“As cool as the other side of the pillow” – a phrase wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders would use to describe his young quarterback Trevor Siemian. On Thursday night, Siemian, in his first NFL start, proved to the nation just how “cool, calm and collected” he is, on the biggest stage of football nonetheless.

Earlier in the day executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway sat down with Siemian and said, “Don’t worry about making mistakes. Don’t worry about turnovers. You’re going to make mistakes. But just bounce back.” And that’s just what Siemian did. He made mistakes, but he bounced back.

“I thought [Siemian] was great. You could see the poise out there. Even the little mistakes he did make, you didn’t see his confidence waiver. He didn’t start checking down the ball. He was making plays all over the field,” Bennie Fowler, Broncos wide receiver, said after Thursday night’s 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Max Garcia, the starting left guard, was in a similar position last year as Siemian is in this year in terms of gaining NFL experience. Garcia thought Siemian did great job in his first NFL start.

“You have to have a short-term memory in this game because if you don’t one [bad] play will turn into two bad plays and then it’ll be a bad series and you don’t want that to happen,” Garcia said. “So you kind of have to bounce back and I think [Siemian] did a tremendous job of that tonight.”

Siemian has a different makeup than most people, both in the NFL and not in the NFL. Instead of being down on himself or upset after throwing interceptions, Siemian had a much different mindset, one that running back C.J. Anderson thought was key to the Broncos victory.

“[Siemian] was smiling in the huddle after turnovers and he was letting us know ‘hey man, we are shooting ourselves in the foot, we can move the ball,’” Anderson said. “So that’s a guy you want to go fight for.”

After Siemian’s first interception he responded with an eight-yard scramble and a 15-yard pass to lead the Broncos on their first scording drive of the game.

While Siemian finished the night with two interceptions, Anderson believed he played much better than his stat line would suggest. Anderson took the blame off of Siemian for his second interception when he was pressured on the throw.

“If we picked that [blitz] up maybe he throws a touchdown to Emmanuel [Sanders], and we don’t have that interception. [Then] we are talking about two touchdowns thrown by Trevor,” Anderson said.

Siemian’s composure was tested on the very first offensive play of the game. Head coach Gary Kubiak dialed up a screen pass, but a defensive lineman shut down the initial look. Instead of forcing the ball into a bad situation, Siemian pulled the ball down, adjusted and found wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for an 11-yard gain.

“He showed poise, he showed smarts and awareness and everything that we need at quarterback,” cornerback Bradley Roby said.

Even in a two-turnover night for Siemian, there was the utmost confidence in the young quarterback from every member of the organization, from Fowler, on the inactives, to head coach Gary Kubiak.

Twice on third down and one inside Carolina territory, Kubiak trusted Siemian to throw the ball, even though the Broncos averaged over 5 yards per carry on the ground.

“He’s down 10 to a championship football team. He just plays with poise. He moves. He makes plays with his feet,” Kubiak said. “He’s going to watch film and he’s going to get so much better.”

The ability to smile in an NFL huddle after throwing an interception in a primetime game is something that cannot be taught. If Siemian can clean up the turnovers, the Broncos have the right man under center for any big game they may enounter.