ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When the dust settled after the Broncos’ 20-13 win over the Chargers, the Broncos’ locker room was not exactly jubilant.
Yes, they had broken their four-game skid and did so on the road against a division rival that was a playoff team a year ago, but after a brief celebration as President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway gave the game ball to Head Coach Vic Fangio for his first win, it felt like the team had already begun to turn the page to the next game.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got a very deep hole, right?” wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said Monday. “We’re not out of the hole. I don’t know if it’s excitement or the focus is, say, [that] there’s no time to get excited. It’s no time to pat ourselves on the back. We’re still looking up saying, ‘Man, we’ve got a long ways to go to get ourselves out of this hole.’
“At least that’s how I feel. So I’m overly focused and trying to get another win, back-to-back wins. That’s where my mind is. I don’t have time to be excited over one win when we’re sitting here at 1-4. I’m worried about that next one, trying to get us to two and trying to get us to three.”
As Sanders and the rest of the team prepare for the Titans, there’s little value to be found in basking in just one win. All it carries is a little validation of knowing their approach can work, and that only lasts so long before the team must put it behind them to get ready for the next challenge.
“We definitely know we were close, but we had to go out there and take the games and win it,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. “So now we’ve just got to keep the same approach that we had last week, same focus, same preparation and get ready for a great team. This Titans team, they’re capable of beating anybody, and we’ve got to be ready to play.”
The Broncos may have done enough good things to get a win last week, but there was also plenty of miscues that players know they have to correct to stack another win.
For the offense, that means being able to avoid turnovers and empty drives when looking to put games out of reach, which they weren’t quite able to do until the final two minutes of the game after building a 17-0 halftime lead.
“I think a lot of those we kind of kicked ourselves in the butt,” Sanders said. “When you open up the third quarter, we drive the ball down. The first play we have a 15-yard run. Then we stall at the 40-, 45[-yard line], so we can’t allow that to happen and it’s been happening the past two games in terms of the second half. We’re trying to figure out a way. Whether it’s aggressive play calling or better execution, we have to be better in the second half.”
Defensively, the Broncos need to also continue to play with the same energy that they brought in Los Angeles, even as injuries pile up and as Fangio and his staff make slight adjustments to personnel.
“I think for us just as a unit, it’s always about us going out and executing, regardless of who’s in there,” safety Kareem Jackson said. “[There were] a couple new guys in there, but at the same time, we all hold each other to the same expectations. This is all about preparing throughout the week. I think we had a good week of practice last week in order for us to go out and be successful on Sunday. And like I said, it’s all about executing and being on the same page. I think if we have all 11 guys on the same page, we’ll have a great chance of being successful.”
If the Broncos can play like that in all three phases, they could reverse their fortune this season. But until that materializes, they’ll likely keep their postgame celebrations subdued.
“Right now, we’re on a one-game win streak and there’s a lot of positive energy and a lot of positive things being said around this building,” Sanders said. “Hopefully we can keep building off of that.”