The Denver Broncos kicked off their 2012 preseason schedule and the beginning of the Peyton Manning era with a convincing 31-3 win at soggy Soldier Field in Chicago. While all the focus will be on Manning's return to the football field after missing all of 2011 with nerve issues in his neck, it was the Broncos defense that should get the attention, holding the Bears offense to just 132 total yards while forcing 3 turnovers and sacking Chicago quarterbacks six times.
Manning looked good despite throwing an interception on a pass off the hands of Brandon Stokley. Playing in just one series, Manning finished the night 4/7 for 44 yards and most importantly didn't look to have any ill-effects from the neck problems that plagued him a season ago.
Knowshon Moreno also returned to the field after missing most of last season with an ACL tear and finished with 20 yards on 4 carries.
After Manning's departure, all eyes shifted to the battle for the Broncos #2 quarterback job with Caleb Hanie(7/14, 79 yards), Brock Osweiler(4/7, 38 yards, 1 TD) and Adam Weber(2/5, 42 yards, 1 TD) all seeing plenty of action. Jason Hill was on the receiving end of Osweiler's first career touchdown pass while Cornelius Ingram grabbed a TD from Weber.
Overall you have to think tonight was a complete success for the Broncos. Does it 'count"? Maybe not in the standings, but tell the guys fighting for a job that tonight doesn't count. If you are fighting for your football life, winning 31-3 sure feels better than losing 31-3.
Give your thoughts in the comments.... GO BRONCOS!