CINCINNATI --The Bengals defense seemed to dare Trevor Siemian to make plays with his arm on Sunday.
And in a 29-17 win in Cincinnati, Siemian showed he was more than capable of doing just that.
After his stellar performance that made him the first player in NFL history to throw for 300 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a road debut, Siemian maintained that all the Broncos were looking to do was find balance on the offensive end.
"I think you've got to be balanced in this league," Siemian said. "You've got to be able to do both. When we're not running the ball as much, we've got to be able to throw it. It's good to know we can win games a couple of different ways."
That strong performance was punctuated by long touchdown passes of 41 and 55 yards to Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, respectively. Both receivers went over 100 yards on the day, and they provided outlets against a dangerous Bengals defense all afternoon.
"I'm leaning on those guys a lot," Siemian said. "Not just throwing them the football but leadership. They've been great and they're two of our leaders up front, so [I'm] really glad to have those guys on our side."
On the Thomas touchdown catch, Siemian said the Broncos noticed a substitution by the Bengals defense, but they're going to turn to their receivers no matter who lines up across from them.
"I think we have a lot of confidence with our guys against anybody, whoever it is," Siemian said. "D.T. ran a great route. Tried to get him the ball earlier on and had some bad balls but he ran a great route and made a heck of a play and hopefully he can continue to do that for us."
Siemian's day wasn't all smooth sailing, though. On the Broncos' first drive of the game, they went three-and-out, and they struggled to string together possessions in the early going. Siemian credited his offensive line for finding ways to contain Cincinnati's edge rushers, which allowed the Broncos to later develop a more-consistent attack. Moving forward, Siemian said he's hopeful that the offense can find that success early on and not waste drives at the beginning of a game.
"You want to find that rhythm as soon as you can," Siemian said. "Hopefully we can do that earlier next week."
Part of that difficulty stemmed from the raucous environment of Paul Brown Stadium. The crowd forced the Broncos to burn at least one timeout, and Siemian admitted afterward that it was a difficult situation in which to play. In the end, however, Siemian and the Broncos found a way to pull out the victory on the road.
"It was loud," Siemian said. "It's a tough place to play against a tough team. The team's tougher than the environment and I think we anticipated that going in. Hats off to our guys handling the noise and it was a good, good team win for us."
One sequence in particular showed both Siemian's ability and the coaching staff's faith in the young quarterback. With a 22-17 lead, Denver took over possession with 6:02 left in the fourth quarter after the defense held Cincinnati to a three-and-out. On the first play of the drive from the Broncos 17-yard line, he unleashed a deep throw to tight end Jeff Heuerman on a crossing route. That play set up the long Thomas touchdown and sealed the game for the Broncos.
"Jeff did a good job getting open," Siemian said. "[He] climbed over the backers and [I] gave it to him. I think that was his first catch, am I right? So that was a big one for him. Happy for him.
"Loved [the aggressive call]. I think we were aggressive all game long and that's how you have to be against teams like this. Keep them off balance."
But even after a 312-yard performance that Siemian paired with four touchdowns and a 132.1 quarterback rating, he said he still felt like there were areas in which he could improve. One second-quarter drive showed that a bit when he had two passes hit defenders in the chest. They both somehow found their way to the ground as incompletions, but they were moments that he said he needed to clean up moving forward.
"I think I'm still learning a lot," Siemian said. "I think there were a couple plays I'd like to do over again. You're always gonna have that, but as a group I think we did a lot of good things. Again, we'll go back and hopefully clean up on some of those things and get ready for next week."