GREEN BAY, Wis. — With their 27-16 loss to the Packers on Sunday, the Denver Broncos have opened a season 0-3 for the first time since 1999, the year after John Elway called it a career as a Hall of Fame quarterback.
“Times are rough around here, obviously, the past few years, it’s been tough,” wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. “We’re trying to get it right, right now we’re 0-3, living in a world of suck. Football is still fun, but not as much fun when you’re losing.”
The Broncos have missed the playoffs in each of the previous three seasons, finishing below .500 at 5-11 and 6-10 in the past two seasons.
This recent losing stretch is unfamiliar for a franchise that spent more than the past three decades with as many Super Bowl trips (seven) as losing seasons on its résumé, and still has a smattering of players, including Sanders and linebacker Von Miller, who were on the roster during the Broncos’ recent five-year run of five consecutive AFC West titles, two Super Bowl trips and a Super Bowl 50 win.
“We’re 0-3, that’s our record, that’s a fact,” first-year coach Vic Fangio said Sunday. “I do see a lot of good out there, [but] not enough. We’re not doing enough good things that the good teams that win do. Which is protect the ball … we’re not getting the ball turned over [on defense] … and we’re not playing good enough defense.”
“This is tough, I never like to lose, even when I was a little kid,” Miller said. “This is a rough patch for us, we got to find a way to get over this hump … we’ve just got to find a way to get it done. … I’ve been on some teams before when it was like, man, you felt like you couldn’t do nothing right, feel like missing this, missing that. I don’t feel like we’re missing anything.”
The Broncos are missing sacks, forced turnovers by their defense and wins.
Sunday’s loss, their 14th in the past 18 road games, provided a tidy little view into all of the problem areas. The Broncos turned the ball over four times, forced no Packers turnovers, allowed quarterback Joe Flacco to be sacked six times, didn’t sack Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and missed an extra point.
Asked whether the team was capable of bouncing back from an already imposing hole, Sanders said simply: “I hope so, I hope so. I can’t say we are. Obviously it’s week by week, I know that, I understand that.”
“We got to come to work. It’s your job,” linebacker Todd Davis said. “You’ve got to come to work, you’ve got to be ready to play. It’s your job.”