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Kyle Orton is pressured by Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom in the first quarter. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Kyle Orton is pressured by Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom in the first quarter. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

What we really saw: As many who have observed training camp have seen, the Denver Broncos are undeniably Kyle Orton’s team.

The Broncos won the toss and elected to receive the ball, rookie Perrish Cox was back to receive the kick. Cox has been a much hyped kick/punt returner in Dove Valley and this would be most fan’s first opportunity to see the young man return– and he didn’t disappoint.

Cox got the ball on the Broncos’ four yard line and got it out to the twenty-eight. An impressive return given that, had he made it past the tackle that got him, the play would have been an immediate touchdown for a special teams corps that must improve if the Broncos are going to see any type of run towards the playoffs this season.

Orton took over from there, hitting wide receiver Jabar Gaffney for a gain of 31 yards. Immediately following that up with a short pass to Lance Ball and an eight yard completion to tight end Marquez Branson. Ball started at running back and Branson at tight end. Fans also got to see a split back formation with Orton under center; which had both Branson and Ball lining up in the backfield. Don’t get too excited though, fullback Spencer Larsen remained in Denver and congratulations as he and his wife gave birth to their third child.

Following the Branson completion Orton went for gold throwing deep to Gaffney, but ultimately coming up just a little short on the connection. Another Orton incompletion to tight end Daniel Graham was negated by a Cincinnati Bengals penalty for roughing the passer. Wasting no time Orton connected to wide receiver Eddie Royal for a touchdown.

Royal’s touchdown was highlighted by his after the catch quickness that allowed him to go untouched into the end zone, splitting Bengals’ tacklers down the middle and diving sideways between two as he cradled the ball into his midsection.

It wasn’t all great things from the Broncos first team however, as the defense gave up a 21-yard run to running back Cedric Benson at the 9:41 mark in the first quarter. Outside linebacker Robert Ayers was manhandled by a Bengals’ left tackle, as was middle linebacker Akin Ayodele by a Bengals’ guard and safety Darcel McBath (in for Brian Dawkins, who did not suit) over pursued as he ran to fill the gap. Benson busted through the empty air and charged forward before being caught by Wesley Woodyard from the side.

The Broncos were able to shut Benson down from there as Champ Bailey kept Terrell Owens non effective and the Broncos special teams was able  to keep the Bengals from scoring on the resulting 41-yard field goal attempt (with a little luck).

Orton’s second possession led to a Britton Colquitt punt.

Champ Bailey knocks away a pass intended for Terrell Owens. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Champ Bailey knocks away a pass intended for Terrell Owens. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

On the following Bengals possession Bailey split time covering Owens on one incomplete pass and Chad Ochocinco on the next incomplete pass. Proving that even with all of the money Darrelle Revis will end up getting from the New York Jets, he still won’t be the best corner back in the NFL until Bailey either loses a step or retires.

Back with possession Orton threw three incomplete passes, one just happened to be an incompletion to Gaffney that led to a pass interference call and a 40-yard Broncos’ gain. Then it became the Orton and Brandon Lloyd show, Orton called Lloyd’s number on three of the next five plays ending on a six-yard touchdown pass.

The Bengals’ first team offense did score, but it didn’t happen until the Broncos second string defense took the reigns. Benson scored on a one yard touchdown that was preempted by a Carson Palmer drive that started on the Bengals’ 22 yard line. The Bengals offensive surge should be accredited to a number of missed tackles and blown coverages that made the Broncos’ second string look like what they were; second string players.

Brady Quinn took over for the Broncos and J.T. O’Sullivan took over for the Bengals and it was a pretty quiet second quarter outside of a ball that Quinn fumbled and a Bernard Scott 48-yard burst that saw him pushed out of bounds by Nate Jones (a new Bronco whom Denver acquired during free agency).

At this point Quinn had not completed a pass; then he did to Bengals’ corner back David Jones who returned the interception 24-yards for a touchdown.

Quinn got it together on the next series completing a pass to Brandon Stokley for six before introducing the NFL to Matthew Willis who pulled a 21-yard pass interference penalty and then caught a 24-yard pass from Quinn (in which Willis drew another pass interference call, but the Broncos ultimately declined). Quinn looked to be clicking finally leading Denver’s two-minute offense effectively up until that point; before nearly catching his own pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. The Broncos settled on their only field goal of the night a 28 yarder by Matt Prater to end the half.

Cincinnati started the second half on their own 20 and O’Sullivan struck with a short pass to Scott that went 48 yards and left both Joe Mays and Darcel McBath injured following a collision between the two. Mays returned, but I’m not positive that McBath ever did. The Bengals ended up with a field goal for their efforts.

Quinn stayed at quarterback as the Broncos began their first possession and connected with Willis again for 30 yards (Willis led Denver in reception yards with 54). The Broncos ultimately ended up punting as did the Bengals on the following possession. Rookie returner Perrish Cox ended up muffing the punt and the Bengals regained possession on the Broncos’ 12.

