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Broncos’ Nathaniel Hackett on Christmas Day meltdown against Rams: ‘We weren’t ready to play’

The woes in Denver continued on Christmas Day as the Broncos authored another embarrassing performance that ended with an upset linebacker Randy Gregory throwing a punch.

The defending Super Bowl champion Rams are also winding down an injury-riddled and disappointing season but were able to completely dominate the Broncos on Sunday.

The Broncos suffered their 11th loss of the season after the 51-14 beatdown at SoFi Stadium.

Embattled head coach Nathaniel Hackett took responsibility for the Broncos poor performance and acknowledged that his team was not prepared to play.

“I think they’re upset for all the losing, we all are,” Hackett said of the meltdown. “Every one of us, that’s unacceptable, that’s not what we’re about, that’s not what we want to do. We went in with a mindset we were going to win this game, but in the end we weren’t ready. … It wasn’t good, it’s all of us.

” … It always starts with me, without a doubt, that’s embarrassing, I’m embarrassed. That’s not what we’re about, that’s not what we’ve done all year.”


The Broncos were able to end their five-game losing streak by beating the Cardinals 24-15 in Week 15. Two weeks ago the team fought back in a loss against the Kansas City Chiefs after falling behind 27-0.

However, the Broncos could not must any fight on Sunda. Denver’s defense has largely played well this season and entered the game ranked in the top five in scoring defense, but allowed the Rams to score on eight of their nine possessions in Sunday’s game.

Russell Wilson, #3 of the Denver Broncos, is sacked during the second half of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on Dec. 25, 2022 in Inglewood, California.

The only time Los Angeles did not score when the ball was in their possession happened when quarterback Baker Mayfield opted to take a knee.

“It was like basketball; they were hitting all their 3s,” defensive tackle DeShawn Williams said.


Russell Wilson threw two interceptions on his first three pass attempts of the game, each of which gave the Rams good field position. Both turnovers proved to be costly as Los Angeles capitalized and scored two touchdowns.

“They started the game with 17 points, 14 points basically, that can’t happen,” Wilson said. ” … Bottom line is, I let us down, it can’t happen. … Nobody wants to put out what we put out there today. That was terrible, that was not us, that was not very good.”

Russell Wilson, #3 of the Denver Broncos, looks to pass the ball during the second half of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on Dec. 25, 2022 in Inglewood, California. 

Wilson went on to acknowledge that he has not played well this season, “I think a lot needs to happen, but I think No. 1, I’ve got to play to the standards that I know how to play to, that I’ve been playing to my whole career. We’re at a low moment right now.”

As things began to spiral on the field, Broncos players also started to implode on the sideline. Broncos backup quarterback Brett Rypien and guard Dalton Risner had a heated exchange near the team’s bench after Wilson was sacked on consecutive plays in the third quarter. 

The two players were later seen embracing each other.

Hackett decided to take Gregory out of the game on two occasions. “After that second one, we took him out — that’s unacceptable,” Hackett said referencing penalties called on Gregory during the game.

After the game in the midst of a crowd of players, Gregory and Rams player Oday Aboushi were involved in a verbal exchange. After exchanging some words, Gregory punched Aboushi in the helmet. Aboushi returned with a punch before others in the area intervened and broke up the players.

The Chiefs (12-3) host the Broncos (4-11) on New Year’s Day.

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