Gary Kubiak and the Broncos did just enough little things right to win

For all that went wrong in the opener against the Carolina Panthers, the Denver Broncos did enough of the little things – and made big plays at key moments – to walk away one-point victors.

Yes, the Broncos lost the turnover battle, 3-1. But the one turnover they created turned into a go-ahead touchdown.

Sure, they took silly penalties early (too many men) and late (hands to the face, hit to the head) in the game. But some important timeouts by the head coach paid huge dividends.

Trevor Siemian looked like a quarterback making his first NFL start, throwing two interceptions. But he also showed poise in leading his team back from a halftime deficit.

From the rookies to the veterans to the coaching staff, even the fans, everyone in orange and blue at Mile High Stadium on Thursday night played a part in the Broncos big NFL Kickoff win.

The team from Mile High Sports and our friends in the Denver media were documenting it as it unfolded. Here’s a quick Twitter timeline of the little things the Broncos did right in the win against the Panthers.

Broncos fans and the Denver defense confused Cam Newton early and cost Carolina all their first-half timeouts.

Darian Stewart set the tone very early with some big hits on Newton and the Panthers offense. He’d keep that up until the final drive.

Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison surprised the Panthers with a draw to fullback Andy Janovich that went for a 28-yard touchdown run.

C.J. Anderson was big in the first half, although he never found paydirt. He would find the end zone twice in the second half, including the game-winner.

Cam Newton ran for 54 yards on 11 rush attempts, but every time he ran he was either contained by an edge defender or he suffered a big hit.

Not only was Janovich responsible for putting Denver on the scoreboard, he showed just how effective a fullback can be in opening holes for his halfback.

Denver didn’t record a sack until the second half of the game, but they made them matter when they happened.

Rookie punter Riley Dixon was panned for his final punt in the fourth quarter, but on the night he averaged 46.7 on the night. He was overshadowed by the otherworldly effort by Andy Lee, who averaged 63.0 yards on four kicks.

Denver’s offensive line was the weak link last year, but they held their own against one of the toughest front sevens in the game.

When C.J. Anderson did finally find the end zone, it was on a textbook screen play.

Denver had just one turnover in the game, but it came in the fourth quarter and set up a Broncos go-ahead touchdown.

Trevor Siemian settled in during the second half and took advantage of the turnover to give his team the lead, scrambling for a key first down on the drive.

When the Broncos needed a first down at the goal line, the o-line picked up C.J. Anderson, almost literally.

Before Anderson crossed the goal line, Gary Kubiak called a key timeout that set up a touchdown on the next play. And Coach Kubiak showed off his legs.

With Carolina driving in the fourth quarter, Aqib Talib made a big pass defense on third down that forced a field goal instead of converting a first down in the red zone.

Von Miller came up with what looked at the time to be the key play of the game, a sack of Cam Newton.

Gary Kubiak had the last laugh in the small decisions department, calling a timeout to ice Graham Gano with a potential game-winning kick on the line.

 

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