With a crushing 34-13 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, the Denver Broncos were mathematically eliminated from the NFL playoff picture. The chances of qualification prior to the game were slim but the Broncos were hoping, if all of the dominoes fell perfectly and they were able to win out, they could still sniff the postseason. The Chargers played spoiler though, as they were able to keep their own chances afloat in the ever-churning playoff pool.

Quarterback Drew Lock acknowledged as much in the postgame press conference when he was asked if falling short of the postseason makes this season a failure. He responded saying, “In the NFL, all that matters is the playoffs. Yeah, it’s disappointing. You can do really good things throughout the year, sure, but your main goal is to make it to the playoffs, so, technically, we didn’t do what we wanted to do this year.”

He followed that statement by giving a brief summary of the team’s feelings after the loss the that brought some finality to the season. When asked about the difficulty of developing team chemistry whilst losing games, Lock responded, “It does it make it harder because of the chemistry we have in there. We’re all extremely close, we all fight for each other, we all wanted a super-successful season for us. When that exactly didn’t happen. It hurts.”

He continued, explaining “There are a lot of guys that I hold close to my heart and wanted good things to happen for them this year. When it doesn’t, especially as a quarterback, it hurts, for sure.”

Vic Fangio spoke to the media as well and appeared as though he would have rather been anywhere else but there. His responses were short and terse, but he too acknowledged the heartache he and the team were experiencing. ““It is very disappointing. We had three difficult losses prior to this one, all tight games against good teams. It is disappointing.”

Whether you are a believer in the current regime or not, the sentiment is the same across Broncos Country. The lack of success has left the vast majority scrawling the schematics of Denver’s on cocktail napkins on their lunch break. Its hopeful, but the final destination is a huge question mark.

The team will be going through a major facelift this offseason with innumerable players poised to enter free agency and a coaching staff’s whose future is far from stable. George Paton will have some massive decisions to make including scouting the 2022 draft class, cap structure and the direction at the quarterback position amongst others.

Ideally all of these moves will lead to something greater, but for today the Broncos are forced to sit in mediocrity and the sting will persist far past the end of the season.