DENVER – With Peyton Manning in the big house, with a chance to creep close to the Chiefs, with a winless team as the opponent, Trevor Siemian delivered a blundering performance that doomed his Broncos to defeat.
Sunday’s 23-10 loss to the Giants throws the Broncos season into chaos. Denver travels to Los Angeles next week to face the suddenly surging Chargers, followed by journeys to Kansas City and Philadelphia, where the hottest teams in the NFL dwell. The Broncos could soon be shackled with a losing record.
And the loss shakes Siemian’s status. Yes, he remains the clear leader of the Bronco offense, but another debacle against the Chargers will open the door to a quarterback controversy.
It’s tough to create a quarterback controversy with Brock Osweiler and, soon, Paxton Lynch as your backups, but Siemian is on the brink of this unlikely creation.
Let’s be clear: Siemian has shown promise. He’s courageous in the pocket. He’s accurate. He’s smart. He’s repeatedly trashed John Elway’s plans to unseat him as starter.
But Siemian was atrocious in a loss to the Bills. He threw a fourth-quarter interception that doomed his team. The throw in Buffalo ranks among the worst tossed by a Bronco quarterback in the 21st century, a century that includes Jake Plummer and Jay Cutler.
He was just as atrocious in the first half against the Giants.
With a minute left in the half, Siemian dropped back and scanned the secondary. The Broncos trailed 10-3.
Siemian locked his eyes on Bennie Fowler. Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins hung back, waiting for Siemian to throw.
Jenkins burst in front of Fowler and grabbed the pass. Siemian was the only Bronco with a chance to stop Jenkins. Unfortunately, Siemian said, tackling is not “my specialty.” Jenkins sprinted into the end zone, and Denver trailed, 17-3.
The Broncos never seriously threatened again.
Siemian is popular among his teammates. They admire a quarterback who quickly became a starter despite being a lightly-regarded seventh-round pick.
Fowler, without being asked, defended his quarterback.
“Trevor did pass for over 300 yards,” Fowler said. “That’s a positive right there.”
Ah, that’s a reach right there, Bennie.
He’s already thrown seven interceptions. He’s struggled to see the field, struggled to see defenders lurking, just waiting for him to make a blundering throw.
Siemian has enjoyed the blessing of being a newcomer. Defensive coordinators had limited video of him and limited understanding of how he works and thinks.
The video is now there.
Remember, Osweiler was the next big thing in the NFL following the 2015 season. He signed a $72 million contract. He seemed on his way to a happy career in Houston.
We all know how that turned out. Defensive coordinators found Osweiler’s weaknesses and pounced on them.
After the game, Siemian spoke in a voice drained of emotion. He said effort was not the problem.
“I thought the intensity was fine,” he said. “We hurt ourselves.”
Siemian did most of the hurting.