DENVER –Add another win over another former No. 1 overall pick to Trevor Siemian's early list of career accomplishments.
A week after the Broncos picked up a 21-20 win over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, they knocked off Andrew Luck and the Colts with Siemian at the helm.
Siemian didn't find himself outshining Luck in a high-scoring shootout, but the Broncos quarterback helped manage the game, made timely throws and threw just one ill-advised pass. That was enough for the Broncos to stay competitive, and the defense did the rest. The unit, led by Von Miller's three sacks, scored two defensive touchdowns to make the difference.
"It's a special group we've got there [on defense], no doubt," Siemian said. "It's encouraging to move the ball so well but need to finish some of those drives and that's one of the things we'll clean up."
In the first half, Siemian and the offense moved the ball with ease as they racked up 215 yards through the air and 79 more on the ground. That success stemmed in large part from the Broncos' ability to move the ball on first down. Denver averaged 5.96 yards per first-down play, which helped to set up manageable second and third downs. Of their 23 first down plays in the first half, the Broncos ran just three plays that didn't result in a positive gain.
"Any time you go out you've got to be balanced, be able to run the ball and pass the ball," Siemian said, "and I think we were pretty good on first down. I forget what the stat was, but if you can avoid third-and-longs in this league, you have a chance. That was pretty big for us, first down."
Siemian ended up 17 for 25 in the opening frame but the Broncos found the end zone on just one of their six possessions. That left the Broncos with a 13-6 halftime lead over the Colts, and Siemian said afterward he thinks the offense has "a chance to be a heck of a group."
"I don't think you're ever going to be perfect," Siemian said. "You try to be perfect, but like I said it really was encouraging. We're doing some good things, but there's just a couple plays here and there you want to clean up. Hopefully we can do that and finish some of these drives."
One of the plays Siemian said he wanted to clean up was a second quarter interception to the Colts' Darius Butler. On first and 10 at the Colts 20-yard line, Siemian threw a short pass to the left side that Butler read all the way.
Siemian's throw went right to Butler, who took off the other way. Butler pulled his hamstring as Siemian gave chase, but it appeared the Colts' defensive back would've taken the pass to pay dirt if not for the untimely injury.
"Would not have caught him, probably," Siemian said "But yeah, it was a play where I've either got to eat it or hand it off or do something else. I'll work hard to clean that up, but that was definitely the one I'd like to do over."
With the exception of that throw, however, Siemian appeared to show growth from last week's performance against the Panthers. His 266 passing yards and 78.6 passer rating were both improvements from his Week 1 showing, and he got plenty of help from his top receiving targets.
Emmanuel Sanders finished with three receptions for 39 yards, including one on the second play of the drive when he took a big hit from Colts defensive back Antonio Cromartie.
"I thought I was late getting him the ball initially," Siemian said. "I saw it and I was like, 'Shoot.' You never feel good when you're throwing a guy into coverage like that, but you're not going to find many guys tougher than 'E' and I saw that last year. He did a good job for us again today."
On the other side of the formation, Demaryius Thomas gutted out a strong performance after suffering a hip injury last week against the Panthers. He finished with five receptions for 90 yards and a key catch on a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter.
"[It was] unbelievable, to be honest with you," Siemian said. "He's a tough, tough guy and he's a heck of a player. It was special to watch. Special to watch how he handled the injury and then made a bunch of big plays for us."
Between those performances from his wide receivers and better decision making, Siemian took a step forward on Sunday. As the Broncos look to move to 3-0 next weekend in Cincinnati, he'll need to continue to grow. But on this Sunday in Denver, Siemian showed once again that the stage isn't too big.