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Brandon Stokley: Denver Broncos' loss 'a bad dream'

Denver's season came to a sudden and surprising conclusion this weekend, leaving Broncos players to ponder a bright campaign cut short.

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One day after Denver fell 38-35 in a double-overtime playoff stunner to the Baltimore Ravens, Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley had yet to process the loss.

"I kept playing it back in my head," Stokley told The Associated Press on Sunday. "It's like a bad dream that keeps playing over and over."

Losing became a foreign concept for these Broncos. Their 11-game win streak trailed back to October, but the Ravens were pests on Saturday. With every punch the Broncos threw, the Ravens lobbed one back. Denver's overly cautious game plan was the opposite of Baltimore's approach behind quarterback Joe Flacco, who repeatedly roped the ball downfield.

Flacco was nearly mistake-free in the game, but Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning tossed a pair of costly interceptions.


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Stokley on Sunday accepted blame for Manning's interception in the second overtime period that set up the Ravens' game-winning field goal. The slot receiver broke off his route, surging toward the middle of the field. Manning attempted a poor pass across his body that wound up in the arms of Ravens cornerback Corey Graham.

"I probably shouldn't have done that," Stokley told The Denver Post.

That pass was on Manning, no matter what Stokley says.

Now the Broncos -- after going no deeper into the playoffs with Manning than with Tim Tebow -- must confront an offseason that invariably will bring change. They'll march into next season a heavy favorite in the AFC West, but repeating their 13-3 record is no guarantee.

"You'll never have the same nucleus, the same group of guys that we have," linebacker Von Miller said. "I wasn't ready to let it go yet. Especially the way it ended."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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