Paxton Lynch made his NFL debut in dramatic fashion after an injured Trevor Siemian was taken off the field for the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. And much like the Patriots, who keep winning no matter who they have behind center, the Broncos proved it’s the machine, not the man. Lynch stepped in and threw for 170 yards (14-of-24) and one touchdown. That was good enough to record a 27-7 Broncos win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Last year as the Broncos surged toward the Super Bowl, veteran QB Peyton Manning stepped into the starting role for Brock Osweiler and executed just enough offense for the Broncos defense to bring Denver the title. Lynch, a rookie, just missed rubbing expensive elbows with Manning, who retired after the Super Bowl win. But his first NFL performance echoes what Manning brought to the 2015 Broncos — solid, unspectacular, winning play. Manning averaged just 225 yards per game in his final year, compared to 295.4 and 342.3 in the two years before that.