John Elway has been down this lonely road before.
The quarterback-turned-front office executive has now been a part of two playoff runs that ended not in the confetti-filled celebration expected of the AFC's No. 1 seed but with a painful introspection about what all went wrong in a stunningly early exit from the postseason party.
Elway experienced it as a player in 1996, when the Denver Broncos were upset at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars, 30-27, then bounced back to win the next two Super Bowls.
''I know it didn't take long,'' to get over that loss, Elway said Monday, ''because I knew we felt like we had a good football team coming back - as we do now.''
Elway once again finds himself picking up the pieces, along with coach John Fox, after one of the most disheartening losses in the franchise's history, their 38-35 defeat in double-overtime to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night.
Elway pledged to dissect the defeat to extract every possible lesson, after which he'll have ...