Enter Tebow: You could hear the roaring mixture of boos and cheers as Tim Tebow stepped onto the playing field for his first snap as an NFL player

Tim Tebow passes against the Bengals. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

Tim Tebow passes against the Bengals. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

and as an observer it was hard to not notice that things are going to be different in Denver for awhile. Tebow opened up with an incomplete pass to Branson, a hand off to Bruce Hall and a deep pass to Willis that bounced off the young receiver’s hands. Had Willis caught the pass Tebow’s position on the depth chart would have been called immediately into question as his second pass in the NFL would have likely gone for six points.

At this point the Broncos defense consisted predominantly of third string players and those fighting to make the team; as did the Bengals. Cincinnati, led by Jordan Palmer, had a long drive and ended up scoring a touchdown on a one-yard run making the score 33-17 Bengals.

On the next series the Tebow led offense of the Broncos was flashy at some points (a 21-yard completion from Tebow to rookie Alric Arnett), but mostly ineffective as Tebow worked exclusively from the shotgun before pressure led to a Tebow fumble and ultimately a touchdown which Josh McDaniels protested and overturned. The pressure was a common theme for the Bengals defense and the Broncos offensive line could not hold for longer than a moment or two as they practically begged for Tebow to scramble. Yet the rookie (true to his teachings, likely) stayed in the pocket and tried to make plays.

Tebow was given one final possession with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter and the ball on his own 27. A 17 yard connection to Hall, followed by an incompletion led to a 33 yard completion to Britt Davis and a pass in the end zone to Branson. The catch was ruled incomplete and a booth review confirmed, but from the one review that I saw it looked as if Branson had actually caught the ball. This left the game clock with three seconds and the Broncos had the ball on the Cincinnati seven.

This is when Broncos fans got a taste of things to come, I do believe that Tebow had every intention of passing the ball, but wild horses can’t be broke– with no one open Tebow called his own number and ran the ball in Elwaylike fashion for a touchdown.


McBath, who was playing for Dawkins did not have a fracture, but left the stadium with his right thumb heavily wrapped and his arm in a splint.

McDaniels also apparently broke a toe when a chair fell on his foot in the locker room.

  • Vmec075

    tebow gonna be 2nd string next game..

  • T-Money

    Although this was a good way to get our feet wet, there are still a number of questions and concerns:

    Running Game (or lack thereof):
    The offense was extremely pass happy, and much of that I would argue is due to the fact that our top 15 or 16 running backs are all injured, but nevertheless I was consistently asking myself if we were ever going to run the ball.

    I'm not even going to touch second string.
    Despite the few big plays that the Bengals were able to pull off, the first team did a solid job for preseason game 1. About as much as you can ask for. But the question still remains about the health of the ENTIRE starting line up. How's the D going to look when 95% of everybody is healthy and ready to bring it.

    Special Teams:
    For all the hitting that went down in camp I don't think anybody paid all that much attention to the tackling drills. All around I would give them a C-. Leave it as a “needs lots of work”.

    To be honesty I wasn't all that impressed with McBath at all. Could have just been a poor outing all three QBs had his number all night. I'm a little worried about the depth if Dawkin's goes down.

    Eddie Royal:
    I felt like he was only on the field for that one play…his touchdown. What gives?

    Kyle Orton
    Champ Bailey
    Tim Tebow
    Jabar Gaffney
    Matt Prater

    Brady Quinn
    Matt Willis
    Alphonso Smith
    David Bruton
    Perrish Cox

  • flbronc

    i would like to see tebow with the twos at some point, only for the fact that i want to see him with better protection. i still think he is third in terms of being nfl ready, but we cant make any judgements accurately with that swiss cheese line he played behind last night.

  • anthony33

    Tebow was better than I expected given the circumstances. His release is worrisome, but hopefully his improved release will come with time and experience.

    I too would like to see him take reps with the second team and move into the number two spot.

  • areferee

    Good stuff “Money”…I think we saw our running game…#15 up the middle.

    Nice wrap up “I-Man”. I felt the glorious frustration with hints of real football all over again. Thanks.

  • herc_rock

    Willis dropped one pass. He was excellent otherwise.

  • herc_rock

    Tebow's release is going to get him killed at some point. He's the anti-Dan Marino.

  • Zanders76

    Tebows first pass to Branson was complete and the dropped pass to Willis would have taken him out-of-bounds.

  • Ian Henson

    If Tebow were a running back, wide receiver, center, linebacker, corner back… He would have most definitely jumped a depth chart spot yesterday.

    I don't know, as I said before, I always have to take into account who he's going up against. I don't agree that his play came in garbage time, because had he connected with Willis in that first series it would have been a whole other story with Tebow. However, he was against third and fourth stringers.

    The only way to really see is to get him behind the Broncos starting/second string line and see what he can do with a bit more protection.

  • Paradisimo

    All I know is Alphonso Smith looked awful and couldn't tackle my 86 year old grandma. We need to just chalk that one up as a mistake and get rid of him.

