ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —After a suspenseful loss like the one in Seattle on Sunday, it's easy to get dragged down by miscues or mistakes, but the Broncos aren't looking to fall into that trap as they head into the bye week.
Rather, they'd rather let it power them into the week of rest and beyond.
"We have to put it behind us, but we also can't forget how it feels to lose a game like that," defensive end Derek Wolfe said after practice on Tuesday. "We can only get better from here on out so it feels good to kind of, for me, especially to get that game over with. I wish the outcome was different but sometimes it doesn't go your way."
"You love it to fuel you throughout the season," Wolfe added. "Anytime you get in a rough spot you remember that we've been here before so we can do this."
The dichotomy of having to get past the loss while also holding on to it is a matter of not dwelling upon it too much, but retaining its teachings in your memory. You can't linger on it, because that makes you lose track of impending matchups. But players said they could use such a game to get a feel for where they can still improve and to let memories from that game push them through tough times in the future.
When asked about whether he'll look at positives of negatives of the game, Wolfe had an evenhanded outlook: "You look at both. You look at the things you did right, but at the end of the day if you didn't do those things you did wrong, you would have won. You always have to go look at the things you did wrong—even if you win a game, it doesn't matter."
Naturally, there were plenty of positives to take away from that game, even in spite of the ending. The team showed resilience and fight both on offense and defense in turning a 17-3 deficit into a 17-3 run to tie the game by the end of regulation. The defense recorded a safety and forced Seattle into empty possessions and the offense came up big when they had to, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
The phrase "moral victory" often comes up in situations like that, but coaches and players denied that label as the empty heartwarming platitude it is.
"Like all games, you have things you do well and things you don't do well," Head Coach John Fox said. "We're disappointed about that but we'll look at it. They're in there looking at it now. They'll learn from it and hopefully improve from it."
With extra time to recover in the bye week, there were mixed feelings about the early timing of the rest. Rookie cornerback Bradley Roby was disappointed because he wants to continue on his progress thus far as he's been adjusting to NFL play, but Wolfe said after months of training camp, preseason and the first few weeks of the regular season that he and others could use the time to recoup. Most players said they were going to spend that time with their family, whether that meant flying home or just staying in town.
Emmanuel Sanders, who will be headed home to Houston to take his son to see his grandmother, said he'll relax while focusing on retaining his mental strength, which was something Roby also brought up.
Being able to take the past week's performance against the defending champs won't be something in which they'll get complacent. Rather, it's something that can drive their mentality, which will gain some breadth from the rest, reflection and focus to improve that the Broncos are taking into this bye week.
"Everybody's going to go off and just think about this past game," Sanders said of the bye week. "I hope we come back with an attitude that this is not going to happen again and hopefully we finish 15-1."