DENVER (AP/CBS4) – “I just can’t do that to my teammates,” Broncos running back C.J. Anderson said with tears in his eyes in the locker room on Sunday after the latest Broncos loss.

C.J. Anderson after Sunday’s loss (credit: CBS)

The Denver Broncos saved some of their best defense for after the game.

At issue: boss John Elway labeling them soft. It didn’t sit too well with a few of the players, though others welcomed the critique.

Yet the comments didn’t stoke the necessary fire, either, as the Broncos lost 20-17 to the Cincinnati Bengals, extending their losing streak to six games.

“None of us are soft,” said linebacker Brandon Marshall, whose team met Saturday night to discuss the remarks by their Hall of Fame QB turned general manager. “For him to call us soft, it just rubbed us the wrong way.

“You get shunned out of this league for being soft.”

UPDATE: Broncos Fire Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy

It’s been an awful stretch for the Broncos (3-7), who’ve dropped six in a row in the same season for the first time since 1990. What’s more, it’s the first time they’ve lost to the Bengals (4-6) at home since 1975.

“This isn’t the culture here,” said quarterback Brock Osweiler, who two seasons ago helped lead the Broncos to a win in Super Bowl 50. “The standard here is to win championships, get to the playoffs every year and contend for Super Bowls, and right now we’re not playing football like that. So, it’s very frustrating.”

Once again, turnovers became an all-too-familiar theme. The Broncos were knocking on the door in the first quarter when Osweiler tried to hit Cody Latimer in the end zone. Instead, Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick stepped in front of the pass and nearly took it the distance before knocking the ball out of his own hands and recovering it at the 1-yard line. The Bengals converted to take an early lead.

Running back C.J. Anderson #22 of the Denver Broncos fumbles the ball as he is hit by outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth quarter of a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Nov. 19, 2017 in Denver. (credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Anderson also had a costly fumble in the fourth quarter and was emotional about it after the game.

“It hurts me, it hurts (my teammates), it hurts the coaches, it puts us in bad situations,” he said, referring to the mistake.

In addition, kicker Brandon McManus converted a 61-yard field goal just before halftime that would’ve made it 13-10, but Bengals coach Marvin Lewis called timeout moments before the kick. The next attempt was blocked by KeiVarae Russell.

Just the way things have been going lately.

“We’re a good team. We’re not putting it together,” defensive end Derek Wolfe said. “People are going to get nippy with each other. Got to get in between that and be like, ‘Hey, look, we have to stick together. We’re all we got. Everybody is against us now. Everybody hates us. Nobody likes us.’ When you’re losing, nobody likes you. Nobody likes a loser. They want winners.”

As for Elway’s comments, Wolfe said it put the team on notice.

“If that’s how he feels, then we got to make sure he don’t feel that way,” Wolfe said. “If the boss says it’s not good enough, it means everybody’s not doing good enough. It means everybody is probably going to get fired. I’m just trying to make sure we stay together.”

Receiver Demaryius Thomas thinks Elway might be on to something, even if the truth hurts.

“He wouldn’t’ have said it if he wasn’t telling the truth,” Thomas said. “We’ve lost six in a row. I think there’s a little softness in there somewhere. He was talking about everybody, including me. I try to make my game better every week. We got to figure it out. I really don’t know what to say.”

On this afternoon, some of the biggest roars were for Terrell Davis and his fellow Hall of Famers when they were introduced. There were quite a few boos for the play on the field.

“No energy, no life, no juice in the stadium,” Marshall said. “I’ve been here since 2013, when Peyton (Manning) was here and threw seven touchdowns in the first game. Just from then on, I’ve always felt like the stadium gives you extra juice. … But today was the first time I was like, wow, this kind of reminds me of Jacksonville stadium.”

Marshall puts the blame on the team for not drumming up more excitement.

“We’ve got to give the crowd something to cheer for. We’re not giving them nothing to cheer for right now,” Marshall said. “We’re not putting a product out on the field that makes them want to get out of their seats.”

By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (55)
  1. Herb Rapoza says:

    The Orange Crush has become the Orange Mush.

  2. awwwhh jus shud up and kneel down…..

