ENGLEWOOD--Demaryius Thomas is a rare No. 1 receiver who never misses a game. Not in six years he hasn't.
He’s played in 98 consecutive games dating back to Tim Tebow’s starting debut in 2011. His 87 consecutive starts, which began with Peyton Manning’s first game as a Bronco in 2012, is the longest durability run among active NFL receivers. That’s good.
But Thomas is also a perennial Pro Bowler who has gone 13 straight games without a touchdown. That’s baffling.
There hasn’t been too much attention paid to his skid. But he knows about it.
“It’s been since Week 10 (of the 2016 season, at New Orleans),’’ Thomas said. “I know, I know, it’s been a while. I don’t know how to feel, anymore.
“I’ve been determined to end it. I’ve been determined to end it every week. It just doesn’t work that way. Half the time it’s about winning but as a receiver you do want to score touchdowns.’’
Thomas is still getting his catches and yards. For the most part. He’s on pace for 80 catches and 1,040 yards through seven games this season. The previous five years, he averaged 98 catches and 1,374 yards.
But D.T. is a guy who caught 14 touchdowns from Peyton in 2013, 46 in his previous five seasons. He has the size to post up in the end zone, and the explosiveness to take a bubble screen and take it 80 yards.
At least he did until 13 games ago.
“We were putting in red zone today and most of the time I’m in the back like, ‘Give me that play! Give me that play!’’’ said Broncos No. 2 receiver Emmanuel Sanders. “(But today) I was like ‘Hey, give it to ‘D.T. Give it to D.T.’
“He’s getting to go a full year without a touchdown so we have to change that.’’
Maybe the quarterback swap from Trevor Siemian to Brock Osweiler this week will help snap Thomas’ scoreless drought.
Change brings much needed renewed hope. Maybe Brock Osweiler can also bring Thomas a touchdown Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
“He is a number one receiver in our offense and gameplans are made to stop him from scoring touchdowns,’’ said Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. “Our overall goal is to win games, whoever scores the touchdowns. He’s one of our best players, so the more he scores the more we can win. Our pass game goes through ‘88’ (Thomas) and ‘10’ (Emmanuel Sanders).’’