The Denver Broncos wrapped up their 2015 preseason with a Brockin' rockin' first offensive play - Brock Osweiler to Andre Bubba Caldwell in a classic Gary Kubiak play-action rollout for a 78-yard touchdown.
78-yard drive? Nobody has time for all that. Brock Osweiler's going for 78 + 6 with one throw. #AZvsDEN http://t.co/q9B36e3IBI— NFL (@NFL) September 4, 2015
Their defense took that momentum and ran with it - or, should I say, sacked with it - as Shaquil Barrett, Shane Ray, and Todd Davis all enjoyed the fruits of their pass rush labors. The Broncos shot to a 13-3 lead in the blink of Peyton Manning's watchful eye behind Osweiler's big arm and the defense's big presence (three sacks in the first quarter alone).
Phillip Sims (not that guy - the Arizona Cardinals' backup QB) was able to bounce back enough from those hustles to lead Arizona to a touchdown drive to make it 13-10 at the half.
In the second half, the Cardinals and Broncos exchanged touchdowns - Cardinals QB Logan Thomas had probably the prettiest throw of the night - while Trevor Siemian saw his night that started oh-so-good spoiled by a disastrous interception. The Broncos attempted to mount a comeback, but Brandon McManus missed a 51-yard field goal attempt with a minute to play, and the Cardinals kneeled to win 22-20.
Running back battle
The story of the night was Montee Ball vs. Kapri Bibbs, and while Ball got plenty of touches, it was Bibbs who made the most of his opportunities.
Ball: 16 for 27 Bibbs: 4 for 22 Yup, it's just the offensive line. Oh and Bibbs can play special teams. Get making excuses guys :)— Scotty Payne (@Skotty_Payne) September 4, 2015
AND @KapriBibbs JUST HAD HIS @Terrell_Davis moment!!!— The Orange Page (@theorangepage) September 4, 2015
The problem with Ball is that he isn't showing the speed or tackle-breaking ability or vision that you'd expect from a second round pick. It'd be great if he was putting any one of these talents on display, but right now they're just not translating to the football field. Meanwhile, Bibbs is hurting people on offense and on special teams.
Is Ball's bell rung? We'll see.
Trevor Siemian (nearly) leads a comeback
Trevor Siemian already led one 4th-quarter comeback win this season. Against the Cardinals, he had another opportunity, trailing 22-20 with four minutes to play. Siemian converted two 4th downs (one was converted thanks to a defensive penalty) to move the Broncos into field goal range. He had big help from Bennie Fowler, who shined and potentially made the team as a sixth wide receiver, before Brandon McManus missed a 51-yard field goal to end the game.