PHILADELPHIA — An exasperated Derek Wolfe began his media scrum wondering aloud a sentiment that many Broncos fans probably share after Sunday's 51-23 loss in Philadelphia.
"What else needs to be said?" Wolfe said.
But he elaborated anyway, because this was the kind of loss that lingered, and not because it felt like one that slipped just out of their grasp.
"We went out there and got our ass kicked," Wolfe said. "And it's sad, because there's a lot time, work, blood and sweat invested into this season. To go out there and get our ass kicked like that, that really hurts."
Photos from in-game action of the Broncos' game against the Eagles in Philadelphia. (Photos by Gabriel Christus unless noted)
In pretty much every part of the game, the Broncos came up short. Yet Wolfe couldn't find fault in the effort. because he has seen it, and he's seen the sacrifices he and others have made to get themselves ready for games.
"Everybody's dealing with things," Wolfe said. "Everybody's taking anti-inflammatories to get out there on the field the next Sunday. Everybody's trying to make it to practice. Everybody's trying to make sure they can get their workouts. Everybody's trying to be the best they possibly can be, especially on this team. That's why it's so frustrating. We just can't get it to come together. It starts with us. It's the players. We have to come together and make it happen. We have to come together and figure out how to turn this around. We're only halfway through."
Though the thought of the playoffs isn't completely outside the realm of possibility with the team at 3-5, veteran voices on the team like Wolfe and Von Miller want the entire team to regroup around the simple idea of playing for more than the postseason and more than numbers, be those wins, losses, interceptions, sacks, touchdowns or whatever else.
"We still have an opportunity," Miller said. "… All I really need is an opportunity to go out there and be great, to go out there and do what I love to do. All I need is an opportunity. It doesn't matter about points or the record or previous games. Me, Von Miller, I'm one of the leaders on this team, so I'm speaking for the guys in the locker room, and all we need is opportunity, and we have that."
Part of getting to that point means fighting past the mental exhaustion this four-game skid has brought.
"We're just tired of it," Wolfe said. "It's like if one thing goes wrong, it's like the whole thing just crumbles. And that's where leadership has to step in. We have to do a better job of leading."
In that process, the Broncos are focused on retaining an undying will through whatever they face in the second half of the season.
"You can't give up, can't go in the dumps," guard Ron Leary said. "Shoot, we've still got eight more games. It's not like you can quit in the middle of the season and just start all over."
Halting the team's first four-game losing streak since 2010 has no easy answer. For Leary and a few other Broncos who tried to answer that question Sunday afternoon, the resolution is within each man.
"The mantra right now is just do more," Leary said. "So whatever that is for each individual, I think all of us need to try to do more. Try to get this thing turned around, because right now, it's bad. And nobody's satisfied with it. We all want to be better, so I think we're all just going to try to work on just getting one win."
The one thing that was clear about the Broncos in the wake of this loss was that it was absolutely unacceptable in a way that few losses had been for the Broncos in recent years.
"I can't keep going through losses like this," Wolfe said. "It's breaking my heart, because the whole time I've been here, we've been winning. We've always found a way to win, and this kills me."