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Thursday, August 9, 2012
Observation deck: Broncos-Bears

By Bill Williamson


A look at the Broncos’ 31-3 road win Thursday night:

Yes, Peyton Manning's first game action in 19 months ended with an interception near the goal line.

However, there is no other way to slice it -- Manning’s Denver Broncos debut was a success.

"He was remarkable," Denver coach John Fox said in halftime quotes distributed by the team. "He came back -- he’s worked very hard. He hasn’t played football in [almost] two years. I thought it was a good first drive in these conditions -- it was sloppy. It was sloppy by the receivers as far as the conditions but I thought it was a very good first outing."

On a rainy night in Chicago, Manning, who missed all of last season with a neck injury, completed 4 of 7 passes for 44 yards. He had a dropped pass and his interception came from a deflection of a pass intended for Brandon Stokley on what could have been a touchdown. I’m sure Manning and the Broncos will live with his first preseason game ending on a deflected interception.

Manning looked crisp and he led the offense at a fast tempo. He showed his patented anticipation and accuracy on a 19-yard bullet to Eric Decker on third-and-17.

This is a work in progress and the Broncos have to be pleased with the first step.

Meanwhile, it was a strong overall night from the Broncos. Denver looked pretty good.

Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, a second-round pick, was a stud. He had two sacks. He has been outstanding in the training camp and he was just as aggressive against the Bears.

Overall, Denver’s defense looked good. It was aggressive and made a lot of plays on every layer of the defense.

Second-round pick Brock Osweiler looked comfortable at quarterback, completing 4 of 7 passes for 38 yards. Caleb Hanie was OK, but I can see Osweiler pushing him for the No. 2 job at some point this year.

Overall, this was a good first night for Manning and his new team.