redskins tight end, Jordan Reed, has missed the entire season because of a concussion as well.

For Davis, this could mark the end of a productive career. He caught 583 career passes and his 63 touchdowns ranks sixth on the all-time list by a tight end. Davis, the sixth overall pick in 2006 by San Francisco, played nine-plus seasons for the 49ers’ and remains their all-time leader in receptions (441), receiving yards (5,640) and touchdowns (55) by a tight end.

Losing Reed and Davis were severe blows to the Redskins’ offense. The Redskins rank 28th in the NFL with only 28 receptions by a tight end this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Davis spent half a season with Denver in 2015, winning a Super Bowl ring. He signed with the Redskins that offseason and caught 122 passes with eight touchdowns playing for his hometown team. Davis grew up in Washington, D.C. and played collegiately at the University of Maryland.

Davis is signed through 2020, but with the Redskins needing to undergo a major rebuild this offseason – they will have a new coach – it’s hard to see him returning. He’ll then have to decide if he wants to continue playing elsewhere.

If this is the end for Davis, he already knows at least one thing he wants to do next: act. Davis has already acted in several movies, including “Hell on the Border”, which will be released on Dec. 13.

The Redskins also promoted defensive lineman Ryan Bee off their practice squad to take Davis’ roster spot.

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Giants rule out Evan Engram; Sterling Shepard among 3 out of protocol

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants tight end Evan Engram was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears with a foot injury, leaving the team shorthanded at the position.

Tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion) was also officially ruled out Friday.

The news was more promising regarding wide receiver Sterling Shepard, left tackle Nate Solder and cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who were all cleared from concussion protocol and are expected to play barring a last-minute setback.

Shepard returns after having missed the past five games with his second concussion of the season. He was cleared three weeks ago heading into a matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, but he didn’t feel well and returned to the protocol.

He was a full participant in practice throughout the week and is not expected to be limited in his return against the Bears.

“Listen, when you’re on the field playing, all the players are at risk for injury,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “That is just the reality of the sport. It’s a physical sport. The reason we all played it and do play it and coach it is because we like the physical nature of it. Unfortunately, sometimes injuries are part of it.

“If he’s up and going, he’s going to go.”

Shepard was playing close to 100% of the snaps prior to his injury. He will start alongside Golden Tate with rookie Darius Slayton, still logging significant snaps as the third receiver.

Solder and Jenkins will also slot back into the starting lineup. They suffered concussions in the Giants’ last game against the New York Jets and had extra time to get cleared because of the bye week.

Engram, who leads the Giants with 44 catches and 467 yards and also has three touchdown grabs, has already missed three games this season with knee and foot injuries. This will be the ninth missed game over the past two seasons for the third-year tight end.

He was optimistic earlier this week that a return against the Bears was possible. He ditched the walking boot Monday and was hoping to begin running and cutting toward the middle or end of the week. As of Thursday, he had not reached that point, but he also hadn’t suffered a setback.

Engram did some running and cutting and told ESPN it went well. A return next week when the Giants host the Green Bay Packers seems plausible.

“He was hopeful that he could make it back [vs. the Bears]. He did everything we asked,” Shurmur said. “Hopefully he’s on track to be back soon. He just wasn’t quite ready this week.”

Engram, Shepard, Tate and running back Saquon Barkley have yet to all be on the field together for a game this season.

The Giants (2-8) take a six-game losing streak into Chicago.

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