The Denver Broncos could have lost on Sunday to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Admit it, we all kind of penciled in an “L” when we saw an early season road trip to Cincy. This is a very talented Bengals team that has Super Bowl aspirations. Meanwhile, the Broncos are coming off of a Super Bowl victory, with what is basically a rookie quarterback, as Trevor Siemian tries to replace a legend.

We have already seen how this story ends. Nearly 20 years ago, Brian Griese tried to replace John Elway and it ended in an injury-filled 6-10 disaster.

Today, Siemian would be making his first road start on Sunday against a very talented defense in Cincinnati’s home opener. Add into the equation the injuries of pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, offensive tackle Donald Stephenson and tight end Virgil Green, and the Broncos had plenty of excuses on Sunday.

And it certainly looked like Denver was on their way to their first defeat, when the offense went three and out on their first possession.

Trevor Siemian threw three straight passes on the opening drive, and failed to gain a single first down. If Denver was going to have a prayer, it would be up to the defense again.

So it was particularly disheartening when the Bengals offense took possession and carved up the vaunted Orange Crush for 74 yards in just five plays to take a 7-0 lead.

It was beginning to look as if Denver wasn’t just going to lose this game; they might be on their way to getting blown out.

But that isn’t how this team operates. They have resolve. They have toughness. And they don’t believe in excuses.

And it seems that the Broncos will take a spark from anywhere they can get it. On the Broncos second offensive drive it would be from the flag happy NFL officials. The Bengals were flagged for three defensive penalties, and the Broncos drove 73 yards, where kicker Brandon McManus connected from 20 yards to make it 7-3.

And then the game became a showcase for quarterback Trevor Siemian.

In his first start in a hostile environment, Siemian went 23 for 35 for 312 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Siemian showed the same poise that we are growing accustomed to, but he also introduced a new trick: the deep ball.

Siemian hit wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for a 41-yard touchdown strike to give the Broncos the lead late in the first quarter. Holding on to a 22-17 lead late in the game, he found little-used tight end Jeff Huerman for 29 yards, before hooking up with Demaryius Thomas on a 55-yard touchdown to put the Broncos up 29-17 with less than five minutes to play.

The defense rallied from their opening possession to hold the Bengals to just 189 yards, and allowed just five third down conversions.

On a week where the Broncos had the plenty of excuses, they came through with their most impressive win of the year. And for a change, it was a finish that actually didn’t leave Broncos fans gasping for breath.

A late interception by rookie safety Will Parks would seal the 29-14 victory. No last second heroics needed.

Trevor Siemian took the final snap in victory formation.

This team doesn’t care what the so-called experts say, or who is on the field from week to week. They believe in “next man up” and “get the job done”.

The 2016 Denver Broncos still have a long way to go, but that type of mentality bodes well going forward. Champions don’t make excuses. Champions just keep on winning.