TAMPA -- The Denver Broncos had planned for the proverbial rainy day at quarterback.
They had considered, weighed and discussed sending a defending Super Bowl champion, with an elite defense and a roster full of players who had earned a ring, into a new season with a quarterback with fewer than two seasons' experience and a rookie backup.
Sunday the rain came when Broncos starting quarterback Trevor Siemian left the game, his fourth career start, with a left shoulder injury. Rookie Paxton Lynch went in and the Broncos still rumbled to a 27-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium to move to 4-0.
"It's amazing, [the defense] has always got our back," Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said. " ... You see how hard they work and it pays off on the field,"
"We have a great team," Siemian said. "You obviously don't want to rely on the defense all the time, but one has to pick the other one up when something happens. And I think we've shown through the first quarter of the season. Hopefully we can continue to do that."
The Broncos worked through a weather delay of about 90 minutes when a lightning-filled storm roared over the stadium, they worked through their injury at quarterback, and they faced another team eager to show its improvement by pushing back against a title winner. But the Broncos simply powered through again and since last December have won games with Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Siemian and Lynch at quarterback.
In short, a calm, composed team headed for the airport Sunday prepared to see what the doctors say about Siemian's left shoulder and get on with their business at hand.
"In this league you better plug in good players," Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. "You've got to have great players in this league and get them in position to be successful. I think the kid (Lynch) came in and handled himself really well."
Siemian, who won the starting quarterback job in the preseason, was coming off a 312-yard, four-touchdown game in the Broncos' win over the Cincinnati Bengals last week. And Sunday his first pass attempt went for a touchdown -- an 11-yard toss to Thomas that followed an Aqib Talib interception.
In short, he continued to show why he won the job in the first place. But overall, the Broncos raised some eyebrows when the opened the season with two young quarterbacks on their depth chart.
What would the Broncos do if Siemian got injured? Did they need a veteran presence? Could a second-year guy mentor a rookie?
All of those questions have swirled and the Broncos just keep on winning. Sunday was the franchise's ninth 4-0 start. in the previous eight, they went to the playoffs seven times and advanced to the Super Bowl six times, including all three of the franchise's Super Bowl wins.
So, history says what they closed out in the rain Sunday evening could mean plenty by the time the season is over. And the Broncos believe Siemian and Lynch are just what they need at the quarterback.
Siemian said he'll listen to what the team's medical staff says Monday, but Siemian said his "plan" was to play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
"Yeah, that's the plan," Siemian said, "that I'll be ready to play."
But the Broncos learned in the latest win they have prepped their rookie well. Lynch is still plenty rough around the edges, especially when he goes under center where the Broncos have him taking the snap with one foot a step back from the other, to get his steps right when he comes away from center and to get him to play on his toes more.
Lynch, though, battled his nerves and ran the offense with confidence against the Buccaneers, helping put two scoring drives together.
A quarter of the way through the new season, the Broncos overcame an injury at the most important position on the field. They won a title last season with an injured quarterback. Sunday, they made it clear they're built to do it again.
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.
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