  • robtink242

    Okay what i got from the game was Kyle Orton was on fire… likewise his receivers… Champ Bailey is still a beast at Corner… We need DJ back like pronto… Ayers brought it like to see how he plays with Moss back… We need a ILB despritely or Haggan has to go back to ILB… Nate Jones looked liked Alphonso Smith… Cox and McBath was what i expected… where was Lendale White and Fargus because Hall and Ball where horrible(Visionless back) 3rd String Oline was horrible.. Backs ups on that D especially our fringe players better tighten up…

    TIM TEBOW first performance was decent— 8/13 100+ yards and scored on a run. Had he bless with the second Oline his performance would of been better, Willis my favorite Bronco so far this season drop a catchable pass.. but brought some swagger… he will only get better

    Brady Quinn was who i thought he was… a first round QB traded for a 6th round fullback in a pass happy league…

  • dogheadbrew

    Let's not forget two things, which I think are important.

    1. We have a ton of players who did not play. Yes we will have to deal with injuries all season, but several, if not most, of those players will be back for game one. That will definitely change our running game, maybe passing and a bit on D. What was on the field yesterday is representative of what we have, not an exact replica.

    2. This is the Bengals second preseason game. If nothing can really prepare you for football except football (as many pros have said), then that is a huge step up for their young guys and low tier players over ours. Does that excuse terrible pursuits and angles on 2nd and 3rd team D leading to gut wrenching runs? Not entirely, but it gives us some hope that our pups can recover and learn.

    All in all, I say good job. I'd give the whole thing a C+, but that's ok for your first practice test.

    QBs: Orton is our guy. McD, please DO NOT Plummer him. Quinn will get better, don't pass judgment on hi yet. Remember, buck ups do not have to be world beaters. Tebow is a gamer, but in game situation he went right back to that looping windup motion. That tells me his instincts are strong (duh), and he will get a couple balls swatted before he really cleans it up. He did show some accuracy though.

    Other random note: Props to the Denver coaches making Beadles and Walton play the whole game. For our QB (any and all of them) to survive these guys need live reps. I have no desire to watch them take every rep all four games, but for game one, perfect call.

  • Ian Henson

    This is true. At least on the tackling part.

  • Ian Henson

    LenDale White was out injured still and McDaniels said that he didn't feel it was fair to use Justin Fargas in third down situations. They were looking to use him on a first or a second down. McDaniels promised that Fargas would be in against Detroit this Saturday.

  • Ian Henson

    I did like that Beadles and Walton played the whole game, but Walton with that shotgun snap in the fourth quarter. What was that!? Haha, hopefully that was the only time that happens this season. There was too much on the line at that point for something like that to happen.

    I'd keep them in the entire preseason as much as possible, they're only going to get better. Denver has capable backups with the two Olsens and Hochstein.

  • Ian Henson

    The other thing that I loved from last night was Jammal Williams. I knew he was big, but he is humongous and exactly what the team needs. Hope he's healthy for this season and a couple more.

  • mikebirty

    how good was champ bailey? lets hope teams throw his direction in the regular season as much as the bengals did

  • T-Money

    It's hard to really rip on anybody in preseason week 1, but if a touchdown pass hits you dead in the hands you have to catch it.

  • T-Money

    It's all relative though. If you put Tebow out there with the ones and run the same scenario, you'd have their starting corner, who arguably could have made a difficult knock down… but you'd also have Jabar Gaffney or Eddie Royal running the route.

  • T-Money

    Champ is the man. His brought his A game last night for sure. If you watched close enough on the one TO break up over the middle he actually almost picked it.

  • T-Money

    In all fairness to the One's, I thought they did a really good job against the run last night. Minus that one long gash…

  • Nisse

    the running game wasnt that bad, ball had 6 for 27, 4.5 avg.
    and they probobly didnt run that much becouse they only had 2 players who knew all the plays, ball and hall. and didnt wanna risk injuries to an already injuried runningback squad.
    hall didnt play ball though. but he came of off buffalos practis squad, så u cant expect him to do play well.
    btw, quinn played with 3 string recivers(exept for willis), who wont even make the team.
    and a none existing running game.
    when decker and thomas get back he will play better. and if the running game gets better he might play lika a backup qb should.

  • robtink242

    Those receiver aren't going to make the team due to Quinn inability to properly pass the ball… he looked flat… the pic six he threw his timing was so off that it was a gimme for the opposing D… He certainly got better protection than Tebow yet still Tebow had a better game with lower quality receivers, backs and O-line.. that was just game one of the pre-season.. game two players have a taste of the speed the game is played, we will be running White and Fargus so there should be no excuse for use not to win.. especially if we are playing the Lions.

  • Jimmy

    I don't know about you guys, but Tim Tebow does not look like an NFL QB. He doesn't have that skill set. He isn't the type of quarterback who is going to be able to play in a rhythm and timing passing game (mandatory for the NFL), and he doesn't have the type of physical talents to make up for the deficiencies he has in terms of experience. BRady Quinn was bad on Sunday, but he at least knows how to play the position to some degree in the NFL. If he's in the game, the Broncos can still at least run their system. If Tebow's in the game, they're going to have to compress the playbook down to 1/10th of the size it is because he isn't physically capable of making those types of NFL throws. Bubble screens and 3 yard passes will only take you so far.

  • Colts18
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