Siemian not feel­ing heat af­ter big day de­spite loss

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Groke Nick Groke: ngroke@den­ver­ or @nick­groke

No­body tips his hand when Bill Belichick comes to town. And Bron­cos quar­ter­back Trevor Siemian is not about to re­veal trade se­crets about how his of­fense will func­tion against the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots and their se­cre­tive head coach. But, eh, why not? “We took the zone read out of the play­book,” Siemian said Wed­nes­day. “We’ll save that for the play­offs.”

The Bron­cos’ first-year starter was jok­ing. An in­jury to his left foot that put him in doubt last week hardly hob­bled him as he threw for 334 yards in a loss at Ten­nessee on Sun­day. But the Bron­cos are not sit­ting around this week de­vis­ing op­tion run­ning plays for their quar­ter­back.

At 8-5, with three games re­main­ing to stake a claim for the play­offs, the Bron­cos wel­come the Pa­tri­ots on Sun­day in a nearly must-win sit­u­a­tion. They are 1-2 since a bye week, aver­ag­ing just 19.0 points per game over that span.

And the play­offs are sud­denly in doubt for the de­fend­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons. But if there’s some­thing go­ing right for Den­ver re­cently, it’s a pass­ing game that net­ted 340 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs three weeks ago and 330 against the Ti­tans.

Paxton Lynch’s 104 yards pass­ing against Jack­sonville two weeks ago — when he filled in for Siemian be­cause of his bum foot — led the Bron­cos to their only vic­tory in the last month.

“As a quar­ter­back, you want to throw it 100 times a game,” Siemian said. “But you have to have bal­ance, es­pe­cially down the stretch. Self­ishly it would be easy to say, ‘Yeah, I want to rip it.’ But you have to be able to do both.”

Even Belichick, the no­to­ri­ously terse long­time coach, had some­thing seem­ingly sin­cere to say about Siemian.

“Ath­letic. Cer­tainly has a good arm,” Belichick said Wed­nes­day. “He’s got a cou­ple of great re­ceivers to throw to. But he’s done a good job on the bootlegs and mov­ing-pocket plays and, you know, there are some checks at the line of scrim­mage.”

Siemian on Sun­day sur­vived a hard­hit­ting game against the Ti­tans and nearly ral­lied the Bron­cos back in the sec­ond half. As Den­ver sput­tered to just 18 yards rush­ing, and just 43 yards of to­tal of­fense in the first half, Siemian let loose in the third and fourth quar­ters.

The Bron­cos man­aged only 10 points. But Siemian proved he could move them down the field, de­spite a sprained foot and a sore shoul­der.

“I feel lucky to come out of the game feel­ing pretty good,” Siemian said.

Trevor Siemian threw for 334 yards Sun­day. John Leyba, The Den­ver Post

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