It was almost expected the Denver Broncos would collapse without Peyton Manning. His retirement plus Brock Osweiler’s departure to the Houston Texans had potential to ruin the defending champions reputation.
But it seems the Broncos might just keep on trucking after all, as former third string quarterback Trevor Siemian lead them to a season debut win on Thursday September 8th. In a Super Bowl 50 rematch the, Broncos managed a 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
Siemian has been with the Broncos since last season, where he didn’t procure any playing time. In fact, he entered Thursday’s matchup as the starter who’d never thrown a professional touchdown. But that didn’t deter Siemian, who had a rather impressive night for his first time in the starting role. He went for 178 yards in 18 completions for a touchdown and two interceptions. He also demonstrated his athleticism via 20 rushing yards in five attempts.
“Oh, man. I had my eyes wide open all night. I was definitely impressed,” said Aqib Talib of Siemian. “For that to be his first game, against that defense, on that atmosphere — the only game on TV tonight. Oh, man. I don’t think you could look any better than that.”
Siemian held up well against the Panthers’ defense – one which ranked 6th in the league for 2015. However, Siemian’s age and inexperience clearly showed when he was under pressure. For the most part, he maintained composure. But he totaled three turnovers, two of which were interceptions.
“Just go out and play,” Broncos’ general manager John Elway said to Siemian pregame. “Don’t worry about making mistakes. Don’t worry about turnovers. You’re going to make mistakes. But just bounce back.”
And we can all agree that Siemian did bounce back.
The Panthers looked threatening to take the game when they led 17-7 at the half. But Siemian used his weapons well, switching easily between his look and hand-off options. Running back C.J. Anderson managed two touchdowns in contribution to the win.
“It’s a long game,” said Siemian postgame. “Obviously you want to go out there and score points and protect the ball but you find a way to win however it comes. But it was really fun, really cool to be apart of.”