After two weeks of less than stellar play offensively, the Denver Broncos finally had their coming out party and destroyed the Cincinnati Bengals with an aerial assault led by Trevor Siemian and secured their third win of the season with a 29-17 victory on the road.
It wasn't the prettiest performance by the Broncos defense, who struggled to lock down the rushing attack of Cincinnati in the first half of today's game. The Bengals entered today’s contest as one of the league’s worst rushing teams, but bucked that trend with an impressive performance against the Broncos' defense that has endured struggles stopping the run effectively early on in the season.
In the first half alone, they accumulated 104 yards on the ground — which was one more yard than the amount they accumulated in their first two games of the season. Jeremy Hill was the primary producer in their rushing attack, with 11 carries for 85 yards and two touchdowns in the game's opening half.
Bengals with 104 rush yards & 6.1 yards/carry. Cincinnati has won 8 straight games & is 13-2-1 since 2014 with 100+ rushing yards & 4+ YPC.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) September 25, 2016
In order to combat the lack of discipline and poor play by the teams' defense in the first half, the Broncos had to get the ball moving on offense. Despite starting out slow, the offense unit in lieu of injuries on the offensive line, were able to rise to the occasion and string together three scoring drives.
Trevor Siemian's performance in the first half had its share of ups and downs. His accuracy at times was putrid, but he came up big early the second quarter with a 41 yard touchdown strike to Emmanuel Sanders that gave the Broncos a 10-7 lead.
The lead didn't last for long, as the Bengals were able to strike back and put together an impressive 8 play, 62 yard drive that was prolonged due to defensive miscues and penalties and was capped off with a 4 yard touchdown run by Hill.
With just a few minutes remaining in the first half, it was up to the Broncos' offense to put together a drive to give them some momentum heading into halftime. Cody Latimer was able to spark the start of the drive with a 46 yard kick return and Siemian led the Broncos' the rest of the way down the field and connected with Sanders' once again on a 7 yard touchdown strike to give the Broncos a 16-14 lead.
With adjustments made at halftime, the Broncos offense received the ball to start the second half and hoped to keep the forward trajectory going. Unfortunately, the opening drive stalled immediately due to a fumble by Demaryius Thomas. Ball control certainly wasn't in the Broncos' favor in the third quarter. They only had one other possession in the third quarter, which resulted in a three and out — and only had four offensive plays in that timeframe.
The Bengals had the football for a majority of the third quarter and at its end, were within striking distance of taking the lead in the game. The Broncos' defense held strong on third down, and the Bengals settled for three points with Mike Nugent connecting on a 34 yard field goal to give the Bengals a 17-16 lead.
Could Siemian lead the offense on a long scoring drive in order to change the tide of the game in the Broncos' favor?
That question was answered with a resounding yes as Siemian, with surgical precision, picked apart the Bengals' defense. He went 7 for 7 on a 13 play, 82 yard drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Phillips to give the Broncos a 22-17 lead. The two-point conversion attempt failed and the Bengals received the ball with just a hair under seven minutes left to go in the game.
The Bengals bungled their chances at a comeback with various mistakes as the game rolled on, including a Dalton interception that was snagged by Broncos rookie safety Will Parks and the Siemian led Broncos were able to put the final dagger in the Bengals when Siemian connected with Thomas on 55 yard touchdown bomb.
A HUGE deep ball to Demaryius Thomas for a 55-yard touchdown. Trevor Siemian has four touchdowns today https://t.co/6kd3vlMrXx— SI NFL (@si_nfl) September 25, 2016
It was an impressive performance for Siemian, who exceeded many expectations for a young player starting just his third NFL game and his first on the road. He finished the day going 23/35 for 312 yards and four touchdowns. I couldn't be more happier with his progression and his play today is one of the primary reasons why the Denver Broncos are now 3-0.
If Siemian continues to progress week in and week out, the Broncos offense could emerge as one of the most dynamic in the NFL and make them a dual-threat team on both sides of the ball and once again, assert themselves as a team worthy of competing for another Lombardi Trophy.
Hart's Quick Hits
- With DeMarcus Ware out due to injury, Shane Ray was the next man up at the position and didn't disappoint. The second-year player out of Missouri had three big sacks against the Bengals.
- You can call off the Amber Alert for Jeff Heuerman. There was finally been a sighting of the second-year tight end out of Ohio State. He reeled in a 29 yard pass from Siemian late in the fourth quarter to notch the first reception of his career.
- Perhaps the outspoken nature and frustration shown by wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders lit a fire underneath the coaching staff. The Broncos opened up their offensive playbook today and took a lot of shots down the field. Thomas and 6 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown, with Sanders snagging 9 catches for 117 yards and two scores.
- Trevor Siemian had a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating in the fourth quarter. Overall, it was a gutsy and impressive performance for him on the road and certainly turned around his play in the second half with much better poise, precision and accuracy on his throws.
- The Broncos struggled to run the ball against the Bengals, who had one of the worst rushing defenses in the entire NFL. They only registered 52 yards on 23 carries. That's a troublesome 2.26 yard per carry average.
- In order to get better running the football, the Broncos will need better play up front. With starting right tackle Donald Stephenson out, Ty Sambrailo took his place and didn't have a great performance today. The offensive line woes continued when Russell Okung left the game early in the first half due to a back injury, which forced Michael Schofield to take his spot at left tackle.