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Published on 08/30/2009 at Sun Aug 30 22:22.
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Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) scrambles out of the pocket to avoid the rush of Denver Broncos' Elvis Dumervil (92) during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Denver on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski )

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) scrambles out of the pocket to avoid the rush of Denver Broncos' Elvis Dumervil (92) during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Denver on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Fans hoping for a Jay Cutler goose egg were disappointed Sunday night, as the former Denver Broncos quarterback finished his starting duties in the second quarter with a 98-yard touchdown drive that put the game out of the reach. The Chicago Bears went on to win 27-17 in Week 3 NFL Preseason action.

Of greater concern to the Broncos are the injuries they suffered Sunday. Right guard Chris Kuper, who did not allow a sack in 2008, left the game in the first quarter with what looked like a serious knee injury. Quarterback Kyle Orton also left the game with a finger injury, although his appears less serious. Safety Josh Barrett also left the game, while several other players were nicked up for a few plays at a time.

And while Cutler and the Bears will make all the headlines, the Broncos’ starters didn’t play poorly.

Well, most of them, anyway.

Orton was underrated, playing very well and going 12/16 for 94 yards. He completed passes to seven different receivers en route to a solid 89.5 passer rating. The offensive line, on the other hand, played horribly, and were called for penalties that brought back big Denver plays several times. They had protection problems and troubles in run blocking, but give the Bears credit – their defensive line gave them all they could handle.

Denver Broncos quarterback Tom Brandstater passes during an NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears in Denver on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009. The Bears won 27-17. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Denver Broncos quarterback Tom Brandstater passes during an NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears in Denver on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009. The Bears won 27-17. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The Broncos defense was equally aggressive, not allowing a first down until the Bears’ third possession late in the third quarter. Elvis Dumervil was everywhere, and while not tallying a sack, the team’s pass-rushing outside linebacker was impossible to keep back consistently. During one first quarter Chicago drive, Bears OT Orlando Pace got away with an outrageous hold on Doom in the end zone that should have been called for a safety. (No – seriously. I don’t usual cry about holding non-calls, but Pace held Dumervil for a solid three seconds, in plain sight, two yards from Cutler. The refs either ignored it or weren’t doing their job.) Dumervil was nearly there several other times, constantly getting in Cutler’s grill and even getting called for a late hit in the second quarter.

Safety Brian Dawkins made his Broncos debut tonight and played very well, making aggressive plays and finishing second on the team with six tackles (five solo) and tied for first with two passes defensed. Cornerback Andre Goodman, who got beat twice for touchdowns in Seattle last week, also made his presence known, breaking up a deep Cutler pass and being consistently aggressive in his tackles and coverage.

Because of the Orton injury and Chris Simms‘ ankle injury last week, the fans got their first extended look at rookie QB Tom Brandstater. Brandstater played the entire second half and had several eye-popping plays. He threw a bomb to Brandon Lloyd that might have been a touchdown if McDaniels had thrown the challenge flag, and another deeper pass a few possessions later to rookie WR Kenny McKinley. Like any rookie, he struggled as well, throwing a few knuckleballs as well as a pick that left him with a passer rating in the 60′s, but had Brandstater’s big plays gone to the end zone (both were close) he would have had a much more impressive outing statistically. He passed the eyeball test regardless.

The Broncos play the Arizona Cardinals this Thursday to finish the preseason, then prepare to kickoff the regular season in Cincinatti two Sundays from now, September 13th.

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Jonathan Douglas

    I just think the Cutler issue is distracting us from the real issue…

    Bronco fans are more motivated by the hatred of an ex-player than they are motivated by the passion and excitement of the current players/coaches on the team.

    THAT’S the problem. How do you fix that? Who on our team is going to stand up and give this team it’s new identity?

    It could be the Defense. The Orange Crush was our identity back in the day. Elway’s come-back-from-impossible-odds show was our identity early in his career and under Shanahan we became students of The Mastermind.

    But what are we now? That’s what we need. We need our inspiration. We need our new hero. And I have a feeling we’re not going to have that emerge until the regular season. Maybe then we’ll have someone (or some unit) that gives this franchise it’s new nickname and we will see this team establish it’s new identity.

    Let’s hope it’s earlier this season rather than later.

  • Vince_Marine

    BroncoNM….WELL SAID!!! We have some people over reacting in here. Just wait until the season starts to start panicking, until then just chill out!

  • jbirchbronco

    Joe,

    I beg to differ. Wasn’t it Cutler that started bitching when Shanahan was let go? I’m definitely not for letting Cutler go, but if I remember right, Cutler was the one that started throwing tussy fits w/ the organization as soon as Shanahan was fired.

  • soxbigdog

    I thought aside from giving up the 98 yard drive to Chicago’s first team offense.. the first team defense looked good..

    Cutler showed flashes of why a team is willing to give up two first rounders for him.. so it shouldnt be much of a surprise there…

    Things could have turned out differently if Elvis had gotten Jay in the end zone, and if Orton hadn’t left with his mega paper cut…

    Orton would be more effective with more weapons around him… aka… Marshall and Moreno…

  • wesley

    You all finally see what i was sayin all along.Goodluck this year.Im gonna watch Jay take us to the playoffs.Thanks Again!!!!!

  • Erin

    It’s easy, now that Cutler is gone, Broncos fans can openly admit that they do not like Cutler as a player or as a regular man, and it showed at the game.

  • kerry

    i cannot believe the bullshit im reading. now its all the refs fault that Orton sucked? seriously?!? just face the truth! Orton is a freaking joke! end of story! our O-line is NOT built for the type of blocking scheme McDaniels wants to run. Clady looked downright awful last night. is that the refs fault too? there is not enough kool-aid to drown out the terrible performance by this offense.

    THEN the defense looked equally bad. did Ayers even play?? not one sack on Cutler from ANYONE. and i dont wanna hear the “Almost” bullshit. almost doesnt count. again no INT’s or forced fumbles. and dont be alarmed people that burning smell last night wasnt your TV. it was just Alphonso Smith.

    but hey the Punters looked good!!

  • http://cdn0.sbnation.com/profile_images/111140/La_La_Mascot.jpg WhidbeyBronco

    Some FUNNY STUFF HERE!!
    I’ll Cast my vote with Jonathan Douglas … And a few others who agree with me …after all I’m right!

    We screwed up trading Cutler! I hope he does well if only to prove my point but also because I put a lot of my hopes with him for three years… that said… he’s a bear now.

    Go Broncos.

    McD? Now we MUST give this punk a chance to redeem himself. We have no choice. I’m hard pressed to root for him but I will.

    McD? Please grow out of this bitch I see you as? Please rebuild our team in your father’s hoody image.

    I’ll give you two years. (U ASS)

  • Gary in SD

    The Broncos could have learned a lot by watching how the Cards have been handling the problems with Anquan Boldin. You never trade a superstar like that, you do what Colinsworth said… Let them stew a multi-year holdout if they want, but never trade them away!