DENVER — It wasn't long ago that the Broncos were on top of the world. A 3-0 start with an offense that looked functional and a defense that seemed like one of the best in the league.

Since then?

Three straight losses at the hands of the Ravens, Steelers and now their divisional rival, the Raiders — a team that fired its head coach and offensive play caller only six days ago. The Raiders embarrassed the Broncos at home Sunday, 34-24, on the same day Denver honored its winningest head coach and newest Ring of Famer, Mike Shanahan, who was 21-7 all time versus the Raiders. 

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All in all, Sunday was a low point for the Broncos, from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's worst performance of the season to the defense continuing to allow big plays to coach Vic Fangio's poor decision making, with two missed challenges. The 3-0 start gave fans hope that the Broncos were finally return to its winning ways, but they once again left Empower Field envying the glory days of Shanahan, or at the very least, a competitive team. 

"We're not doing enough to win. It's nobody's fault. We've got to point the finger at ourselves," outside linebacker and team captain Von Miller said. "We've got focus on our job. We've got to trust each other. And I feel like if we can do that, we'll be able to win. ... This is pro ball. This not little league or high school. All the guys we've got here are top of the line — we've got to trust everybody to do their job and when you do that, we'll be alright.

"We won three games, everything went the right way. We lose three games, everybody's down. Can't pay attention to that. There are no choices. Choice is an illusion. We know exactly what we have to do to get it done." 

At least for on one positive note, they were finally able to snap a 24-game streak of not scoring a touchdown on its opening offensive possession, as wide receiver Tim Patrick scored a 23-yard touchdown pass. But after tying the game at seven, things went downhill from there. The Raiders had a 17-7 lead at halftime. By the start of the fourth quarter, that lead was extended to 31-10. The Broncos made the score respectable with two late touchdowns, but other than the first quarter, the Raiders were in complete control from start to finish. 

The list of problems for the Broncos Sunday was long, including losing linebacker Alexander Johnson (chest) and Garett Bolles (knee) to injury. The secondary — which is the highest paid secondary in the NFL — gave up 341 yards and two touchdowns through air, including seven completions of at least 25 yards by quarterback Derek Carr. Meanwhile, the offense had four turnovers, with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater throwing three interceptions and losing one fumble. He finished the day 35 of 49 for 334 yards and three touchdowns. 

Teddy Bridgewater takes blame in Broncos' 34-24 loss to Raiders

"We need to answer scores on both sides of the ball ourselves," coach Vic Fangio said. "If we score on offense, we need to get a stop on defense. If we get a stop on defense, we need to go and get a score. We need to play complimentary football that way and we weren't able to do that today." 

The Broncos have little time to turn things around, playing the Browns in Cleveland on Thursday. And the schedule won't get any easier after that, facing Washington, Dallas and Philadelphia in the following three weeks. 

"The fact is that we'll be kicking it off here in about 96 hours and we've got to be ready," Fangio said. "And we've got to put the game to bed, get over it emotionally and do anything and everything we can to perform good enough to win in Cleveland. ... I'm sure (the confidence level) has shaken a little bit. It's hard not to be. But we've got to rally back and the way you rally back is have a good week of preparation, albeit a short week, and then go out and play good." 

Broncos players said after the game, they look forward to the challenge of the quick turn around. As Miller said, "I want to get this taste out of our mouth as fast as possible. I want to play right now. This is a perfect situation to be in."

And while some outside their walls may have already given up on them, after the three straight losses, the Broncos feel as though everything they want to accomplish is still in front of them. 

"The mood of the locker room — it’s a group of men who are together still," Bridgewater said. "It's so easy in this league for guys to distance, huddle up in little cliques and point the finger at different people, but you don't see that here. You see a group of men who understand how this season can go. There's going to be ups, there's going to be downs. And we've just got to stay together through it all.

"And I think that’s the mindset of this team — it’s a group of men who truly believe in each other."

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