CINCINNATI -- The Denver Broncos saw on film this week that the Cincinnati Bengals cornerbacks might be susceptible to the double-move on Sunday. They even named one play "Pacman," after Bengals' cornerback Adam Jones.
"We game-planned all week on the double-move," said Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders. "We knew we were going to take our shots."
Behind poised quarterback Trevor Siemian who was making his first career road start, the Broncos executed their game plan to perfection.
After beginning his career 2-0 at home by taking over for future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and after Brock Osweiler left for Houston, Siemian passed another test on Sunday, going 23 for 35 against a formidable Bengals defense.
"He's growing," said Broncos coach Gary Kubiak. "We didn't run the ball at all today. They took it away and did a good job. So we had to be aggressive and go gets some points. He made some big throws."
The Broncos rushed for just 52 yards, averaging 2.3 per carry. But Siemian sealed the victory with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Thomas on third-and-11 with 4:23 remaining in the game.
"(Siemian) came into the huddle and said 'We're going for the gusto,'" Sanders said. "What a day from him. Four touchdowns, 300(-plus) yards. Amazing."
Thomas had six catches for 100 yards.
Sanders had nine catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns for Denver (3-0) which improved to 21-9 all-time versus Cincinnati. At 1-2, it's the worst start in five seasons for Cincinnati.
"We're the best that does it, a one-two punch," Thomas said, standing next to Sanders at the podium postgame.
Nine penalties hurt Cincinnati (1-2), which finally got its running game going with 143 yards, including 97 yards and two touchdowns from Jeremy Hill.
The Bengals ranked next to last in the NFL in rushing coming into the game. But they outrushed the Broncos 103 to 27 in the first half, including a 50-yard run by Hill, who later scored from 3 yards out to put Cincinnati ahead 7-0.
Denver limited the Bengals just 16 yards on the ground after halftime, however.
"Well, I don't know if we cinched down on it as the game wore on," said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. "In the fourth quarter where it was a different game, things changed."
Five of Denver's first downs Sunday resulted from Bengals penalties, including 24 yards on one drive which ended with a Broncos' field goal. Cincinnati was penalized nine times for 69 yards.
Momentum shifted in the second quarter when Broncos safety Shiloh Keo recovered Adam Jones' fumbled punt at the Bengals' 46. Siemian's 41-yard touchdown pass to Sanders put Denver ahead 10-7.
"That was a double-move," said Sanders. "Great call by Kubiak. Great throw by Trevor."
A 22-yard pass from Andy Dalton to C.J. Uzomah set up Hill's second touchdown, a 4-yard run, to put Cincinnati ahead 14-10 late in the first half.
Siemian's second touchdown pass, a 7-yard completion to Sanders, put the Broncos back in front with 28 seconds left in the first half. The extra point was blocked by Margus Hunt, making the score 16-14.
Both quarterbacks were kept clean until Dalton was sacked by Shane Ray on consecutive plays in the third quarter and Siemian was dropped by Carlos Dunlap later in the third.
Cincinnati dropped two potential interceptions on Sunday which could've swung the momentum in their favor.
"He hit us in the chest a couple times, and we didn't come down with it," Lewis said.
Mike Nugent's 34-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter capped a 15-play, eight-minute drive to put Cincinnati ahead 17-16.
The 82-yard drive was capped by John Phillips' 1-yard touchdown catch. The two-point attempt failed, giving Denver a 22-17 lead.
"Very proud of our team," said Kubiak. "It was another grinder like last week. I thought we were at our best late in the game."
After a slow start, Siemian finished 11 of 12 down the stretch, finishing with a passer rating of 132.1.
"It was loud. It's a tough place to play against a tough team," Siemian said. "Hats off to our guys handling the noise. It was a good team win for us."
NOTES: The last Broncos QB to throw four touchdowns in a game was Peyton Manning in 2014. ... Bengals TE Tyler Kroft started ahead of C.J. Uzomah. TE Tyler Eifert practiced this week for the first time since undergoing offseason ankle surgery, but was inactive for Sunday's game. ... TE John Phillips started for the Broncos in place of injured Virgil Green and RT Ty Sambrailo started for Donald Stephenson. ... Broncos LB Brandon Marshall kneeled down during the national anthem and S T.J. Ward raised his first. All Bengals players stood during the Anthem with no noticeable form of protest.