ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Trevor Siemian learned many football lessons from Peyton Manning, and not just the ones that result in a well-timed audible at a key point in a game.
Siemian has always been a highly accountable sort, but he's also heard Manning say that every interception has a story and that nobody wants to hear it. And Siemian, who threw two in the Denver Broncos' 26-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, knows that the reasons won't matter much beyond fixing it.
"I can't do that, at home or on the road," Siemian said. "Those two turnovers, obviously, they hurt you. ... The defense bailed us out one time. I felt good about getting points there [on the second one] if I don't turn it over."
Siemian had tried to do his part to regulate the fervor around him in the first two weeks of the season. He went into Sunday's game tied for the league lead with six touchdown passes, the Broncos were 2-0, and Siemian was even the halftime interview during Monday Night Football after the Broncos' dismantling of the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2.
But in a classic every-week-is-different affair, following two weeks of being in a groove, the Broncos' offense looked out of sorts for much of Sunday's affair, with Siemian near the top of that list. He finished 24-of-40 passing for 259 yards to go with the two interceptions -- his third and fourth of the young season.
A key number to note, though, was the 40 attempts. That has been a line where the trouble has begun in Siemian's 17 career starts.
Last season, the Broncos were 7-2 in games that Siemian started and attempted fewer than 40 passes, including the contest in Tampa, Florida, where he attempted seven passes before leaving with a shoulder injury. The Broncos won their first two games this season, with Siemian attempting fewer than 40 passes in both.
After Sunday's loss, the Broncos are now 1-5 in games Siemian starts and attempts 40 or more passes. Certainly past results don't guarantee future performance, but it's clear if the Broncos want to be their most successful, they have to stay out of obvious passing downs. At one point, Siemian was sacked on back-to-back plays during one second-quarter drive.
But, oh, the interceptions. Siemian threw his first late in the third quarter, trailing 20-16. It happened deep in Broncos territory on a second-and-23 situation. Siemian thought Bennie Fowler was going one way, but Fowler went the other and Bills cornerback E.J. Gaines ended up with the ball.
"I thought [Fowler] was going in, he ended up going out, but I'm responsible," Siemian said. "Every ball that goes in the air, I'm responsible for. Can't do that back there, can't turn it over anywhere back there."
The Bills had the ball on the Broncos' 32-yard line but ended up losing 13 yards and punted as Denver's defense stepped up. The Broncos weren't so fortunate with the second interception.
Trailing 23-16 early in the fourth quarter, the Broncos had a drive going with a first-and-10 at the Bills' 24-yard line. They had snared a little momentum after a Bills penalty saved them on one third down to keep things moving, and Jamaal Charles had just snapped off a 12-yard run.
But in trying to escape the Bills' pressure, Siemian rolled out, threw across his body, and that floater was intercepted by Tre'Davious White, blowing the Broncos' best chance to tie in the final quarter.
"The turnovers hurt," Siemian said. "You kind of screwed your defense there, so I'd like to have those back. Our defense bailed us out plenty of times."
Siemian tried to remind anyone who would listen last week that "it's early" in the wake of the win against the Cowboys. Now he gets another task of a starting quarterback -- trying to rebound after a loss he helped create.
"[Siemian] is trying to make plays," Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. "I can't fault him for that. We want him to be smart with the ball -- he has been smart with the ball -- and he's made those plays before, so I'm not down on that part. We can't do it, but I get why he took some chances."