All throughout the course of the win against the New Orleans Saints, Siemian was bruised, bulldozed, and battered at every turn. But he wasn't beaten. Despite being sacked six times, knocked to the ground on six other occasions, and throwing a pair of interceptions, the second-year quarterback continued to pick himself up over and over again, until his teammates on special teams finally made the game's most decisive play.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1719434-get-si-subscription-with-... There were a number of ways in which Siemian, even with all of the pressure in his face, improved on the previous week's performance. Obviously, not everything went according to plan, but the aspects of his game he did change for the better were enough to get the Broncos a crucial win before their bye week.
It all started with a good drive right out of the gates. A week ago against the Oakland Raiders, the Denver offense did absolutely nothing in the first quarter, following up three-and-outs with even quicker, more efficient three-and-outs that pinned the defense's back against the wall and sunk the Broncos into a two-score deficit. Not this time. Aided by a more balanced selection of plays, Siemian led the offense on a 13-play, 85-yard drive that gave the Broncos a rare first-quarter advantage.
What may have been the turning point in this drive, as opposed to the other initial drives of games, was the ability to execute on third down. On an early third-and-seven, Siemian hung in and led A.J. Derby past the sticks for a first down. Overall, the Broncos hit on 11 of their 19 third down attempts, a 57 percent success rate.
In addition to the physical punishment Siemian was receiving on many of his dropbacks as a result of poor blocking and missed communication on 22 Saints blitzes, the young gun was no doubt enduring some spiritual pain after throwing two nearly-crippling picks. The first was especially jarring because it ended a promising two-minute drill from the Broncos and instead led to a last-second field goal from the Saints before half, their first points of the game. In all likelihood, Siemian staring down Emmanuel Sanders was a six-point swing.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1727981-denver-broncos-in-focus-w... And then, on a second occasion in the ensuing half, Siemian again deleted a drive that had found itself in opposing territory with a confusing pass that ended up in the arms of Kenny Vaccaro, who returned the ball to Denver's 38. Four plays later, the Saints scored to take a seven-point lead.
But it was at this point that he refused to fold or to waver, and instead made some of the gutsiest plays of his nine-game career. With most of the blame resting on his shoulders and the whispers of Paxton Lynch's name floating into the football ether, Siemian stood tall on a must-connect third-and-goal and threw a beautifully-placed fade route to Demaryius Thomas as Paul Kruger unloaded Hell on the quarterback.
Siemian celebrated the game-tying touchdown from the turf.
Sunday's victory wasn't all about the quarterback, just as a loss wouldn't have been completely on him. But what's impressive about Trevor Siemian is that even with the growing pains he's endured, like every young quarterback, he's able to regroup, reload, and take another shot.
Every developing quarterback goes through ups-and-downs in the early stages of their career. It takes a particular mental fortitude that a lot of quarterbacks just don't possess to whether that storm and come out on the other side as a Pro-Bowler, an MVP, or a Super Bowl champion.
You may doubt the physical capacity or the ceiling of Denver's young passer, but his coolness, resilience and determination are not in question. Far more promising NFL careers have been derailed for a lack of the latter than they have for the former. But it takes time, and that's one resource that NFL players franchises do not often have.
Just like the Broncos know they have a quarterback with all of the tools in Lynch, they now know they also have one with all of the intangibles in Siemian.
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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.