CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The NFL merger remained a twinkle in the eye the last time the Broncos were this bad. The year was 1967 when a gallon of gasoline cost 27 cents, The Monkees owned the charts with "I am Believer," and the "Dirty Dozen" ruled at the box office.
What started as an aberrational loss to the New York Giants has become a full-throttle dive to the abyss. The Broncos dropped their seventh straight game Sunday, matching a 50-year-old losing skid.
"Want to win the football games, and we haven't done that. So the pressure is accurate and I understand that," said Joseph on the mounting anger in Broncos country toward him. "It's expected when you are not winning football games."
The Broncos last won on Oct. 1, have yet to triumph on the road, lost quarterback Paxton Lynch to 2-to-4 weeks with a right ankle sprain and face the possibility of cornerback Aqib Talib receiving additional discipline for his role in Sunday's fight with Oakland's Michael Crabtree.
"Everything is under review," an NFL source told Denver7.
Lynch underwent an MRI on Monday, revealing a high ankle sprain, according to coach Vance Joseph. Trevor Siemian, who threw two touchdowns in relief, will start. As such, the Broncos are back where it began at quarterback. Fourth change, third signal-caller. A monthlong recovery for Lynch creates a race against the calendar with six games remaining.
Talib exited in the third series against Oakland after fighting with Crabtree. Crabtree incited the Broncos the previous play when he slugged cornerback Chris Harris Jr.
"It was a sucker punch," Harris said. "He didn't come to play football. He came to fight."
Moments later, Crabtree engaged with Talib. Broncos players claim Crabtree punched Talib as well. Crabtree blocked Talib out of bounds as the pair scrapped. Talib yanked off Crabtree's chain for the second time in as many seasons. The ugly brawl spilled over into the end zone with Talib and Crabtree squaring off. Talib landed an elbow to Crabtree's chin, and Crabtree responded with a poke of Talib's eye.
Talib said he was disappointed he did not remove himself as the situation mushroomed, but insisted he was defending himself after Crabtree started the incident.
"I guess the second half of it could have definitely been defused. That's what I am disappointed with. That first half, that was him doing extra," Talib said. "He wanted it. He didn't want to play the game. He wanted to come out there and wrestle all day. I hope the league sees how it started. I didn't come come out there to fight or wrestle with him. I just hope the league sees that."
Added teammate Zach Kerr, "It was a bunch BS. Just BS. (Crabtree) came out there and didn't want to play football. He wanted to fight. If we really wanted to, we could have mopped him on our sideline. But we are trying to win a game. If we wanted to fight, we would have fought before, you know what I am saying. We don't have time for that."
Joseph labeled Talib's actions, "unacceptable," placing him at odds with players who supported the veteran cornerback, who left the locker room without speaking to the media on Sunday. Joseph widened his stance on the issue Monday, saying "once (the incident) started, that as a man you have to defend yourself. But I would like our guys to defuse those things and not escalate them. We lost our best corner and a young guy gave up some plays. We can't lose our best players."
Joseph said he spoke with Talib about the incident Sunday night and the two "are good."
Popular veteran nose tackle Domata Peko sprained the MCL in his left knee, and is expected to be sidelined 1-to-2 weeks. It would end his 123-game starting streak. ... Defensive end Derek Wolfe is still being evaluated after suffering a neck injury, leaving his status uncertain. ... Joseph defended safety Darian Stewart's tackle on Amari Cooper, which left the receiver with a concussion. He said Stewart avoided head-to-head contact, and hurt his arm on the tackle.