Yes, the Broncos had a great win during Week 3
September 27, 2016
Well, that was an excellent win for the Broncos on Sunday in Cincinnati.
Let's make something clear, folks.
I don't have it out for the local football team. I just do not think the sun rises and sets with the Broncos and make snap judgments on their season based on a small sample size.
What you do love about the Broncos' 29-17 at Cincy is Trevor Siemian's performance — 23-for-35, 312 yards, four touchdown passes and no picks. The kid went on the road against a good defense and won the game for the team. Siemian's ability to win a game for the Broncos was a question mark and that's been temporarily answered.
I love the Broncos' defense. Who wouldn't? The Bengals' A.J. Green caught eight passes for 77 yards with no touchdowns. That's a fantastic job on one of the best wide receivers in the game. We also duly note that Shane Ray came in for the injured Demarcus Ware and had three sacks.
When Broncos fans first got the schedule whenever it came out, even the most Denver diehard put "at Cincinnati" down as a loss in the exercise every fan does before the season starts. It's a great win.
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But, tap the brakes a bit, people. Does a 3-0 start guarantee making the playoffs? No. Does it make it more likely? Absolutely.
The point of this column is to illustrate how much the kaleidoscope that is the NFL can change every week. I have one of my favorite readers posting on Facebook, "Bucs, Falcons, Chargers next 3 weeks. 6-0."
Really? The Broncos should be favored in all three of their next games, but you cannot make assumptions in the NFL.
Week 3 was full of surprises. The Patriots weren't winning against the Texans on a short week with their third quarterback, Jacoby Brissett. Anyone see the Eagles beating the snot out of the Steelers? How about the Bills over the Cardinals?
Strange things happen in the NFL. It's why we watch or are constantly checking our phones while on the golf course. (I had four pars on Sunday, if you were wondering.)
There's also the injury factor. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson went down in a heap. Cowboys wide-receiver Dez Bryant got hurt last week. Yes, this is the portion of the column where I whine about my fantasy team taking a hit. (The Giant Hens fell to 2-1 in my league. I know you're fascinated by that) But it also illustrates how quickly a season can change with one injury.
The Broncos are not immune from parity of the league or the fickle finger of fate that is an injury to key player.
Make no assumptions.
Broncos? Absolutely. A lot of us think New England coach Bill Belichick has doubtless made a pact with the devil. I'd buy that after the Pats are 3-0 taking people off the street to play quarterback. On serious note, as much as we all hate the Patriots — I hate them because of the Joe Montana-Tom Brady comparisons — you gotta be impressed.
The Packers lose one game, and everything's wrong with Aaron Rodgers. As the quarterback would say, "Relax." The Packers rebounded from a tough loss to the Vikings and are in good shape.
The Eagles, Vikings and Ravens are all 3-0. Yes, we were surprised by Philly taking the Steelers to the woodshed, but just as Siemian is a essentially a rookie QB, so is Carson Wentz. (Siemian has a better supporting cast, so Wentz will take a tumble.) The Vikings have been impressive without Teddy Bridgewater, but I'll believe it when Sam Bradford can stay healthy for an entire season. The Ravens still haven't played anyone.
The Steelers looked bad last week, but that's still a good football team. The Seahawks are also going to be fine. The team is saying Wilson can play this week. I'd rest him with the schedule ahead.
We're just going to leave the Browns here. Insert your own punchline. As for the reader who pointed to my "West Coast bias," the Niners are rightfully here. We had no delusions of grandeur after beating the Rams in Week 1. The ugliness has come to pass.
The big news here might be the Arizona Cardinals. Not only was that a hideous loss to the Bills, but Carson Palmer is looking like the Carson Palmer of old. That ain't good.
And enjoy Week 4.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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