The Denver Broncos looked as efficient on offense as they did in their 29-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers three weeks ago, but mistakes on offense and defense in the form of yellow flags kept the game much closer than it should have been.
On those penalties, Gary Kubiak addressed it with some good perspective by saying, "It's frustrating. Yesterday, I don't think that they had any penalties and what did we have, seven or eight? Something like that. We played a lot of man coverage and got put in some tough situations. We weren't getting to the quarterback. He was holding the ball a long time and we were having to hold up on the back end a long time. We committed some [penalties], but we made some plays, too. We talk about them and we keep working. I say this all the time, our aggression as a defense, playing man coverage and being aggressive is not going to change. Hopefully, our penalties can continue to get better."
It was a huge road win either way, especially with the undefeated New England Patriots coming to town. The Broncos will need to play their best game next week to get some more of these game balls. I'd love to see Brock get another.
Here are your game balls for the Broncos victory over the Chicago Bears.
This offense needed a spark and someone who could complete passes more to our team than to the opponents. Brock Osweiler had a very encouraging first start of his career. Did he look like a complete NFL QB? No. But he definitely looked competent. I'd say it was a pretty awesome first NFL start for a guy who's been waiting a very long time for his shot. His stats looked pretty darn impressive for a conservative gameplan: 20/27 250yds 2 TDs 0 INTs. Happy Birthday Brock and welcome to the NFL for real! - Sadaraine
Vernon Davis has acclimated nicely to his new team. He finished the day with six catches for 68 yards. He made several grabs that few other players in the NFL could make, which is what really impressed me. Owen Daniels had the bigger day, but he saw the field a lot more and as impressive as his game was, I just sense that Davis has a ceiling that is much higher. Once this guy is fully integrated into the offense, it will be Daniels who will see his playing time degrade to the more talented Vernon Davis. Overall, I was pleased with all three tight ends in the game. - Tim Lynch
The man with the iron knee cap.
In a defense surrounded by the best pass defense in the league and a quadrumvirate of the best pass rushers in the NFL it is hard to stand-out and that's what Danny Trevathan did against the Bears. He led the team in tackles, had his first interception in two seasons and he seems to have his swagger back. Jeremy Langford was not an easy cover, he split time between Langford, Zach Miller and Martellus Bennett. That seems pretty normal until you realize that Miller led all tight ends last week and Langford may very well be the second coming of Matt Forte. - Ian Henson
Ronnie Hillman showed that he wants to keep his role as the starting running back, rushing for 102 yards on 21 carries, with an average of 4.85 yards per carry. These are the numbers we want to see from our starting running backs. And how about that stiff arm!
C.J. Anderson had an identical average on only 12 carries, and I like the split time keeping both of their legs fresh throughout the game. If the Broncos and continue utilizing the run game with no turnovers, the offense will be competitive enough to keep us in games against teams like the Patriots. - Kelly Fleming
My gameball goes to the refs. Why? How? WTH Pete? Because, the refs were so historically bad and biased towards the Bears, that this might gain traction within the league offices so we don't have the same garbage happen next week against the toughest test the Broncos will face this entire year. This might be a Phil Jackson type of "call-out" to the refs which will then force them (refs in general against the team) to call a straight game the following outing lest the "are they betting money in the game?" rumbles could start, and then the integrity of the officials as a whole get compromised. We know the NFL won't allow that, so maybe, just maybe the complete embarrassment of the officiating crew will swing back to the middle and we won't witness this atrocity again. And while we're at it, can someone call a holding penalty when Von Miller is held? Please? Ever? Thank you! - Pete Baron
I'm going with the entire Broncos defense - not so much for the stats, which boasted an interception, two sacks (one with a forced fumble), but for the containment in the red zone all day long of Jay Cutler and the Bears. Starting the game by forcing a three-and-out was a superb way to bring Brock Osweiler onto the field for his first snap. Holding the Bears to field goals all day plus stopping them on 4th and 4 at the beginning of the fourth proved crucial as the win margin was just two. Though the Bears marched down the field with ease at times, the Broncos D never let Cutler get enough room in the end (despite being held many, many, many times). The two-point conversion stop was a fitting finale and showed a defense that didn't get rattled despite two terrible PI calls and a touchdown against it at the end of the game. Instead of unraveling with stupid penalties there, it buckled down and kept the score in their favor. On to New England! - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
I'm giving my game ball to second-year wide receiver Cody Latimer. He and Peyton Manning never clicked, but when Brock entered the lineup, Latimer joins the starting lineup(in place of an injured Emmanuel Sanders) and produces. Latimer only caught two passes today, but one of them was a 10-yard go-ahead touchdown pass on third down from Osweiler.
While this wasn't a big "breakout game" by Latimer, I think it's a big confidence boost for a receiver many people have called a bust. Hopefully we'll continue to see more production from Latimer going forward. This was a nice start. - Scotty Payne