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Broncos notes: Denver D experiencing late-game letdowns

Denver signs linebacker Dakota Allen off Browns' practice squad. Beck returns to practice.
Credit: AP
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) scores the winning touchdown in front of Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II (2) during overtime of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For 55 minutes of a 60-minute game, the Denver defense has been as good as it gets.

The Raiders may have just knocked Denver’s D from its No. 1 NFL perch in total yards and points allowed down to No. 3 in both categories. Still, a No. 3 ranking is darn good for a 3-7 team.

Blame for the Broncos’ disappointing 3-7 record isn’t all on the offense, though. Simply put, the defense has not been coming through in crunch time. The Broncos’ offense deserves the bulk of the criticism as it ranks dead last in the NFL with a mere 14.7 points per game.

But going into their game Sunday against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., the Denver D has allowed a score in the final 5 minutes of regulation in their last 7 consecutive games.

When you’re losing by one score – as the Broncos have in six of their seven defeats – surrendering points late in the game is the difference between winning and, more often, losing.

“There’s little mistakes here and there,’’ said inside linebacker Alex Singleton, who leads the team with 82 tackles but isn’t always on the field late in obvious passing situations. “It’s not one person, it’s not one call. I think it’s a combination of things. We’ve been working on that.’’

Scores allowed with time left: Game, Opponent, Time left, Score, Final score

4, Raiders, 2:02, touchdown, L, 23-32

5, Colts :05, field goal, OT, field goal, L, 9-12

6. Chargers 3:58, field goal, OT, field goal, L-16-19

7. Jets, 4:35, field goal, L, 9-16

8. Jaguars, 3:54, touchdown, W, 21-17

9. Titans, 2:59, field goal, L, 10-17

10. Raiders, :16, field goal, OT, touchdown, L, 16-22

In all three overtime losses, the Broncos were leading in the fourth quarter. But the Denver D couldn’t make the lead hold up.

“Another thing is getting turnovers and getting off the field in those situations,’’ Singleton said. “When it’s known passing downs, situations where we know what the calls are going to be. It’s winning those. And we know it, we go over it and I think we’re going to have to start showing we can win in those situations.”

Credit: AP
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (15) runs past Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson (22) after catching pass for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Broncos sign linebacker away from Browns

The Broncos have signed backup linebacker/special teamer Dakota Allen off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad. A 7th-round draft pick out of Texas Tech by the Los Angeles Rams in 2019, Allen played two games for the Raiders that year, then 27 games combined for Jacksonville in 2020-21. He played in four games for the Browns this season.

Allen, 27, is primarily a special teamer which the Broncos need following the season-ending injuries to linebackers Aaron Patrick and Jonas Griffith.

To make room for Allen on the 53-man roster, the Broncos placed running back Chase Edmonds on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain.

Credit: AP
Cleveland Browns linebacker Dakota Allen works out prior to an NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Baltimore. The Ravens won 23-20. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Bronco Bits

Fullback/H-back Andrew Beck returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering a strained hamstring that caused him to miss the previous two games. Receivers Jerry Jeudy (ankle) and KJ Hamler (hamstring), though, did not participate in what coach Nathaniel Hackett said was a walkthrough. Jeudy missed all but one play of the previous two games with his injury and Hamler has missed all of the past two games. …

The Broncos made multiple practice squad moves Tuesday, signing back rookie running back Tyreik McAllister, who was with the team in training camp until he suffered a significant hamstring injury, and linebacker Ray Wilborn, who has been on practice squads with the Packers and Steelers. The Broncos released linebacker Harvey Langi, who played Sunday against the Raiders and made a special teams tackle.

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