Peyton Manning made his long awaited debut in a Broncos uniform last night when Denver strolled into Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. Kickoff was delayed by about fifteen minutes due to severe thunderstorms. Rumor has it God wasn’t too interested in seeing the Broncos play without his beloved Tim Tebow leading them onto the field. Just kidding. Analysts always warn us not to put too much stock into preseason performances. What they overlook is the fact that it’s damn near impossible not to. Click the link for thoughts on all of last night’s game.Denver Broncos 31, Chicago Bears 3: The sight of Peyton Manning taking the field wearing anything other than an Indianapolis Colts uniform was certainly a jarring vision. Peyton quickly reminded viewers why John Elway invested $95 million to sign him. After lobbing a pass to Jacob Tamme for a completion of 12 yards, Manning threw darts to Eric Decker and hooked up with Tamme again to place the Broncos within scoring range. Manning last play of the game came on a pass tipped by Bears’ nickel back DJ Moore, which glanced off of the hands of Broncos wide out (a former Manning teammate with the Colts) Brandon Stokely and was intercepted by Major Wright. Peyton finished the night 4/7 for 44 yards and looked good in his only series on the field. Afterwards, he was very reflective. From Yahoo!Sports’ Mike Silver: “I got an email from [brother-in-law Will Thompson] today that said, ‘Hey, after that first snap, you ought to take a minute just to reflect about where you were at this point last year. Just the fact that I was able to be out there taking a snap in an NFL game … anybody, if you asked … it meant a lot. You’d almost have to talk to the Indy trainers, the guys that really saw me, that really know. Without getting too deep, you couldn’t make any predictions. There’s a lot of unknown to this injury.” … With Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Julius Peppers all sidelined, things got ugly in a hurry for the Bears. The offensive line did nothing to calm the fears of critics who think they’ll continue to underperform this season, giving up 6 sacks while failing to get any significant push in the run game. The lone bright spots: rookies Alshon Jeffery and Shea McClellin who popped up on various plays and illustrated their potential. Jeffery finished with 4 catches for 35 yards, while McClellin held his own is his professional debut. From the Chicago Tribune: “The first-round draft pick from Boise State showed the speed that led the club to select him with the 19th overall pick when he tracked down ex-Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie from behind for a sack. He was credited with two quarterback hits and three total tackles.”
The Broncos will face the Seattle Seahawks next Saturday, while the Bears will welcome RGIII and the Redskins to Chicago on the same night.