  3. Run Miles says:

    Maybe the commish will let you just play the Browns the rest of the season, won’t hurt to ask…of course the Browns are already begging him to put Bronco on their schedule!

  4. voodoodaddy1 says:

    Brandon just cannot stand it when a REAL tough guy like Elway, who has actually proved himself over and over calls him out for what Marshall is-a loser. Keep kneeling, crying, playing the victim and LOSING you un-American POS!

  5. I don’t know, I thought they did a pretty good job against the Pats. Of course, I’m a Pats fan.

  6. Bob Schnur says:

    Take a knee and get some rest

  7. I see this just a little differently. With large amount of NFL players being “offended” and the NFL owners being called at one point “slave owners”, what if the players are purposely not playing to their full potential? A teammate makes a comment or takes a stand on an issue(s) that goes against their protests or your team management takes a stance that the player finds offensive, do you play your best? Are you motivated, because your so offended, to be a team player?
    All one needs to see is the many empty seats in the stadiums. Sad.

    1. What if players weren’t motivated to protect their quarterback, or wanted to “send a message” to their owners and have the attitude that the nfl is going to get payback for their perceived offenses. It’s not hard to imagine any of that with the climate Goodell has allowed to fester.

  8. Jim Newton says:

    team lacks leadership at the coaching level , talent is there drive is not

  9. Verna Murray says:

    Elway is correct. These are entitled, rich, spoiled, disrespectful snowflakes. Football is sissified by libs.

  10. YOU are soft you crying little snowflake. Grow Up, Stand Up, and Be a Man. If you can.

  11. Jen Magnus says:

    There’s no crying in….. ohh wait.

    John Elway lost 3 Superbowls before he won 2. Did he cry? NO. These emasculated crybabies just made Elway’s point for him!

  12. “We are NOT Soft – sniff – We aren’t! – sniffle – I know what you are but what am I – wah.”

  13. John Winkler says:

    Baker Mayfield to the rescue…….

  14. John Cullen says:

    It’s a stupid GAME!!!

    1. Slight correction John: It’s a game, with STUPID players!

  15. Rick Smith says:

    The definition of Irony

  16. There not soft there just to busy protesting and they don’t have time to worry about winning games, the protesting is so much more important than the job that pays them millions. they know there priority’s for sure.

  17. Those creatures are overgrown handicapped gorillas with the IQ of an average fern.
    Plus they don’t like water.

  18. Don Rhudy says:

    I’ve been a long-suffering sometimes proud Bronco fan since 1962! I’ll stay a fan through this poor season. The Bronco staff made poor decisions during summer camp and kept too many players who cannot now deliver, and have a coach who isn’t up to snuff and will need a few years to mature. My bona fides are having given 02 to Bronco players on the sideline during home games.

  19. Maybe the O2 is making them snivelers, and its your fault, Don?

  20. Crying is not the best way to convince people you are not soft. This guy needs his safe space.

  21. Blubbering idiots and then there are those with word jumble names like Marshawn. That clown needs to be dropped over the border and then build the wall. Homey can run a taco stand.

  22. Craig Hobson says:

    They are soft, Most of athletes today are soft at least in the US anyway.

  23. jnsesq says:

    You should get on your knees and — oh, wait… Never mind.

  24. ahhhhh, poor little cry babies!!! MAN UP – seriously who cares anymore, I’m so over the NFL – take a knee dude, feel better. #BOYCOTTNFL

  25. jnsesq says:

    Who knew disloyal, violent felons could be so soft? It’s downright touching.

  26. Fr.DuffyFighting69th says:

    I stopped watching the Broncos after Elway retired – he played Quarterback like a Linebacker. He was NOT soft.

  27. Don McCoy says:

    Crybaby NFL players? They ARE soft. But, the NFL is MUCH more concerned with misguided and uninformed social justice stupidity than with football. So…what can you expect? Perhaps these millionaire victims of oppression can go “take a knee” in their safe space while American tunes in to some other…less anti-American form of entertainment.

