Despite performing outstandingly once again, Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons found himself exasperated in Week 10.
After another torrid Broncos performance at Mile High, Simmons exhaled heavily into the microphone at his postgame press conference, evidently frustrated–perhaps even at a loss as to what transpired against the Philadelphia Eagles.
For almost the entire 60 minutes, Denver seemed on the back-foot–unable to deal with Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts, the running game and reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Devonta Smith.
The 3-6 Eagles, now 4-6 courtesy of Denver’s underwhelming Week 10 display, strode into Mile High and ran all over the orange and blue. In large part to Hurts’ dual-threat capabilities, Philadelphia rushed for 214 yards and converted 6 of 13 third downs. A stark contrast to Denver’s woeful 1-for-11, a conversion percentage of just 9%.
ALL the latest Broncos news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Broncos newsletter here!
Simmons on Losing Before Bye Week: ‘It Sucks, Man’
The All-Pro safety tried his best to explain why the Eagles were able to run roughshod over the Broncos’ defense.
“To be completely honest it was uncharacteristic,” Simmons told reporters during his November 14 postgame press conference. “First initial thoughts is, I just don’t think, obviously we didn’t execute the week prior. It’s hard to talk about it because it could be a multitude of things.”
Denver had the opportunity to win its third game in a row heading into the bye. Instead of excitement and hope during the break, disappointment and frustration are likely to rule, particularly if Simmons is believed.
“It sucks, man,” Simmons said. “We set ourselves up in prime position to hit this bye on a hot streak, go into the bye with a win and close out our season. But the reality is, just like last week, we’ll watch this film and–I’m speaking defensively–it’s going to be a hard, you know, you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror.
“We’ve gotta fix it. By no means is the season over, we still have a lot of ball left and the bye is coming at a good time, some guys are banged up, we know we’ll get them back healthy and there’s no excuses. We’ve got to close the season out the right way.”
Simmons may be on an island in his optimism, though positivity is part of his modus operandi. Even after Eagles’ cornerback Darius Slay scoop-and-score swung the pendulum into Philly’s favor, he hadn’t lost hope.
“It stinks the way that the chips fell, obviously they were able to make a play, they made a heck of a play in returning it,” Simmons admitted. “It kind of just flipped the whole momentum script. From a defensive standpoint you don’t think about–I feel like it’s a losing mentality to think about ‘Oh that’s it right there!’ I mean we still had some of the third quarter left, all of the fourth quarter, it’s still a two-score game and we gotta go get the ball.
“We gotta find a way to get our offense the ball back, doesn’t matter how it happens. I can’t control what happens on the offensive side of the ball, I can just control when I’m out there on the field, and that’s what you preach. I get frustrations but in my opinion that’s just a losing mentality to think like, ‘We lost the game at that point.’ It was a pivotal play, obviously, but from a defensive standpoint, [I’ve] already [given] up if I’m thinking that was it at that point of the game. We gotta find a way to fight through that adversity and get another [takeaway].”
Broncos Fall to Last Place in Tight AFC West Division
After Kansas City’s blowout road victory over the fellow AFC West rival Las Vegas Raiders, Denver finds themselves last in the division. If they had have been able to pull out a victory versus Philadelphia they would be equal first, so fine are the margins between the Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders and Broncos.
Vic Fangio’s players will have plenty of time to digest the consequences of their loss. Simmons though will be looking inward, hellbent on doing what he can to lift his team from the doldrums.
“Now it’s time to self-reflect. ‘Alright, what are some things that you didn’t do so well in the first half of the season? What are some things you did well?’ Look yourself in the mirror and hold yourself accountable to how you can find a way to help the team win. I know for me, that’s what I’m going to do,” Simmons said on November 14.
“When we come back and we get into this thing on the seven-game stretch, everybody needs to be all-in. No if’s, and’s or but’s, or exceptions–any of that– we need to be all-in to get to where we want to get to.”
Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic