Kiszla: How bad are these sad Broncos? “Nobody respects us,” says Derek Wolfe after 41-16 loss to Pats.

Kiszla: How bad are these sad Broncos? “Nobody respects us,” says Derek Wolfe after 41-16 loss to Pats.

Forgive me. But it hurts so badly the only way to begin is with a curse.

Son of a Bum.

Remember when the Broncos had the greatest defense in NFL history? It seems like only yesterday when Von Miller and the gang of orange made Cam Newton quit in Super Bowl 50.

It was a great run for an all-time great defense.

But it’s over.

“It’s just sad. It’s real sad,” Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe said Sunday. “It’s sad that we went from a championship-caliber team to a team that stinks and nobody respects us.”

New England quarterback Tom Brady toyed with the Broncos, then destroyed what remained of their faint playoff hopes during a 41-16 victory that pinned a fifth consecutive defeat on Denver.

Beginning with a stunning loss to the previously winless New York Giants in mid-October, the Broncos have surrendered an average of 33 points per game during this losing streak, worst in the NFL during a period that has stripped away the last vestiges of defensive dominance.

“This is new,” said Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, trying to wipe off the stink of it all in the locker room. “It’s new. And it’s terrible.”

It couldn’t get worse after the Eagles dropped 51 on the defense a week ago, right? Well, it did. Denver had not given up more than 40 points in back-to-back games since December 2011.

“I think we stink,” said Wolfe, who punctuated his disgust with a word not fit for print in a family newspaper.

Asked if he’s demoralized, Wolfe replied: “Yeah.”

Denver forced the Patriots to punt only once through three quarters, and even that little victory resulted in Isaiah McKenzie muffing the kick.

Son of a Bum.

Remember when Broncos front-office honcho John Elway refused to pay Wade Phillips what he was worth, and the best defensive coordinator on earth was gone from Colorado within 12 months of our beloved son of Bum rapping to Drake and Future about needing real big rings for his real big team?

If the Broncos can’t lean on their defense, what does coach Vance Joseph have?

Not a chance.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” Wolfe said. “I’m at a loss.”

Have I mentioned lately that Joseph and his assistants appear to have absolutely no idea what they’re doing?

It’s always something with this coaching staff, which seems doomed to get fired. This week, Denver’s not-so-special teams fumbled a punt, allowed a kick return that went 103 yards for touchdown and had a punt blocked. All in the first half.

At one point in the second quarter, I glanced at the stadium scoreboard and swear it read: Brock Olivo 20, Broncos 6.

“After the special teams plays, it got a little demoralizing,” Denver cornerback Bradley Roby said.

The Broncos have gone from frustrated to angry to broken, maybe beyond repair. The very picture of sadness was young safety Will Parks, bent over in a chair at his locker stall for at least five painful minutes, so hurt he didn’t know where to turn.

This is a snapshot of a proud franchise unraveling. It’s likely to get worse before it gets better. And, right now, the only two teams in the league definitely worse than Denver are Cleveland and San Francisco. The best option now might be for the Broncos to tank, and get in position to select a quarterback with one of the top five picks in the opening round of the NFL draft.

“We’re used to winning. We’re a winning organization. And we’re losing right now. It’s tough. We’re not used to it. And nobody’s happy,” Denver cornerback Bradley Roby said.

Here’s one final insult to fans of Broncos Country, who definitely deserve better than the mess Elway has made of a roster that can’t block, cover a tight end or field a punt. Standing on the visitors’ sideline during the Patriots’ rout, palling around with Brady, was our old friend Josh McDaniels.

McDaniels certainly knows a bad Denver team when he sees one. He built one of the most embarrassing teams in franchise history. And this sorry 2017 version of the Broncos is as bad as any Denver team since McDaniels was run out of town.

“I’m tired of being embarrassed,” Wolfe said.

Son of a Bum.

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