In what already appears to be cold winter, Vance Joseph’s seat is pretty toasty.

The coach is on the hot seat. That’s not exactly breaking news. But every week – every loss, rather – it’s a new story. Yesterday the Broncos went toe-to-toe with what many to believe to be the best team in the NFL, the Los Angeles Rams, and came up just short, losing 23-20. The Broncos, who certainly didn’t embarrass themselves against the Rams (as most believed they would), just keep finding new and more creative ways to beat themselves.

After the game, Joseph reminded us of an old adage – at least one that good teams like to say: “There are no moral victories,” the coach told the press.

But there are demoralizing defeats.

“It stinks to lose,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told Denver Post columnist Mark Kizsla. “And I’m not a loser.”

“They should be pissed,” quarterback Case Keenum said of the Denver home crowd. “I’m pissed. We have to do better. We can keep saying that, but we have to do it.”

Can they really though?

That might have been the Broncos have to offer.

Look, on the positive side – and despite Joseph’s reminder that there are no moral victories – the Broncos have slugged it out with two of the NFL’s very best in the Chiefs and Rams. For very criticism of Joseph, and there are plenty, it’s only fair to say that he’s had his team ready for those two games. Realistically, they could have (should have?) won either or both. Against the Chiefs it was essentially two questionable series that cost the Broncos; on offense they abandoned the run in the fourth quarter, and on defense they got soft at the exact wrong time. Against the Rams, it was a taunting penalty, and probably a few other key decisions, that handed the Broncos their fourth straight loss.

But in those two losses, the Broncos have ironically looked like they belonged. The reality in the NFL, however, is that the difference between the good teams and all the rest is a razor thin margin. And that’s where Joseph and his team fall short.

The problem is that the Broncos – across the board – are just shy of “good enough.” They’re not good enough to beat the best teams unless they play a perfect game. They’re not good enough to beat the also-rans by simply showing up. They’re not good enough to overcome dumb penalties or dumb play calling.

The Broncos rank 16th in the NFL for penalty yards per game, but they have a nasty habit of shooting themselves in the foot when they just can’t afford to. The Kansas City Chiefs rank as the second-most penalized team in the NFL. But you know what? The Chiefs are talented enough and well-coached enough to overcome it. The New England Patriots have allowed the fewest penalty yards of any team this season. Do the Pats have boatloads of talent? Aside from Tom Brady, not really. Would Bill Belichick stand for a taunting penalty that negated a touchdown? Doubt it; whoever did that would be on the next flight out of Boston. Emmanuel Sanders’ taunting penalty on the 1-yard line cost the Broncos four points, which would have been enough to beat the Rams – hypothetically of course, as the penalty occurred in the first quarter.

On the flip side, was that play any dumber than Joseph’s decision to go for it on 4th and 3 at the Rams 39 instead of kicking a field goal with 39 seconds remaining in the first half? Steering the world’s most vanilla offense, Keenum took a sack instead of picking up the first. On the sideline stood Brandon McManus, who hasn’t missed a field goal all season long. Sure, a 56-yard field goal attempt is no gimme, but ask yourself this: Would you bet on McManus nailing one of those or the Broncos O picking up three yards when it has to?

Had McManus been given the opportunity and succeeded, Denver goes into the locker room down a touchdown. Had someone offered Joseph that scenario on Saturday night, here’s betting he would have been happy to take it.

Still, pinning a loss on a taunting penalty in the first quarter or a poor decision in the first half can’t be the whole story. Were those things any worse than Case Keenum’s head-scratching interception, an ill-advised pass to a tight end named Brian Parker (who?) that was never open? It wasn’t exactly Montana chucking one up to Rice hoping he’d make a big play; Parker has caught all of one pass throughout his career that dates back to 2015 and includes 12 games played and four – four! – total targets. With all due respect to Parker, why was he even in the game?

Then again, are any of the aforementioned issues more glaring than allowing Todd Gurley to scamper all over Broncos Field – err, Stadium – at Mile High? Credit Joseph, who reportedly called the defensive plays in Sunday’s loss for slowing down the Rams high-flying passing game; it was the lowest output the Rams have had through the air all season long. But what he took away he gave right back – to Gurley, who had 208 rushing yards. It was the best game the Rams had on the ground this season – by a whopping 99 yards.

Here’s what it all really boils down to: The Broncos just aren’t good enough.

For a proud franchise, that’s a tough pill to swallow, but nothing could be more accurate. They don’t have a good coach, they’ve got a coach who’s just not good enough. They Broncos have a sometimes good quarterback, he’s just not consistently good enough. They’ve got good players all over the field, but they just don’t quite have enough – and the coaching staff can’t quite scheme well enough to cover up their deficiencies.

Yesterday, the Broncos were pretty good. Just not good enough.

Get used to it, Denver.