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Broncos’ run at playoffs didn’t end with injuries to Sanders, Harris

So is this where the Broncos’ run at the playoffs ends, with Emmanuel Sanders throwing his helmet to rage against a torn Achilles?

In a span of roughly 72 hours, what happened in Broncos Country was paranormal football activity, not to mention a little creepy. If bad things come in threes, I’m not sure coach Vance Joseph wants to know what’s next after freak, fluke injuries to Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris and Sanders, the team’s leading receiver.

“We can’t cry about it,” Joseph said Wednesday, after Sanders fell down in a painful heap during a noncontact practice drill, becoming the team’s seventh starter to be hurt in the 2018 season.

“Seeing Emmanuel go down was a very sad situation,” teammate Courtland Sutton said.

So this certainly means the season cannot end happily; no NFL team that loses seven starters can possibly win seven in a row to qualify for the playoffs. It’s all too much for the Broncos to overcome, right?

Well, maybe. But don’t tell Phillip Lindsay, Bradley Chubb and Sutton the odds. The kids are alright. And I wouldn’t bet against Denver’s precocious rookies in the class of 2018. They fear nothing.

Is any challenge too big for them?

“No,” Lindsay replied. “We’re in the NFL. The biggest challenge was getting here. Now, it’s about us playing together. We know what we have to do. At the end of the day, we’re all grown men. And we’re not just going to let somebody punk us.”

While there’s no replacing the talent of Harris or Sanders, this much I know is true: During the Broncos’ rise from the depths of a 3-6 record that had the whole city buzzing about when Joseph would get fired, Lindsay, Chubb and Sutton became the beating heart of a team that has stubbornly refused to quit.

“This isn’t just a regular rookie class,” Lindsay said. “This is a unique rookie class that is really mature. You’re not going to get a rookie class like this in the NFL. I don’t care what anybody says.”

Linebacker Von Miller is far and away the most talented player on the roster. He can blow up a game by himself. But can we also step back from the altar of hero worship and speak an uncomfortable little truth? The Vonster takes plays off. His attitude toward football is not unlike what you often see on the court during an NBA game. His passion spikes when the feeling moves him.

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