  28. Ken Sandler says:

    Cried? Seriously? This is why I stopped watching the NFL way before this year and everyone kneeling. This is embarrassing. Yeah, these guys are soft. It’s not just losing or the GM yelling at you. It’s having your feeling hurt because the other team celebrates after a TD! This game has gotten soft!.

  29. Mike says:

    Maybe a little more worrying about the game, and a little less worrying about taking a knee is in order. Crybabies.

  30. Mike says:

    This is proof positive the NFL MUST put safe zones in the locker rooms, complete with coloring books and Play-dough.

  31. If there was a more appropriate response to being called soft than crying, I can’t imagine what it would be.

  32. Don’t get me wrong As a Broncos fan in NJ , I feel this is not a great year. But Elway knows better than most that sometimes the other teams are just better that day or year. I believe they play hard .. but sometimes it’s just not enough. I think he needs to get a team meeting and say he is sorry for that comment. As a former player he knows .. I mean Anderson feels bad that the GM and legend of the Broncos thinks he or they are soft. That is a tough pill to swallow. I know he wants them to play better , maybe not harder. I think all of them need to play better , including 88 , I mean he really went down hill .. But anyway I think Elway needs to say he is sorry and rally the troops , it might get any more wins this year but it will go a long way for next year and for everybody that will be on the team next year. Do the right thing Elway , and BTW I still think you were the best ever even though you didn’t have the best teams to win in the SB’s

    1. What is worse than a crybaby SOFT player who cares more about social justice than playing a damn game he is paid millions for….is a liberal snowflake fan who feels the General Manger needs to APOLOGIZE for speaking the truth about his team. waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa one thing we know about you… are either a super beta male or a weak girl. neither can take truth. all you liberal snowflakes want to be handled with white gloves. grow the eff up. Anderson is a weak soft overpaid pos

  33. Joe Jibert says:


  34. Broncos, please take a knee and pray.

  35. Mark David says:

    TAKE A KNEE!! That’ll show’em. LOL

  36. They weren’t crying–they were *kneeling* in the locker room, protesting the brutality against their defense … and offense … and special teams.

    It’s a good thing the news reports on how they’re doing, because I’m not watching.

  37. Tears of a clown, they are more concerned about perceived slights due to race than to play football

  38. Carl Mueller says:

    I’m a native New Yorker and WAS a long time Broncos fan, from the time I was stationed at Fort Carson in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s until just a few weeks ago.

    When 32 Broncos disrespected the flag I defended for 20 years, I haven’t watched a game since. I stuck with the Broncos through the lean years, and I would have done it again.

    Too bad they didn’t choose the object of their protest a little more carefully.

  39. jimkress35 says:

    Kneel less, play football.

  40. you confirm the Great elway’s observation!
    no crying in NFL!!!
    W T F are you a baby!

  41. trentdugas says:

    Time to hire Colin Kaeperkick.

  42. Don’t cry lil’ fella. You did win six Participation trophies in a row.

  43. Now even our football players are crying snowflakes. The wussificiation of America continues unabated. Thank God, Hil-liar-y didn’t win. I’m certain her plan was to wipe out all males. Men! Who needs them? Am I right?

  44. Dale Warren says:

    Maybe if they’d spend a little less time kneeling to demonstrate publicly their disrespect, disdain, and disapproval of the the people, the nation, the National Anthem, the military, and the law enforcement personnel and crying like babies and a little more time manning up and being patriotic U.S. Citizens and professional football players, things would start looking up for them. The decision pf the NFL (No Fans Left) players, owners, and Goodell to transform professional football into nothing more than an additional propaganda arm of the radical, alt-Left, anti-American, socialist, Progressive Democrat Party has decimated attendance, ratings, and revenue and turned professional athletes into a bunch of wimpy cry babies.

  45. I remember long ago when the NFL were men and gentlemen.

  46. And then they started crying? I guess Elway’s comment was right on the mark.

  47. Mike Herman says:

    I am NOT soft. Mommm! He called me soft! Waaaaa.

  48. Andy Howe says:

    There’s no crying in football. Oh, wait, that’s baseball. I guess go ahead and cry, you big tough snowflakes. Question: who cried the most: the kneelers or the standers?

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