DENVER -- Happy now, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders?
The two Broncos’ wide receivers should be delirious.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian, doing his best impression of two Broncos quarterbacks of folklore -- threw the ball to Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas 20 times on Sunday in Cincinnati.
They combined for 15 receptions, 217 yards and three touchdowns in the Broncos’ 29-17 victory over the Bengals.
Now, they can come to commend rather than criticize Kid QB.
Only a few days past, Thomas and Sanders were yapping liked junkyard dogs about the offense and the new quarterback not getting them the ball enough, and they hadn’t scored any touchdowns or had any 100-yard games, and they were frustrated about the lack of their highlights on ESPN. Gee whiz.
And their steaks were probably overcooked, and bugs probably had been splattered on the windshields of their expensive cars.
The Broncos being 2-0, and the two receivers making $21.3 million this year didn’t seem to matter much.
Well, all is right in the worlds of Sanders and Thomas.
Sanders finished with nine receptions for 117 yards, with a long of 41 yards, and two touchdowns, and Thomas caught six passes (although he fumbled away one) for exactly 100 yards and the Broncos’ final touchdown on a nifty 55-yard connection with Siemian.
Oh, and by the way, guys, the Broncos are 3-0 after winning two games they might have lost.
And the Carolina Panthers, the Indianapolis Colts and the Cincinnati Bengals –- the Broncos’ first three opponents – aren’t feeling so good through three weeks. The Broncos, meanwhile, lead the AFC West and have won seven in a row in the regular season and the postseason, dating back to a 20-17 triumph over these Bengals last December. Nobody else in the NFL has such a streak.
Siemian is undefeated as a starter.
Neither John Elway nor Peyton Manning won their first three starts with the Broncos.
Brock Osweiler did. (He hasn’t won his first three starts with Houston, though.)
For his first road start in the NFL, Siemian was not perfect, but very close. His QB rating was 132.1. He completed 23 of 35 passes for 312 yards.
Four touchdowns and no interceptions.
This was the 40th time in franchise history that a Broncos quarterback has thrown for four or more touchdown passes. The last time it happened was when Manning passed for four touchdowns against Miami on Nov. 13, 2014.
Sunday’s game didn’t start so well. The Broncos were behind 7-3 at the conclusion of the first quarter, but Siemian then hit Sanders on a 41-yard touchdown pass. Trevors’s first and second were to Sanders, and his last was to Thomas on a go-route for 55 yards (on third and 11) right after Thomas had been called for a five-yard penalty.
Oddly enough, his first touchdown catch of the year gave Thomas the 100 yards in a game that he had been seeking and hadn’t achieved since the last regular-season game of 2015. (He mostly was the Invisible Man in the postseason. Sanders’ 117 was his most since the loss at Pittsburgh last December.
Thomas was saying last week: “”You got . . . the best duo in the league, and we haven’t had 100 yards in a game yet.’’ He complained that the pair had only 17 receptions.
I said on Denver7 afterward that he should shut up and play. Other than a false start and a pass he fumbled to PacMan Jones, Thomas did, and so did his fellow wideout – Sanders, who had said he was frustrated that Thomas-Sanders had no touchdowns and only 17 catches.
Siemian, who is as calm as Thoreau’s Walden Pond on a summer day, said he understood the wide receivers’ concern. Obviously, Trevor he got the message. And coach Gary Kubiak said he was staying awake at night trying to figure out more ways to involve Thomas and Sanders in the offense.
Kubiak, Siemian, Thomas and Sanders could relax and sleep on Sunday night.
(Only problem was, the Broncos ended up with just 52 yards rushing against the Bengals. Another B-Team is ahead. Broncos vs. Bucs.)
Now, D.T. and E.S. have a total of 32 catches for 443 yards and three touchdowns.
And the Denver diva duet is on pace for 2,332 yards – which would mean 1,000-plus yard seasons again for each.
Don’t worry. Be happy.