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“We’ve got to stop them (at the end)”

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After the Broncos’ defense stuffed San Francisco en route to an 11-10 win in late September, the unit’s primary playmakers went bonkers in the locker room.

They danced around Bradley Chubb, hooting and hollering. “Tell ’em, Chubb, tell em!” as Chubb was interviewed. And he did, roaring, “We the best (expletive) defense in the league!”

Fast forward to Sunday’s 22-16 overtime loss to Las Vegas, and the locker room was the antithesis of that jubilant September scene. The Chubb-less defense could’ve cemented a win by stopping Las Vegas on its final drive, but couldn’t. They then got torched for the game-winning touchdown on the first possession of overtime.

Yes, the offense remains ranked last in the NFL in points per game and again struggled to get out their own way. But the defense — the unit that is supposed to be the Broncos’ pillar — let them down in a major way. They were given a lead and failed to protect it.

“If we hold ourselves to the standard of being the best defense in the league, we’ve got to stop them there,” outside linebacker Jonathon Cooper said. “We had a chance to seal the game and we couldn’t do it.”

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