From “meh” to marvelous.
In need of the offense to step up, the Denver Broncos got that and than some from Trevor Siemian. That second half is the best the Broncos offense has looked in close to a year. The only game that comes close is the 29-10 win over the Green Bay Packers.
But how Denver looked in the 29-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, how Siemian looked - well, color me impressed. After the 34-20 win last week against the Indianapolis Colts, I said the offense needed to play better. The Broncos had to execute in the red zone. They had to get touchdowns. They had to help out that great defense. They needed more from Siemian.
Denver’s running game left a lot to be desired on Sunday, but credit the Bengals defense for that. You could tell Cincinnati would not allow the Broncos (3-0) to rush the football. If the Bengals (1-2) were going to lose, it was going to be because of Siemian.
You could understand why Cincinnati would take that approach on defense. The first two weeks of the season, the Broncos quarterback had yet to show he could beat teams. So force him to beat you.
Despite the two wins, you got a sense of the frustration on offense when both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders spoke up. They knew the Broncos had to do more on offense. They needed to test the field more and take advantage of those two huge weapons they possess.
Both Thomas and Sanders caught some flack this week for saying what they did, but Gary Kubiak was quick to quash that. After what we saw on Sunday, perhaps it wasn’t all that bad Thomas and Sanders spoke up like they did. It may have lit a fire under Kubiak and the offensive coaches to open the playbook and allow Siemian to test the field. The question still remained: Could he deliver?
Perhaps the fact DT & E speaking up wasn't all that bad for the #Broncos. Lit a fire under under the coaches?— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) September 25, 2016
Color me impressed.
Not just with the Broncos offense but with Siemian. How he played, especially in the second half, was damn impressive. Through training camp, the preseason and first two regular season games, I had yet to see anything like what he showed on Sunday.
I’m not a big stats guy, but there are times you have no choice. This is one of those. For the game, Siemian was 23-of-35 passing for 312 yards and four touchdowns. The key stat? No interceptions. Thomas did fumble, but that was a great play by Adam Jones. For the game, Denver finished +1 in turnovers. Get a similar statistic over the course of the season and this team will win lots of games.
Siemian is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300+ yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions in his first career road start. What makes that more impressive is Denver got next to nothing on the ground. The Broncos finished with 52 yards rushing, which makes you wonder how they got that much?
After that performance through the air, defenses will no longer be able to stack the box to stop the run as the Bengals did. That will open Denver’s offense even more and make it harder to defend.
Broncos' @TrevorSiemian, a 2015 7th rd pick, today had only the team's third-ever 300-yd, 4 TD, 0 INT road game (Manning, 2x, '13 MVP year).— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) September 25, 2016
But it’s not just the stats for Siemian. It was the game in which he did it and how he looked on the road. Keep in mind, the Bengals hadn’t lost a game at home in September since 2011. On top of that, Cincinnati was in its home opener on the heels of a tough divisional loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. I had my doubts, as you saw in my prediction before the game.
After what we saw, there are no longer those doubts ... at least for me. For a game in September, this was as big as it gets for the Broncos. With how good the New England Patriots have looked, the fact Denver keeps pace with the Patriots is huge. The big goal is home field advantage and this win over the Bengals is enormous for that. News flash: There’s another team that looks damn impressive in the AFC too.
And it all starts with Siemian. From “meh” to marvelous.
Color me impressed.