“It’s time.”

Those were the words from first year head coach Vance Joseph, directed at star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas after the offensive captain had, statistically, one of the worst seasons of his career. Coach Joseph was sending a message to his receiver that it was time to step up, time to be a leader and make plays when it counted.

Coach Joseph’s words appeared to have an impact on Thomas, who has put together a solid start to the 2017 season. But even with Coach Joseph specifically challenging one of his captains, both of Denver’s top receivers have stepped up to produce big in the young 2017 season.

After registering 67 yards on five catches against the Los Angeles Chargers last week during the Broncos regular season opener, Thomas appears to have regained his dominant form in 2017, following up his Monday Night Football performance with another solid outing against the Dallas Cowboys in a 42-17 win.

In the first half alone, Thomas registered five catches for 64 yards, including multiple big-plays that were reminiscent of the Peyton Manning-Demaryius Thomas connection that terrorized the NFL from 2012 to 2015. His first catch of the game, a 27-yard third-down conversion on Denver’s first possession, was enough alone to remind fans that he is still an elite receiver capable of changing the game at any given moment.

Teammate and fellow Pro-Bowl receiver Emmanuel Sanders might steal some headlines with two touchdowns in the first half, but make no mistake: Thomas’ play was equally as important for a team who needed to regain momentum after an extensive weather delay.

After jumping out to an early 7-0 lead, the Cowboys were able to seize the opportunity from the extended break to tie the game.

That’s when Thomas the rest of the Broncos offense began to pick up where they left off, extending the lead to 21-10 at the conclusion of the first half. Sanders had two of Denver’s three touchdowns, while Thomas helped convert several crucial third downs in the half.

Speaking of Sanders, No. 10 had himself a dominant performance, registering six receptions for 61 yards to go with his two scores. Sanders’ first of two touchdowns saw him get behind three Cowboys defenders to get wide open in the back of the end zone.

He also made multiple plays that kept the Broncos’ offense moving, including an electric 25-yard reception that drove the Broncos deep into Cowboys territory. Sanders’ second touchdown of the day displayed his breath-taking agility, clearing a defender from coverage before catching an easy pass from quarterback Trevor Siemian.

Both receivers are coming off of Pro-Bowl nominations from 2016, and the dynamic duo appears to have regained their dominant forms here the in the early stages of 2017.

Sanders and Thomas did most of their damage in the first half of the game, as the Broncos used their dominant defense and consistent running game to control the pace of the game and limit the necessity to pour on points to an outmatched Cowboys offense in the second half. Thomas ended the day with a team-high 71 yards; Sanders led with two touchdowns.

The season is young, but the Broncos offense appears to be firing on all cylinders as the team is averaging 29.5 points per game thanks in part to the dynamic duo of Sanders and Thomas at wide receiver. Next week, the Broncos will head on the road for the first time this season to take on the Buffalo Bills. If the Broncos want to continue to compete in the AFC West, where both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders are also 2-0, they will need the play of Sanders and Thomas to continue to produce at this level.