Broncos offense finishes game, provides optimism for future

The Broncos have scored 45 fourth quarter points

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- C.J. Anderson pulled the purple suit from his locker. He looked like the Joker from Batman.

"You gotta have fun, right?"

It is easier to smile after rushing for 37 yards when the Broncos remain one of the league's five unbeaten teams. Denver's game plan got turned on its head. The idea was to run the ball to protect Trevor Siemian, and free up shots down field later in the game. Instead, the Broncos torched the Bengals through the air. Siemian finished 9-for-10 for 159 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

How were the Broncos able to win when they couldn't run?

"Did you forget we have two of the best damn receivers in the league?"

Well, there is that. The Broncos won with a vertical attack. Emmanuel Sanders finished with nine catches for 117 yards on 13 targets. Rebounding from a sluggish start, Demaryius Thomas caught six passes for 100 yards. Sanders shared offensive player of the game honors with Siemian. 

"They have the potential to be a great offense.They have the potential to be one of the best offenses in this league, if not the best" T.J. Ward told Denver7. "It's another step in the journey. It's a long season left. And I think we are all going to continue to improve."

The Broncos finished 6-for-12 on third down and piled up 355 yards. Now about those first quarters? The Broncos rank fourth worst with six points. 

Other Anderson praised

C.J. Anderson did not have his best game. But Zaire Anderson did shine. He caused a fumble on a punt return by Adam Jones, dislodging the ball with his latest vicious hit. Anderson made the team in training camp with a series of breathtaking tackles. He earned special teams player of the week honors.

As for the defense, there were no real surprises. Shane Ray and Chris Harris shared the honor. Starting for the injured DeMarcus Ware, Ray collected three sacks. Pro Football Focus graded Harris as the Broncos top defender as he blanketed Brandon LaFell. 

"I am just trying to be consistent. It's great to get recognized," Harris said.

Ware watched the game like a coach, texting teammates tips.

"We came in this morning and he already had info on how we should attack Tampa Bay," Ware said. "He's all in."

Footnotes

  • Virgil Green remains ahead of Donald Stephenson in their recoveries from left calf injuries. Green expects to play this week. Stephenson told Denver7 that he is not sure he will be cleared for the Tampa Bay game.
  • Ward suffered a stinger and shoulder injury in the Bengals game, but returned. Russell Okung dealt with a back injury. He recovered and played the majority of the game. "It's just football, man," he said.
  • Brandon Marshall is donating $300 per tackle this season to help social programs. The amount sits at $5,700 through three games.
  • Cornerback Aqib Talib never minces words. I asked him directly if the odds makers were going to take the Broncos seriously after they won for a second time as underdogs. "Who cares! Who cares about Vegas," he said.

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