What. A. Game!
We’ve been asking for more offense. Well, today we got more offense. Without further ado, let’s get into the tape on each of these touchdown throws.
Touchdown #1 - 41 yards to Emmanuel Sanders
This first touchdown is probably the most impressive one to me, for a couple of reasons that we’ll get into.
If you were watching the game, here’s what you saw on the broadcast.
Here’s a look at the coaches All-22 film. This is a deep, 7-step drop with no play action, as it is 3rd and 5.
We are in 11 personnel, and will end up sending only three men out in a pattern, going max protect with the RB and TE staying in to block. This is almost a must for such a long developing play.
The Bengals are in man coverage and are going to be blitzing both linebackers and have a safety in the box as well at the bottom of the formation. They have only three men in man coverage, and one safety deep.
Sanders is going to run a double move on the outside with an out-and-up, and Thomas and Norwood are going to come across the field.
There are a couple keys to making this play work. First is protection. Second is the middle safety. It is 1-v-1 on the outside if Siemian can get Iloka to cheat towards the right, or freeze in place.
This is the first reason I really like this play and am very impressed with Siemian. He stares down the safety while Sanders’ route is developing, and only at the very last second does he slide to his left to launch it in Sanders’ direction. By then it’s too late.
The other key I mentioned was protection. Take a look below. This is right before the ball is released and Siemian has plenty of room and isn’t feeling any heat.
The Bengals’ defensive coordinator will likely be livid when looking at this tape because they are committing seven men to the line of scrimmage and no one gets home.
A few guys were in man coverage on the TE and RB and essentially were standing around with nothing to do. The ones that did blitz were slow to start their rush and pick their gap.
Notice too, the safety has just now stopped and re-started running in the right direction. That’s a lot of ground to cover.
This last image below is why I’m even more pleased with this play from Siemian. This is right before the throw. Look at DT circled in red.
This is 3rd and 5. Siemian could have had DT on a crossing route for an easy first down. Instead, he trusts his guy on the outside, and trusts the coverage he’s seeing that he’ll be open for the touchdown, and lets it fly.
These are the kind of plays I have been waiting to see from him. Your team needs a spark and the play is there to be made. Yes there is a “safer” throw, but you have the best WRs in the game. Give ‘em a shot. And he did.
Touchdown #2 - 7 yards to Emmanuel Sanders
This one was just a straight up big boy, NFL throw.
Nothing fancy outside. Just a combo route at the top of your screen with Sanders and Latimer. Sanders comes under with an out route, and Latimer comes over the top with a slant/dig.
Sometimes teams will try to get a natural pick or screen of the defender with these combos, but Denver doesn’t really even try that. It’s just our guy against your guy.
Again, Siemian had DT on a shallow cross if he wanted him. This is 1st and goal, so picking up a few yards is good play. At the time of the throw, DT is actually more open than Sanders.
But no, Siemian goes right for the throat. He’s heard all week about the team’s inability to score in the red zone. He rifles one in to a spot where his receiver isn’t even at yet, and where only he can get it, and trusts his guy to make a play.
Our guy, against your guy.
I wanted to add this angle to just to show what a great throw this was. Siemian struggled a little bit in the first half with his accuracy and ball placement, but this throw was about as impressive as I’ve seen him make.
Touchdown #3 - 1 yard to John Phillips
Here’s a neat design that I would like to see us come back to in the future.
We’re in a jumbo package with Weems in as a TE on the far right. DT is going to move in motion and the line moves with him which sucks all the linebackers in towards him.
This is almost like a fake shovel pass or jet sweep that I would like to see us try coming back to and actually getting the ball to DT.
It’s a great playcall in this situation because it’s an unscouted look and serves the purpose of distracting all the defenders towards the right, while the play happens behind them on the left.
Adam Jones (#24) is following DT across the formation and all of the other defenders key on him except two. One linebacker follows Janovich into the flat at the bottom of the play.
The other linebacker circled in yellow, Siemian is going to have to move in order to clear up space for Phillips to sit down in his hook route.
Siemian does exactly that by opening up his body and looking towards Janovich. This gets #57 moving out towards the flat and Phillips literally goes right in behind him.
By the time the ball is released, he is way too far to do anything, and Adam Jones realizes DT is a decoy too late. You don’t get much more wide open in the NFL.
Great playcall by the coaches, but also great execution by Trevor once again manipulating a defender with his eyes. This is big time quarterbacking being done right here. You have to be able to consistently do this if you want to last in this league.
We wanted more deep balls. Check.
We wanted more red zone scoring. Check.
Touchdown #4 - 55 yards to Demaryius Thomas
This one is about as easy as it gets and is great recognition by Coach Kubiak.
On the previous play, starting CB, Adam Jones, had to come off the field for a play as he was cramping up. Kubiak recognizes this and goes right at his replacement.
Bengals backup, Chris Lewis-Harris (not to be confused with THE Chris Harris Jr.) comes cold off the bench and is asked to cover the 6’3” 230 lb Thomas one-on-one.
Almost the exact same concept here as the big play to Sanders. Again, the Bengals are going to look at this film and kick themselves. At the time of the snap guys were still getting lined up and the defense looked confused.
Then, the lone deep safety immediately floats to the other side of the field to help their best corner double Sanders. So Lewis-Harris is left completely on an island.
Meanwhile, three Bengal defenders are huddling together, trying to use their Jedi mind powers to sack Siemian instead of rushing him, and the left side of the line has no one to block.
Once again, if you are going to drop only four and send seven guys, someone has to get there.
When the ball is released the coverage is actually pretty darn good. But Siemian throws to a spot and trusts his guy to win.
Now here’s my one critique on this play. Siemian has got to put that ball a little further out. He should be throwing to the red mark above, while the yellow mark is where DT catches it.
Now I get that you don’t want to overshoot your target and want to at least give him a chance at the ball. But this is underthrown, and against a better cornerback, this might not be a catch.
This one was such a layup. With the defense being all out of whack, they served it up on a silver platter. You gotta hit that in stride.
I wanted to finish with this angle because it shows what a nice job DT did boxing out for this ball. He has taken a lot of heat from fans for not using his size enough to his advantage.
He had also been talking before this game about wanting more opportunities. Well, he put his money where his mouth was and went up and made the play in a big moment. Nicely done, DT.
There you go Broncos Country. All four of Sunday’s touchdown passes in all of their glory.
I really came away impressed by Siemian’s ability to move defenders with his eyes, and trust his guys for the big play, and not always play it safe.
Here’s to more of this!