DENVER —** As the Broncos regained their offensive balance with a dominant rushing performance, Trevor Siemian didn't need to do much. He didn't need to throw for 300 yards, and he definitely didn't need to throw 50 times, as he had a week earlier against the Chargers.
What the Broncos needed was simply what Siemian gave them: mistake-free football with explosive plays to help open up Houston's defense, which ranks ninth in plays of 20-plus yards allowed and came into Monday's game ranked second in passing yards per play.
"[It was] a lot of what we saw," Siemian said of how the defense compared to what they saw on tape. "They do what they do and they're pretty good at it. They've got a good front and one of the things that we saw was no quarterbacks really holding on to the ball too long back there with those guys. So, they do a lot of things to create pressure and then they have the personnel to do it, too. They've got great players up front. So we knew it was kind of going to play out that way."
Siemian capitalized when he could and found Emmanuel Sanders on plays of 31 and 29 yards — the first time the Broncos had multiple plays of at least 25 yards in a game since Siemian's breakout game in Cincinnati. On Monday night, the second-year quarterback finished with 157 yards on 14-of-25 passing with one touchdown, no interceptions and no sacks.
With half as many passing attempts as he had against San Diego, Siemian felt more comfortable as the rushing game established itself against a talented defensive front now led by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus in the absence of J.J. Watt, who is on injured reserve with a back injury.
"I think, obviously last week—50 throws—it's going to be tough to get it done that way," Siemian said, "so [it was] good to have some balance back in the offense, and [we] did a lot of good things and hopefully we can build on some of those."
The Broncos bounced back after a two-game losing skid to defeat the Houston Texans, 27-9 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Photos by Eric Bakke, unless noted)
In the two previous weeks, the Broncos had been frustrated by Atlanta and San Diego's efforts to force shorter passing attempts by loading up in their respective defensive backfields to prevent deep shots. But with how C.J. Anderson and Devonatae Booker played, teams might change up their coverages to put an extra player in the box. In turn, that might open up options for Siemian.
"Yeah, you're probably going to get a lot of single-safety stuff," Siemian said. "But yeah, we've got to run the ball. That's a staple of this offense: run, play-pass, boot, the keeper. So, hopefully we can continue to build on some of the things we did tonight."