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Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts: Three Takeaways From The Film

The Broncos got the Colts monkey off their back, defeating Indy 34-20 on Sunday. Chad Jensen turns to the film room to reveal three takeaways from the game.

The Denver Broncos faced an immense task in their first two games on the 2016 schedule. Week 1, they had to defeat Cam Newton and company. Mission accomplished. 

They were tasked with contending with another elite quarterback in Week 2, this time game-planning for Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Add another notch to the old belt. The Broncos have made a habit of beating up on the elite quarterbacks of the league. In their last five games, dating back to their phenomenal postseason run, the Broncos have dispatched the likes of Ben RoethlisbergerTom Brady, Newton in the Super Bowl and again in Week 1, and last but not least, Luck. 

It is the true mark of the best defense in the NFL. It's also a product of excellent coaching. Gary Kubiak and his staff have done an amazing job at not only coaching up their players and teaching, but in strategizing and game-planning for opposing teams. 

All of these attributes the Broncos hang their hats on were on full display in Week 2. The Denver offense eclipsed 400 total yards and the defense held Luck and company to just 253 total yards, while taking the ball away twice, and scoring a touchdown both times. 

I'll turn to the film room to share my main takeaways from the big win. 

Devontae Booker Bounces Back

As a running back, you can't start your career any worse than Devontae Booker did in Week 1. On his first career carry, he fumbled the ball with his team in scoring position. It was an ignominious beginning. 

Kubiak showed some faith in the rookie, calling his number a few more times in the game, but it was clear that the kid was shaken. I had to wonder how (if?) Booker would bounce back in Week 2. 

The former University of Utah product rebounded in a big way vs. the Colts, carrying the ball nine times for 46 yards. He averaged a whopping 5.1 yards per carry. We saw the same Booker that the Broncos fell in the love with in the pre-draft process. He ran with burst, vision and decisiveness. He was the aggressor, as he is typically wont to do, laying the hits on guys, rather than waiting for contact. 

And he was sure to keep two hands on the ball when sifting through traffic. Let's take a look at one of his most impressive runs on the night. 

The Broncos are in 20 personnel (3 WR, 2 RB). Rookie fullback Andy Janovich begins the play split out wide left, but motions back inside the 'I' formation. At the snap, Janovich will lead block on the right guard's outside shoulder—the direction the stretch play was intended to go. 

But that's the beautiful thing about the zone blocking system. Stretching the defense laterally creates an environment where holes and creases open up on the backside of the play. 

The key is having a RB with the vision and decisiveness to cut it back and explode downhill. Booker does just that, sticking his foot in the ground and getting downhill in a hurry, while shucking a couple of would-be tacklers. 

This play was well-blocked. The crease that opened up for Booker was a veritable hole. Darrion Weems, who was asked to play starter snaps at RG after the injury to Donald Stephenson, led the way with a great block on the Colts defensive end. 

Booker's Week 2 performance allowed fans to exhale a little bit. He's going to be just fine in Kubiak's system. On the bright side, he received his "welcome to the NFL" moment very early on in his career and can learn from it and move on. 

Siemian Can Lead This Team

Look, far be it from me to throw my hat into the ring as the new president of the Trevor Siemian fan club, but the negative groundswell around this kid is asinine. I talked a lot about this subject in this week's episode of the Huddle Up Podcast (see below), so check that out for a more in-depth explanation. 

Truth: he's not Peyton Manning

Truth: he hasn't been terrible. 

Truth: the Broncos offense has moved the ball consistently through two games.

Truth: he needs to be more efficient in the redzone. 

Truth: for all intents and purposes, he's a rookie.

Truth: he's got to stop turning the ball over in enemy territory. 

As a first-time starter in only his second year, the big thing for me is this—is Siemian showing growth week to week? And does he have a command of Kubiak's offense?

On the first issue—growth—it's pretty evident Siemian improved on his Week 1 performance. Against Carolina, he passed for 178 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions, while completing 69.2 percent of his passes. 

In Week 2, he passed for 266 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, with a 66.6 completion percentage. In Week 1, he completed passes to five different receivers. Against Indy, he doubled that, hitting ten different guys. 

The Broncos punted three times vs. Carolina. Riley Dixon punted only twice in Week 2. There are a lot of ways we can measure Siemian's growth from week to week. But two games in, I'm very encouraged by Siemian's body of work. His team is 2-0. The Broncos offense is moving the ball up and down the field. The big wet blanket on the Siemian party, however, is his inefficiency in the redzone. 

Too many times the Broncos are settling for a field goal attempt, or turning the ball over, in scoring position. For young quarterbacks, there's a very fine line on this topic.

On one hand, you want the QB to have the confidence to throw the ball where it needs to go in the endzone and convert touchdowns. On the other, you want him to protect the football, not turn it over. 

Two games in, this is the razoer's edge upon which Siemian is trying to balance. People forget—he's only played in two NFL regular season games. Trusting your eyes, having confidence in your weapons and the courage to fit the ball into a tight window are all things that come with experience. 

The more Siemian plays and acclimates to the speed of the game, the more we'll see him improve in these areas. As a case in point, there was a play on Denver's second offensive drive of the game, sitting at 2nd-&-goal from the 5-yard line. where Siemian simply lacked the courage to hit a wide open Emmanuel Sanders in the left corner of the endzone. 

The Broncos get what they want on the play-action, sucking the defense in. Sanders drags cross the field from right to left. Siemian's watching him but the first window is too tight (still could have completed it), so he hangs on a little longer and Sanders comes wide open in the second window. 

After studying this play, I don't believe Siemian missed because of inaccuracy. He purposefully put the ball out of reach. As Phil Simms mentioned on the TV broadcast, a few weeks from now, that's likely a throw Siemian connects on 10 times out of 10. 

In the meantime, it's going to take some trial and error before he starts firing on all cylinders. Speed of the game. Film study. Practical application. Once it all comes together for Trevor Siemian, he's going to be a formidable weapon for the Denver Broncos. 

Derek Wolfe Is Gonna Have A Big Year

The Broncos chose to pay Derek Wolfe, their 2012 second round pick, rather than Malik Jackson, their fifth round pick the same year. I knew it then, just as a I do now—they made the right decision. 

Wolfe has fully turned the corner as a 5-tech defensive end under the tutelage of D-line coach Bill Kollar. Wolfe has always been a beast against the run. But over the last 17 games, he's developed into one of the league's better interior pass rushers. 

Wolfe's career high in sacks came as a rookie, when he notched six. He came close to that number in 2015 (5.5) and would have exceeded it, had he not been suspended for the first four games of the year. 

I wouldn't be surprised if Wolfe hits double digits in sacks this year and not only makes the Pro Bowl, but the All-Pro team as well. Of course, that's all contingent on staying healthy. 

Against Indy, Wolfe was a complete animal. He tallied four tackles, all solo, a tackle for a loss and 1.5 sacks. He was a man among boys. His last sack of the game, which was in garbage time albeit, was an impressive display of power, technique and motor. 

Wolfe uses a great punch, gets his arms locked inside the right guard's jersey and with great leverage bull-rushes the dude onto his backside. Wolfe got a little help from his friends in the secondary but wow, what a play. 

I could have chosen to revisit Von Miller's three-sack night but we all know the game-wrecker he is. Wolfe deserved a little love for his performance in both the run game and in rushing the passer. 

Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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