Making sweeping judgements about preseason football is not a good idea. Just ask the journalist who headlined a 1998 Associated Press article “Leaf outduels Manning.”
So hitting the panic button after the Denver Broncos offense struggled against the Chicago Bears in their first preseason game of the year is a little much. But some concern might be merited.
Quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch each played three series apiece in Denver’s 24-17 win Thursday. The Broncos’ offense scored a grand total of three points on those six series.
Siemian, who started the game, looked like the 2016 version of himself: He didn’t make any glaring mistakes, but he didn’t do anything spectacular either. He finished 6 of 7 for 51 yards.
Broncos All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr. got Denver on the board with an interception off Bears QB Mike Glennon on the first series of the game. Harris Jr. ran the football back 50 yards for a score.
The Broncos wouldn’t find the end zone again until midway through the fourth quarter. Third-string Broncos QB Austin Sloter hit Isaiah McKenzie for a 47-yard bomb.
The only scoring drive the top two candidates for the Broncos QB job led came in the first quarter. Siemian helped Denver go 60 yards down the field, which set up Brandon McManus’ 38-yard field goal.
Lynch got in near the start of the second quarter. The Broncos went three-and-out in his first series. Then Lynch badly missed Bennie Fowler on third-and-2, which ended his second series. Lynch looked underwhelming when he was in, struggling to make reads quickly and failing to look downfield. He completed 6 of 9 passes for 42 yards.
The Broncos scored their only two offensive touchdowns of the night in the fourth quarter. At that point, each team was playing its second- and third-stringers.
De’Angelo Henderson, whom the Broncos drafted out of Coastal Carolina in the sixth round of this year’s draft, rattled off a 41-yard touchdown run. That put Denver ahead for good.
The Bears’ offense struggled much like the Broncos did…at least until Mitch Trubisky got in the game. Glennon and Mark Sanchez, the Bears’ other QBs, were ineffective.
Trubisky, whom Chicago drafted second overall, came on in the second quarter and lit it up. He looked accurate and poised, though he was playing against the Broncos’ backups. Trubisky finished the game 18 of 25 for 166 yards and one TD.
Again, it’s not wise to anoint anyone a savior after one preseason game. But Trubisky clearly outplayed Siemian and Lynch.
The Broncos’ preseason continues Aug. 19 against the San Francisco 49ers. The start of the regular season — a Sept. 11 game vs. the Los Angeles Chargers — is a little more than a month away.
Subscribe to Denverite’s weekly sports newsletter here.