ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian sported a significant bruise across the bridge of his nose Wednesday, the price tag for the punishment he took in the Broncos’ 21-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
And the way he sees it, it was just another part of the football penance of a bad day he does not want to repeat.
“I have a little bruise -- I probably should have broken it,’’ Siemian said. “I deserve it the way I played. It’s not bad.’’
Siemian was 25-of-35 passing for 207 yards on Sunday, with a lost fumble and an interception, in what was the Broncos’ first scoreless performance since Nov. 22, 1992. The Broncos crossed the 50-yard line once in their first 10 possessions of the game and punted eight times.
As a result, Siemian’s play and an offensive slump that has seen the Broncos score 42 points over their past four games are the hottest of topics. And Siemian didn’t roll his eyes or hide from any of it Wednesday as the Broncos returned to the practice field.
“I think that’s just the way it is,’’ Siemian said. “When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s bad, not so good. It’s easy for me to not get caught up in all that.’’
The Broncos are 1-3 over their past four games and have constructed just three touchdown drives combined in those contests. And Monday, they face the 5-2 Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium (8:30 p.m., ESPN/WatchESPN), followed by a short week before a visit to Philadelphia to play the 6-1 Eagles.
And while the Broncos need far better play along the offensive line overall -- Siemian has been sacked 16 times in his past four outings -- and need to run the ball better than their 46- and 69-yard days of the past two games, Siemian was quick to put himself at the top of the list of things that need to improve.
“I have to play better; it starts with me,’’ the 25-year-old said. “We have great leadership on offense. Guys are frankly embarrassed with what we put out there last Sunday. We have to play better. I have to play better. Everybody knows that.’’
“I think he’s good,’’ Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib said of Siemian. “He came out and he had a great day [Wednesday] in practice. That’s part of his job. He has the hardest job in the world. We lose and he gets all the flak. We win and he gets all the credit. It just comes with his job. He’s a grown man and that’s why he’s our starting quarterback.’’
The loss to the Chargers dropped the Broncos to 3-3, two wins behind the Chiefs in the AFC West race. They also haven’t won on the road this season (0-2) and have lost their past four road games dating back to last season.
“I think as a team, we’re in this weird spot where we’re frustrated with the way things have gone, but shoot, we’re excited, too,’’ Siemian said. “We have a chance to get right back in it on top of the division with a big game. We’re playing Monday Night Football. We’re in second place right now. It’s that weird combination of being frustrated and super excited and wanting to play again pretty quickly.’’
Siemian has seen both sides of the coin in his two previous starts against the Chiefs with a 368-yard, three-touchdown day in an overtime loss in Denver last season to go with a 183-yard, one-interception effort in Kansas City’s blowout win last Christmas at Arrowhead.
Siemian was tied for the league lead in touchdown passes with six after two games, but turnovers have been a significant issue; Siemian has thrown seven interceptions this season, had a handful of other close calls when the defender has dropped the ball and has lost two fumbles. Broncos coach Vance Joseph has stood fast in his assessment that Siemian is “absolutely’’ the starter and said the Broncos need to do far more around Siemian to get the offense going. The turnovers, however, can’t continue.
“He has to work on his feeling the pocket, where to slide, where to push and when to get down,’’ Joseph said. “At times knowing when the play’s over and throwing the football away. That’s part of his growth process. He’s being instructed on how to minimize the bad plays.’’
“It’s frustrating,’’ Siemian said. “I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that because you know you can play better and you feel like you let your guys down. You let your teammates down when you don’t play well. As a quarterback, you touch it every time. It doesn’t matter what everyone is doing around you. You have a chance to keep everybody in it.’’