Broncos 21. Panthers 20. Was that game any good? Almost nothing lives up to the hype, but last night pretty much did. Had it all. Insane hits. Ridiculous interceptions, and a last second field goal that was good, then re-kicked, and missed. I’d say if the rest of the season lives up to that game, we’ll be all right, but I know it can’t.

And I know it’s just one game. And Trevor Siemian was far from perfect but it looks like John Elway has worked another miracle. He lets Hall of Famer Peyton Manning know he doesn’t want him back. He gets jammed by Brock Osweiler, the guy he had been grooming to replace Manning, he brings in Mark Sanchez to pick up the pieces, only he’s not good enough to beat out a 7th rounder. And then he goes all in with that 7th rounder who came into last night’s game against Carolina with one career snap in the NFL. He plays his ass off, and the defending champs pick up right where they left off.

Again, I know it’s just one game, but Elway is that rare Hall of Famer who might be as strong in the front office as he was on the field. Only other guy who can say that is Jerry West.

Again, it’s just one game, but Trevor Siemian looked pretty good for a quarterback who’d never thrown an NFL pass. And it wasn’t like they just asked him manage the game, stay away from the big mistake and just turn and hand it to C.J. Anderson. In fact, they were aggressive with Siemian. Gary Kubiak had him open the game with five straight passes. And while the guy wasn’t perfect, and he did make mistakes, he didn’t blink when it happened. Or when they were down ten at half time and it looked like it might be a blow out.

In fact, I could be wrong, but that offense actually looks better with that 7th rounder than Peyton last year. The offensive line was strong, C.J. Anderson was shredding tacklers, and Siemian looked like he belonged. He looked more athletic than Manning ever looked and was making throws that Manning couldn’t make at the end of his career. And he wasn’t making out with any pizza vendors after the game.

But really, it was about Denver’s defense. Up 10 and on the verge of getting blown out, that Bronco dee finally showed up and started punching people in the face. Well actually, started going upside Cam Newton’s head. Literally. Several times. And the refs didn’t do a damn thing to protect him. DeMarcus Ware just shows up, without the benefit of OTA’S or training camp and does what he’s done his entire Hall of Fame career: wreck shop. Von Miller was flying around the field again, and Chris Harris had a sick pick. If Denver had a Super Bowl hangover, it looks like it only lasted 30 minutes because in that second half, they were right back in Levi’s Stadium and right in Cam Newton’s helmet.

Of course they almost took it too far. The defense nearly blew it with a Harris penalty and then the headshot on Cam on the last drive, but they held on. And broke out the timeout to ice the kicker. Which never works, until it does. And it did last night. The NFL is back. The Broncos are back and look the hell out.


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