The Denver Broncos lost the game to the Chicago Bears 24-23, but they really did manhandle them when it mattered with the first-team and second-team units. These top five plays from the game all occurred when those units were on the field.
Bradley Chubb gets a safety
A poor handling of a snap by Mitch Trubisky in his own end zone was all rookie edge rusher Bradley Chubb needed to get the Broncos on the board with a safety.
He was playing timidly in his first game, but let it loose in this one against the Bears. Playing opposite of Von Miller does put a bit of pressure on the rookie, so his focus has been on ensuring he does all of the little things right.
“It makes a lot of difference,” Chubb said of playing with Miller. “People in the game are looking at him. I feel like it puts the pressure on me a little bit more. They want to run at me, see what I can do, see if I can prove myself. I feel like having him on the other side is fun and definitely a test for me as well.”
He continues to impress everyone and will likely only get better as the season progresses.
Royce Freeman gets another touchdown
Broncos rookie running back Royce Freeman continued his march towards winning the starting job with his second rushing touchdown of the preseason. This one was only four yards, but his nifty footwork and nose for finding the gap was quite impressive.
Freeman now has 10 carries for 58 yards and two touchdowns in limited work through two preseason games. So far, he looks the part of a bell cow kind of back.
“I’m good,” Freeman said of his confidence level after two games. “Just going out there, I try not to get too complacent. Every week I want to go out there and get better and improve on my last performance.”
The Broncos will likely have a running back by committee approach all season, but we should expect to see Freeman get the largest percentage of touches based on how he is running through these two early preseason games.
Justin Simmons is a baller
For as much credit John Elway gets for his poor drafting, he doesn’t get much for when he hits a home run. Justin Simmons has been a home run pick so far. Speaking of picks, he jumped the route here to intercept Trubisky for a big time play midway through the second quarter when the Bears were threatening.
The Broncos are still having problems covering tight ends, but that could change when Su’a Cravens is healthy enough to play. Simmons looks like he’s going to emerge as a start in this league and may be a big reason why the No Fly Zone will retain some of its former glory in 2018.
Courtland Sutton bursts onto the scene
He has been limited to just 2 catches for 19 yards through the first two preseason games, but Courtland Sutton and Chad Kelly are definitely starting to get on the same page. This bullet from Kelly to Sutton was a perfect throw and a perfect catch. Welcome to the NFL, rookie.
Sutton figures to be a big time red zone threat as a rookie and plays like this will help confirm our belief in that regard. Broncos starting quarterback Case Keenum is excited about how Sutton will figure into this offense in 2018.
“He’s special,” Keenum said. “Having a guy like that, a young guy who’s pretty heady when it comes to those balls that--you give him a chance and really there’s three or four things that can happen, and a lot of them are good. He can catch it, he can go for it and get a defensive pass interference or it’s incomplete. I know that it’s going to be an incomplete at worst. I like throwing the ball down the field because he makes a lot more of those plays than he doesn’t.”
The offense has so much potential this season. It’s going to come down to execution, but we should all be excited to see what they can do in the regular season.
Tim Patrick is making this team
Chad Kelly has earned the backup quarterback job and its throws like this that show why. Kelly saw the safety would be late coming over and with one-on-one coverage he knew all he had to do was throw a ball up that could only be caught by the wide receiver.
Tim Patrick made an excellent adjustment on the ball to make the catch. It was a great throw and an even greater catch.
After hearing Patrick’s name over and over again during Broncos camp, it’s hard to imagine him not making this team as one of the final wide receiver spots.