CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Enough. After three playoff games and two regular-season wins over nine months, the offense put its foot down and its hands in the air.
Tired of playing the Heartbreakers to Tom Petty, the Monsters to Big Head Todd, Richard Dreyfuss to Jaws, the Broncos forgotten unit produced a memorable performance. Trevor Siemian threw for 312 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, the best first road start ever. It came two days after receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas requested more, um, involvement.
For Sanders, his message was simple: throwing to him makes them better. He proved right, and took no umbrage with the diva term. In fact, he took pride in it.
"I don't mind being a diva. I am a diva. I like winning ball games. I like catching passes," said Sanders, who has 17 catches for 205 yards and two touchdowns and admittedly grew up idolizing showman Deon Sanders. "Every wide receiver likes to put up points. After that game where played and looking at the offense we had to step it up.”
The Broncos players found it embarrassing cornerback Aqib Talib and linebacker Shane Ray outscored them in the win over the Indianapolis Colts. Sanders put the Broncos in position to win last Sunday, and Demaryius Thomas put the Bengals away with a 55-yard score. Sanders called Thomas a "country diva."
"I drive a Ford Raptor," Thomas said smiling. "Ain't nothing wrong with that."
Thomas and Sanders provided a compelling argument for why they should be the league's top duo. They complement each other well. Sanders can run slot routes, beat teams deep and absorb big hits. Thomas can box out defenders, turn bubble screens into big plays and go long. It's a testament to the receivers and coaching staff that they trust Siemian. He is "courageous" with the football, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said.
And he's open to advice. From receivers. And divas.
"Those guys have been great leaders for us," Siemian said.
Virgil Green racing clock
Virgil Green continues to race the calendar in attempt to play Sunday. He ran Thursday, testing out his strained left hamstring. He told Denver7 he has improved, but he's not sure it's enough for the training staff to clear him to go against Tampa Bay. It doesn't look promising at this point.
"I want to be out there. But I understand they don't want me to do something to make it a lot worse, either," said Green, who was replaced by John Phillips in the starting lineup.
Right tackle Donald Stephenson (left calf) is not expected to play this week. Ty Sambrailo will receive his second straight start as he looks to rebound.
Safety Shiloh Keo returned to practice after dealing with swelling his knee on Wednesday.
Parks and Check
As first reported by Denver7, Broncos rookie safety Will Parks was fined $24,309 for a hit on a defenseless receiver against the Bengals. He will appeal the fine. He said it came on a play where he jumped over a receiver. He is hopeful the fine will be reduced dramatically. The Broncos have eclipsed $100,000 in on-field infractions this season.
The Broncos' defense ranks 27th in rush defense. "It's disappointing," linebacker Brandon Marshall said. It's also a bit deceiving. The bulk of the yards have come from quarterback runs and running back Jeremy Hill's 50-yard burst. But no excuses, the defenders said. Containing Jameis Winston in the pocket takes on added importance this week. He isn't the ground threat of the previous quarterbacks, but will head upfield on occasion.
Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on being labeled a players coach: "That's because I don't scream and holler. I am not sure what a players coach is. Hopefully they say you are a good coach. ... Some people still coach by fear. I just don't see a grown man being fearful of a coach."
Want Broncos news? Denver7 Broncos insider Troy E. Renck is your source. He talks to the players, covers the games and reports scoops on Denver7 and the Denver7 app. He is a CU grad who has covered pro sports in Colorado since 1996, including 14 years at The Denver Post. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and TheDenverChannel.com’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at Troy.Renck@kmgh.com.