DENVER -- Entering Sunday's game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Broncos were riding high on a six-game win streak.
The New England Patriots showed them that there's more work to be done to contend with the AFC's elite.
"You never like losing," Andre' Goodman said in a disappointed locker room after the 41-23 loss.
But the veteran cornerback -- and many of his teammates -- were already thinking about how the outcome can benefit the team going forward. They can learn from it.
"You realize that no matter how good you think you are in terms of the six-game winning streak, you’re a long way from where you need to be when you’re competing against teams like that," Goodman said.
"We need to concentrate on getting better," he said. "Just practice harder, study harder -- whatever we're doing, we have to do a little more."
The way they do that,
There were turnovers -- three, to be exact, which New England converted into 13 points -- big plays given up and miscommunication.
Make sure that those mistakes don't happen again.
"We know that in every phase we can get a little bit better,"
In the same way the team didn't quit in any of its previous six wins, the club isn't going to pack up shop after one loss.
“Just stay confident and keep going,"
Next week brings a trip to Buffalo, where the 5-9 Bills await as the AFC playoff picture continues to take shape.
"We're going to be extremely motivated," Tebow said.
The Broncos still sit alone atop the AFC West. At 8-6, they're a game ahead of 7-7 Oakland, which lost its game Sunday to the Detroit Lions.
But the players aren't concerned with what other teams are doing -- they're focused on what they need to do to accomplish their goals.
"We still control our own destiny," Dumervil said. "We’ve got two weeks to do it, and it starts with Buffalo."
The team returns to practice Tuesday as it looks to get back in the win column on Christmas Eve.
"This was a setback, no doubt about that," Fox said. "But sometimes setbacks are setups for bigger things to come. That's the way we'll approach it."