The Denver Broncos defense blanked the Chicago Bears offense all night long, while the special teams unit scored a touchdown and a safety to go along with two field goals. All around domination for the teams first preseason game.
This was a very good start for the defending Super Bowl champions who have plenty of questions that need to be answered before Week 1. Game Balls will help sort out which players answered some of those questions last night.
For a guy fighting for a roster spot, nothing will get the attention of the coaching staff more than a perfectly timed blitz up the middle for a sack and safety. Dekoda Watson is a guy who is making a strong case to make the final 53-man roster. - Tim Lynch
Jared Crick showed tonight why the Broncos Defensive coaching staff hasn't been sweating bullets about the loss of Malik Jackson. He showed off a very slick swim move a couple times on the night and was the kind of inside disruptive force that leads to big defensive plays. Welcome to Broncos Country, Jared Crick. Here's your first MHR Game Ball! - Sadaraine
The most impressive player on the field for the offense given he’s a rookie. He showed off his ability to run the football, take on defenders and continue pushing forward after contact. Booker also showed off his ability to catch the ball. But the aspect that impressed the most was his pass protection. That was the biggest question about him heading into the season and he answered it. The ability to block in passing situations is a must in this offense. It shows he has the potential to be an all-around, three-down back. Booker, even if the stats don’t show it, highlighted why the Broncos were so thrilled he dropped to them in the draft. He’s ideal in this system and he’ll only get better as the season progresses. - Ian St. Clair
Catching seven passes for 82 yards and doing it with every quarterback who took the field, Cody Latimer proved he is taking this do-or-die year seriously. With money hands and quick feet, Latimer's strong showing as a wideout - alongside his already proven special teams work - could have been enough to earn him the designated No. 3 among Broncos' receivers. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
"If you have three quarterbacks, you really have none." That is what we've heard all offseason. Who will step up? Who won't? I/m here to say that for at least Week 1 of the preseason, the person who stepped up and got my game ball is Mark Sanchez. Sanchez is by far the smoothest and most in control of the three. With respect towards Siemian who did it with the backups, Sanchez just looked in control and things flowed with him. I've said that this offense resurrected Jake Plummer's career and it will hopefully do the same for Sanchez, well, Mark took me literally by throwing a left handed pass. Thankfully it went out of bounds on a throw away so he wouldn't get it swatted from his right hand. But I digress. Sanchez looked good, looked in control, and threw the only TD of the night. Yes, he also threw an interception, but that was a CB breaking off coverage at the last possible second to tip a ball. That'll happen when defenders get paid too. Gameball to Sanchez as he takes a small yet first step towards cinching the starting role for our world champions. - Pete Baron
Adam Gotsis was the surprise pick of the Broncos 2016 draft, and then he came into OTAs and camp knicked up. Expecting a lot from him in his first NFL action would have been ludicrous. He won't show up in the stat lines as the best player on the field, but watching him disrupt the offensive line was affirmation that Bill Kolar knows what he is doing. Other guys flourished as Gotsis tore up his opponent, and was always in the backfield. He may have been a step slow, because the game is still fast for the rookie, but you could see his potential as a beast in the trenches. Exactly what Wade Phillips wants. Welcome to the NFL. - Adam Malnati
The former Louisiana Tech product stormed onto the gridiron against the Bears and accumulated two sacks and a forced fumble during his limited playing time Thursday night. Outside linebacker might be the most stacked position on the Broncos with Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett, but if Dora continues to make impact plays like he did in his first game as a Bronco, the team might have to find a way to sneak him on the 53 man roster. At the very least, Dora should secure a spot on the teams' practice squad for his efforts in camp and last nights' game. - Christopher Hart
Even in the preseason before the game the coordinators and head coach, sometimes a key player or two will meet one-on-one with the men or women that will be announcing the game. Here the announcers are sworn to secrecy a bit, they're allowed to say things if they happen, but usually can keep a secret if they don't. John Lynch and Ron Zappolo both mentioned at least three times that Wade Phillips told them before the game that he would not blitz. The Broncos finished the game with 7 sacks.
There's talk of a 2nd season Wade Phillips curse, maybe it's only a curse if you said the Orange Crush 2.0 couldn't do it on their own again. - Ian Henson
Rather than doing a poll this time, sound off in the comments with your game ball winner. There were plenty of players we weren’t able to nominate for game balls after that dominating win over the Bears.