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A Mixed Bag In The Third Preseason Game

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The Broncos fell to 0-3 in the preseason, losing to the Chicago Bears 27-17.  The starters played until midway through the third quarter, which is about what was expected.  Chris Kuper left the game with a "lower extremity injury" and didn't return, and he was eventually joined in the locker room by Kyle Orton ("upper extremity injury" AKA a cut right index finger).

On the positive side, Orton looked pretty good, and Tom Brandstater looked a lot better than he had in his debut last week.  Also, the first team defense was very solid, especially against the run.  Elvis Dumervil gave Orlando Pace a great deal of trouble, and his play continues to be very encouraging as he switches positions.  Both punters had outstanding moments, again, and it will be very tough to pick a winner in that battle.  Andre' Goodman had a very strong night, and Brian Dawkins made his presence felt, as well.

On the negative side, the offense was extremely sloppy, getting called for a lot of penalties, and turning the ball over twice (a Brandstater INT, and a Darius Walker fumble).  Also, the punt coverage unit gave up a 54-yard return to Devin Hester, which set up the Bears' first TD.  The only starting offensive lineman who played well at all was Ben Hamilton.

For a team that is definitely a work in progress, there are things to feel decidedly positive about, and things which definitely need to improve.  While this was not the resounding success we would have liked to see, I'd certainly rather be a Broncos fan today than a Raiders fan a few days ago.