“That was a bad game. Embarrassing game.”


INGLEWOOD, Calif. — DeShawn Williams let out a long breath as he processed the question.

The honest answer to whether he knew early on Sunday afternoon that his team was in big trouble was equal parts simple and unpleasant. At this point, 15 games deep into a lost season, unpleasantries are nothing new for this Denver team and Williams is a straightforward sort.

“Yeah. Yeah,” the defensive lineman said, trying to find the right descriptor for a 51-14 Christmas Day meltdown to the Los Angeles Rams. ”It was one of them, it’s like basketball. The other team is hitting all the 3s and you can’t do a damn thing about it.”

The Broncos have failed in all kinds of ways this season. They’ve failed because of questionable decisions by their rookie head coach. They’ve failed because of poor quarterback play. They’ve failed because the defense failed to stop opposing teams in critical situations. They’ve failed — on this field, to be exact, in October against the Chargers — because of all those things plus a rookie return man who muffed a punt in overtime. But never have they failed to this extent.

On Christmas Day, in front of a national audience, the Broncos for the first time this season failed in spectacular, flame-out fashion.

“We got our asses kicked,” safety Justin Simmons said.

“A bad game. Embarrassing game,” head coach Nathaniel Hackett said.

If a 23-10 loss at Carolina three days after Thanksgiving represented rock bottom, then this was the volcanic eruption that reshapes the seabed.

“It’s not acceptable, it’s not what we’re about,” Hackett said. “We went in with a mindset that we were going to be able to win this game but in the end we weren’t ready. We didn’t do the things we were looking to do. It wasn’t good enough and those guys know that, they know it’s all of us.”

Randy Gregory threw his helmet to earn a personal foul, earned another when he hit Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield high in the fourth quarter, and then threw a punch during a post-game altercation on the field.


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