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Broncos 24, Bears 17: Gameballs for the third-string heroes

Some of these guys will find themselves rising on the depth chart next week!

NFL: Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s always good to start a new year with a gameball post as opposed to a loss when we do highlights and lowlights. It was looking like a loss through the first and second team Denver Broncos, but then the third team came out and brought the ‘juice’ to beat the Chicago Bears late.

Here are our game balls for this preseason victory.

Kyle Sloter

My gameball is no surprise to anyone, and I get it - Kyle Sloter was facing a third-string defense. But he gets a gameball for doing what no other QB on the team could do - lead the offense to a touchdown - even two of them. He showed poise for his first NFL game and didn't hold back.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Sloter said after the game. “That’s how I got here from Northern Colorado. The starter went down my senior year. I stuck with it. I was prepared to go out there. That’s the name of the game, just being ready for your opportunity and next man up.”

He's always said he just wanted a shot, and he took advantage of his reps when he got them. #TeamSloter. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

De’Angelo Henderson

Henderson was grinding early on with his touches, getting just 13 yards on six carries. His biggest run of the night was a big run down near the red zone that was called back for a hold, but he would not be denied.

On 3rd down and 22 with the game tied and time running out, Henderson burst through a hole and ran 41-yards for the game-winning score. He seems to have excellent burst and vision, but also seems to get lost by the defense - a good trait for a downhill runner like Henderson.

With Devontae Booker out and Jamaal Charles not playing either, I would love to see what this kid can do with the second-team behind C.J. Anderson. - Tim Lynch

Jamal Carter

I was not expecting to see Jamal Carter in the first quarter, but boy did we all. He was in on coverage with the actual #NoFlyZone and seemingly placed himself among the #BabyNoFlyZone stealing his official membership. Carter played like a firecracker, but like the kind you have to drive to Wyoming for. He was dirty, he had the first fumble recovery of his NFL career with 5:35 left in the 1ST QUARTER. Godspeed, Young Carter. We are all bearing witness. - Ian Henson

Kasim Edebali

There's been some justified concern in Broncos Country over how the team will compensate for the short term absences of Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett. Last night, Kasim Edebali may have shown us that we don't have much to be worried about. Chris Harris returning that pick for six is a highlight we're all going to remember from the game. Edebali is one of the big reasons it happened. Coming off the edge, he went right around Bears left tackle Charles Leno and was a split second from sacking Glennon, forcing the bad throw. He was solid during the rest of his snaps, but that was a much needed highlight. If he can consistently generate pressure against starting NFL tackles, then the Broncos will be in good shape until Ray and Barrett return. - Taylor Kothe

Chris Harris Jr.

By the end of the game it was almost like Chris Harris Jr. didn't intercept a Mike Glennon floater and return it 50 yards for a touchdown. But he did and that gets him a gameball. The No Fly Zone was in full effect. The 1st string defense did what everyone expected. It only took three plays. Why not sit back and enjoy the beauty of Harris returning that interception to the house? It should remind fans that the defense is going to continue to dominate. - Adam Malnati

Cody Latimer

In a preseason game where our 1st and 2nd team offenses played with all the spark and enthusiasm of plain white toast, one player from that group shined, Cody Latimer. Cody finished the game with 7 catches for 54 yards and made some nice grabs on poorly thrown balls. While it's never a good sign when one receiver has 40% of your team's receptions, it does speak well to Cody's desire to show that he is not a bust. It also shows that he has a decent connection to both of the QBs vying for the starting job (3 catches from TS and 5 from PL). Latimer would have been credited with 8 catches, but one of his receptions was nullified by the off-setting penalties on that lone long (penalty-dependent) drive that our first or second team offense managed. - Joe Mahoney

Vance Joseph

Imagine this scenario: Von Miller lines up against the Bears, goes about his normal routine to make life miserable for Mike Glennon, jumps off the line and as he does, he feels something. He knows it’s not good. He goes down to the turf and Broncos Country holds its collective breath. It gets harder to breathe as the cart comes on the field, and Miller is assisted onto the cart. As he’s carted away, so are the Broncos’ hopes.

We don’t to have fret about that because Joesph didn’t play Miller and he shouldn’t the rest of the preseason. In fact, after the injury to Billy Winn, none of the starters on defense should see the field the rest of the preseason. For the decision to sit Miller, Joesph gets the gameball. Plus, he also got the first win of his head coaching career. - Ian St. Clair

Who gets your gameball for this Broncos win?