Five Takeaways From The Broncos’ Season Opener

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Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (80) reacts to his touchdown in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High . Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Replacing Wes Welker

Although slot-receiver extraordinaire Wes Welker might be returning to the Broncos from his four-game suspension sooner than thought, for most of Sunday’s matchup he didn’t seem to be missed all that much.

Welker is one of, if not the most productive slot receiver in NFL history. At the ripe age of 33, he looked to not have missed a beat in training camp or the preseason alike.

Regardless, his slack had to be picked up by the rest of Denver’s offense.

Tight end Julius Thomas showed that he was up to the task, hauling in seven catches that went for over 100 yards. He was also the recipient of all three of the Broncos’ touchdowns through the air, each one more impressive than the last.

Peyton Manning spoke on Thomas’ offensive explosion Sunday.

"“Julius has had a good offseason,” Manning said. “He and I spent a lot of time working this offseason. He really wanted to step his game up, and I think he certainly did that tonight.”"

Welker eventually entered the realm of thought by an offense that desperately needed its best third-down converter in the second half of Sunday’s game.

He could possibly return for the Broncos’ divisional showdown with the Chiefs this Sunday, or in roughly a month against the New York Jets.