ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In the locker room following the Broncos' one-point loss to the Raiders, veteran tackle Mike McGlinchey expressed that despite the loss, it was not time for the Broncos to panic.
And yet, as Denver approaches a Week 2 matchup with the Washington Commanders, there is undeniably a sense of urgency for Broncos to get their first win of the season and even their record at 1-1.
"A team doesn't ever want to lose back-to-back [games]," wide receiver Jerry Jeudy said Wednesday. "Just having that first win under our belt is going to be a great feeling, so we're just chasing that win and doing what we need to do this week to get that win."
There's history behind the Broncos' need for a Week 2 win; since the playoffs expanded in 2020, 44.7 percent of teams to start the season 1-1 have made the postseason. Just one of the 23 teams to start the season 0-2 over the last three years wound up with a postseason bid.
Still, the urgency to win is a constant in a week-to-week league, as quarterback Russell Wilson noted on Wednesday.
"There's always a sense of urgency," Wilson said. "Every matchup you play in the National Football League, you want to be able to win them. We've got to treat every game as a championship game, because that's what it is. We play in a great division, and we're looking forward to just winning one game at a time. The sense of urgency with [Head] Coach [Sean] Payton is always high, [and] with all of us players [it] is always high."
For the Broncos to find that win, they'll need to make the critical plays in the critical moments. Wilson has spoken before about the importance of game-altering plays, and he echoed that sentiment ahead of Week 2.
"We want to be great," Wilson said. "We have the talent to do it, and we've got to make the little things matter. We've got to make those little moments — I always call them G.A.P. plays. … There's some plays in there every once in a while that doesn't go against us, that does go against us — whatever it may be. It may be a catch, it may be a block. It may be a throw. Whatever it is, it's finding those throughout the game. It's usually two to three in a game — offensive and defensively and special teams — that change the game. Let's find those, and let's go win those moments."
Should the Broncos win those moments, they may be on track to earn a win against the Commanders, who earned a Week 1 win over the Cardinals. And with a pair of road games approaching, it may be critical for Denver to even its record on Sunday.
"Every game in the NFL is a big one," running back Javonte Williams said. "… It's our second home game and we have a tough stretch on the road, so we need this one."
Guard Quinn Meinerz was succinct when asked about avoiding a pair of home losses to start the 2023 campaign.
"You don't want that to happen ever," Meinerz said. "Losing [stinks], and it's time to get a win."
As Broncos cornerback Damarri Mathis looks ahead to Week 2, he said his opening performance is motivation to improve his play and turn in a level of play that's more in line with what he demonstrated last season.
"I know last week wasn't my standard," Mathis said, "and I hold myself to a higher standard than that."
Mathis added that he "can change a lot of things" from Week 1, including his leverage, poise and eye placement.