Trevor Siemian‘s passing numbers were not eye-popping on Monday night – not by any measure. Siemian’s performance, however, was precisely what the Broncos needed entering a stretch of four key games that begin Sunday against San Diego.

The Denver Broncos quarterback threw just 25 times for 157 yards Monday in a 27-9 victory over the Houston Texans, completing 14 passes to six different targets. Spread those numbers out over a full season and they’d be alarming.

Siemian’s 6.3 yards per attempt would be 29th in the league and his 88.3 passer rating would put him in the bottom third. The 157 yards would rank dead last, as would his 56 percent completion percentage.

For as poorly as Brock Osweiler performed on Monday night (22-of-41, 131 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT), Siemian was by no means leaps and bounds better. Still, the second-year QB in his first year under center played the role of game manager to near perfection. That very term may send shivers down some spines, but let’s not forget what happened last year. Denver “game managed” their way to a Super Bowl victory last season, really only asking their quarterbacks to win two “shootouts.”

Denver went 1-1 in those games, and the quarterback who was on the losing end Monday night, was under center for Denver in both. Osweiler outgunned Tom Brady on a snowy Sunday night in Denver, then fell flat on his face in the second half in Pittsburgh three weeks later after jumping out to a 27-13 halftime lead.

Throughout the playoffs, Peyton Manning never had to throw for more than 215 yards or score more than 20 points to help “game manage” his way to a second Super Bowl. Monday’s victory over Osweiler and the Texans is clear evidence that Gary Kubiak is more than content to take the same approach with Siemian, even if it causes consternation amongst fans and the media.

That doesn’t mean Kubiak and Siemian won’t take their shots. That was evidenced on Monday when even early in the game Kubiak showed he wasn’t afraid to let his young quarterback throw the ball. Denver opened the game with six consecutive passing attempts (not including a running play called back for holding). Including plays called back for penalties, Siemian went to the air on eight of 11 plays on the first three drives.

Siemian looked a bit tight on those opening three drives, perhaps explaining his two completions for just 15 yards over that stretch, but by the time Denver took the ball at the 25 yard line on their fourth possession things started to click. C.J. Anderson found a hole to open the drive with a first down. Siemian connected with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders on back-to-back plays to dig out of a first-and-20. He hit Andy Janovich for a 12-yard gain and found Thomas two more times before Anderson would run for a seven-yard touchdown. A holding penalty notwithstanding, it was one of the most complete drives Denver executed on the year.

On the very next possession Siemian missed on a deep route to Sanders (they’d hit on a similar play later in the game to set up Booker’s first career rushing touchdown). He found Sanders underneath a few plays later and the speedy wideout turned it into a 29-yard gain. Thomas would cap off the drive with a touchdown, his NFL-best 50th since 2012 (including postseason). Thomas missed two balls later in the game that, as Jon Gruden pointed out on the Monday Night Football broadcast, “elite wide receivers have to catch,” or Siemian’s stats might have looked even a little better. Jordan Norwood failed to drag his right toe in the end zone as well, turning a possible touchdown into a field goal.

Most importantly, all of those throws – the TD to Thomas, the dropped passes by Thomas and the out-of-bounds catch by Norwood – were passes only Broncos players were possibly going to make. Siemian had zero interceptions in the game and, really, gave Houston no opportunities to pick him off. That’s significant growth from his performance in the preseason when he was plagued by pick-sixes and in the early part of the season when he was intercepted three times in two games.

Since Week 2, Siemian has passed for seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Yes, four of those came in Week 3 against Cincinnati and the Denver offense looked woeful against San Diego when Siemian was still recovering from a sprained AC joint, but Siemian is fast becoming exactly the quarterback Gary Kubiak wants him to be.

Three of Denver’s next four games are against division opponents, beginning with the hard charging 3-4 San Diego Chargers at home on Sunday. They travel to Oakland next, where the Raiders have struggled all year but are still 5-2 and tied atop the West. After a trip to New Orleans, they’ll host Kansas City – 4-2 and winners of two straight. Already sitting at 0-1 in the division, Broncos losses in any of those games will make the division very difficult to win.

In order for the final the games of the season (New England, at Kansas City, Oakland) to matter, they must first take care of business over the next month. The numbers may not be pretty, but that’s what Siemian proved he is more than capable of doing: Simply taking care of business.

Fans and the media may not love the risk-averse nature of this style of quarterback play, but when the running game does its part (as it did against Houston), and the line holds up (they allowed zero sacks Monday), and the defense plays up to its usual excellent standard, there’s no reason that Siemian and Kubiak can’t dink and dunk their way to another division title. Who knows. All the confidence and experience Siemian will build along the way might just put him in a position to win a shootout somewhere down the road.