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Evans: Thoughts on the Broncos must-win over the Chargers

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 11: Wide receiver Bennie Fowler #16 of the Denver Broncos catches a touchdown pass in the third quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

► Yeah, let’s start right there. That was a must-win for the Denver Broncos.

Don’t give me that nonsense about it being “just one game out of 16.” Some games mean more than others.

In an opening week when the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs made huge statements with big road wins in Tennessee and New England and knowing how the AFC West is shaping up to be a dogfight, a loss at home to a divisional opponent would have been disastrous.

The Broncos will be lucky to split within the division in 2017. Failing to hold serve at home against an average team like the Los Angeles Chargers would’ve been a huge hole in which to dig out.

► With that said, they won.

So, all of that is a moot point. Now, onto the observations of the game:

► I liked what I saw from Trevor Siemian.

I’m not talking about his stats, which were fine. I’m talking about the eye test.

He looked better than last year.

He seemed more in control. His ball fake then throw down the sideline to Demaryius Thomas stood out. His willingness and confidence to run with the ball. His accuracy with some of his deeper throws.

I cringed during “The Decision” process when the Paxton Lynch supporters/Siemian critics said going back to the third-year quarterback would represent a waste of time because he is who he is and wouldn’t be any different or better this year.

I thought that was ridiculous. So, to see him come out right away in Week 1 and show that is game is still evolving was good to see.

► What made Siemian’s performance even better was …

… The way he stood in the pocket in the face of pressure and delivered some really good throws.

That’s the good news. The bad is he took those shots.

I was not exactly blown away by the supposedly new-and-improved offensive line. Menelik Stephens … er … Watson was awful.

Can’t the adage “if you have two quarterbacks you have none” apply to the left guard position (see Max Garcia and Allen Barbre)?

► I liked what I saw from Bolles.

Dude competes and will only get better.

► Von Miller’s sackless night concerns me.

It’s not that I put everything into how many sacks he has. I know he disrupts and impacts the game in other ways that aren’t measured.

Still, the all-time great pass rushers were targeted, did things that didn’t show up on the stat sheet, and also managed to stuff the stat sheet.

The Chargers came up with a plan not to let Miller beat them, and it worked because with no DeMarcus Ware or Shane Ray, no one else really rode shotgun with No. 58.

That needs to change.

► It was so good to see the tight ends get involved.

A.J. Derby, Virgil Green, and Jeff Heuerman combined for five catches and close to 100 yards.

That is sorely needed production for the quarterback that was M.I.A. last season.

Keep it up fellas.

► I know things got a bit squirrely …

… For the secondary in the fourth quarter when Darrian Stewart went out, but what valuable experience it was for youngsters like Justin Simmons and Will Parks.

We can say that since the Broncos won.

It does show that, while the T.J. Ward release was probably justified, there will be some pain in the transition.

► For all of the hype surrounding the return of Mike McCoy …

… And the wonders he would do for the offense, I hated how he took his foot off the gas once the Broncos got the big lead.

Up 24-7. Todd Davis with the thunderous hit on fourth down. Broncos get the ball at midfield. Siemian and the offense get in a rhythm. Time to go for the jugular.

Instead, McCoy ran it twice for no gain and then the “bad call / bad decision / mugging of Bennie Fowler / Siemian interception” lead to a momentum change that almost proved to be fatal.

Next time Mike, step on their throats.

► I liked some of the wiggle from C.J. Anderson.

I liked some of the old burst from Jamaal Charles.

I hate the continued inability to convert on third-and-short.

► Finally …

… The Broncos have a third wide receiver in Bennie Fowler?

► Nice job by Denver’s front seven containing Melvin Gordon.

But they have a wholly different level of test coming up with Ezekiel Elliott and the ‘Boys coming to town.

► I’m not upset with Sergio Dipp.

I’m upset with the moron(s) at ESPN who thought it would be a good idea to put him on the sideline.

I’m also upset with Dipp’s supporters like Bob Ley, making the case, “You try to do a report like that in a second language.”

That’s exactly the point. He shouldn’t have been allowed to do that.

That would be like me going on Telemundo to do a soccer sideline report in Spanish. It would be ugly.

I would have no business being there.

► Beth Mowins was fine.

I hear worse male NFL announcers all the time.

I love Rex Ryan, but the dude wasn’t ready. Then again, that’s a point that was missed in what went down Monday night.

ESPN has done this before with the second game of the opening week doubleheader — whether it’s to try someone out or throw someone a bone or blatantly try to cross promote something else they have going on the network (we’ve seen Mike and Mike — Golic and Greenberg — call a game, as well as Chris Berman).

The idea is solid. Half of the country isn’t even watching the game.

What better time to trot out Dipp?