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Broncos confident they can clean up mistakes, still compete for playoffs

Lloyd Cushenberry and P,J. Locke told reporters the next few games are must-wins.

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NFL: DEC 03 Broncos at Texans Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

If you want to feel better after Sunday’s loss to the Texans, just adopt P.J. Locke’s mentality.

“Honestly, man, I’m really not worried,” Locke said Monday after watching the film. “Obviously I’m disappointed that we lost. We ended the streak that we had, but I’m not worried by any means. As bad as we played, and it still came down to a game-winning drive, man, that’s amazing.”

Even if a tad over-confident, Locke is not wrong.

In fact, he personally had a good day - six tackles, two solo, one sack, one QB hit and two tackles for a loss.

The Broncos went 0-for-11 on third down, had three turnovers and essentially gifted the Texans an extra four points (thanks a lot, Singleton!). But they were still fighting for the win at the end.

That at least shows the team isn’t in the same place it was before its five wins in a row.

“All the things that we’ve seen on film, it’s correctable. I’m not worried, man,” Locke said again. “I feel like we were headed in the right direction. We get those things fixed up, we’ll be just fine. We’ll be just fine.”

Lloyd Cushenberry noted it was unfamiliar to be on the losing side, but no one is feeling defeated.

“We’re in a decent spot, we’ve just got to take care of business these next five games,” he said. “It makes it a little bit more disappointing knowing all the plays that we didn’t come up with and the chance we had at the end, being at the 8-yard line. How close we were makes it a little bit more disappointing, but we’re still in the hunt.”

Cushenberry added that the team has been saying they were resilient and now is the time to show it.

“The next five games, man, it’s put up or shut up. We’ve got to come out with all of these wins to get in the playoffs, and once you get in, you’re 0-0. Anything can happen,” Cush said. “[I’m] looking forward to that challenge and getting it done.”

Locke pointed out that they’ve done it before...under more disappointing conditions. After being down 1-5, they won five games in a row mostly against opponents no one expected them to beat.

The Broncos defense allowed one Texans receiver to gain nearly 200 yards receiving in the first three quarters of the game. But then the defense forced four punts in the second half and gave the offense a chance to get back in the game.

Although the chance ended in an interception in the end zone, Locke and his teammates gained some confidence in their stops.

“Just going through that type of adversity at the beginning of the season, you’ve been through it,” Locke said Monday. “I felt the type of mentality I had to get out of that situation, get out of that hole. And we showed fight in the game.”

Same for the offense. While there were way too many missed opportunities, the fact that they never gave up fighting and had a chance helps their confidence moving forward.

“We’ve still got a lot of hope, a lot of fight left,” Cushenberry said. “And a lot of season, a lot of ball to play.”

The head coach acknowledged that the only thing to do is fight for another win.

“You do form a little grit and callus and become tougher, and you also learn a lot about everyone else in the building,” Payton said after the game, adding that the job Monday was to look at the tape, then figure out how to teach better what they want to see out of the players. “Then get ready to put a real good plan together versus Los Angeles. That’s kind of what you have to do.”

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