Coach John Worsfold has called on Essendon to regroup immediately, despite their AFL finals hopes looking shot.
Sunday's 16-point loss to Collingwood leaves the Bombers two games plus percentage outside the top eight, with seven rounds left.
Essendon gave themselves a sniff of the top eight by winning five out of six matches before the Collingwood clash.
But they were unable to kill off the Magpies through the middle of the clash and Worsfold said injuries took their toll.
Orazio Fantasia (groin) was a big pre-game loss, plus Patrick Ambrose (hamstring), Jake Stringer (calves) and David Myers (calf) were all hurt.
"We just could not manage to stay with them and that was the game, really," Worsfold said.
But he said the season has been far from a waste as Essendon continue to rally from the disastrous aftermath of their 2012 supplements regime.
"It's going to be a massive season, for setting us up to become a great team," he said.
"That would never be a waste."
He said it is too early to say if the season deserves a tick, but is pleased with the last couple of months.
"Over the last six or seven weeks, it's been a big tick," Worsfold said.
Worsfold added the Bombers must make sure that they do not drop their heads after Sunday's loss.
"It shouldn't be dispiriting at all - you band together, knuckle down and keep working," he said.
"That's what great teams do. Mistakes happen.
"(Geelong's) Harry Taylor missed a shot at goal. Did everyone just bag him or back him in to bounce back?
"We stick together and work through any errors that are made."
Veteran Brendon Goddard gave away a crucial 50m penalty in the last term that set Steele Sidebottom up for a goal that gave Collingwood the lead.
"I'm not really sure about that. I don't know what the 50 was for," Worsfold said.
"No 50m penalty comes at a good time."