Thank goodness for the Denver defense.
The Denver Broncos kicked off the 2017 preseason with a 24-17 win over the Chicago Bears, and while Thursday’s game was supposed to serve as a glimpse into the future, it looked more like a flashback from the past.
Siemian played fine. He completed six of his seven passes for 51 yards and managed to lead the Broncos to three points in the quarter-and-a-half that he played. Paxton Lynch, on the other hand, completed six of his nine passes for 42 yards but wasn’t able to muster any points.
While a solid completion percentage is nice to have, the only number that really matters, especially to the first-team offense’s case, is points.
The Broncos didn’t need a preseason game to figure out whether or not they still had a great defense. They already knew that.
That’s why cornerback Chris Harris Jr.’s 50-yard pick-six off of Chicago’s Mike Glennon was a familiar sight for anyone familiar with what the Broncos have done over the last two seasons. It was no surprise that the defense was responsible for the Broncos’ “first” touchdown of the season.
When quarterback Kyle Sloter threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie with just over six minutes to play in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 17, that was the first time the Broncos offense found the end zone on Thursday. Without Sloter’s strike and De’Angelo Henderson’s 41-yard scamper, both in the fourth quarter, the Broncos lose 17-10.
One thing the Broncos did need Thursday night’s preseason game for was to gauge the progress that Mike McCoy‘s offense has made all offseason. While Siemian may have looked a little better than Paxton Lynch, one thing neither quarterback did was get their offense into the endzone.
The Bears, who finished the 2016 season with a 2-14 record, are a team that shouldn’t be difficult to put up points against.
It’s unfair to make claims after one preseason game, especially the first one of the season. The Broncos are nowhere near a finished project and they’ll be the first ones to say that, but Thursday’s game looked a lot like a majority of the games Denver found themselves in last season. While the offense did show signs of improvement, the defense is the glue that holds the team together.
Defense wins championships and the Broncos know that firsthand. A win is a win, no matter how it comes, but the Broncos don’t have to win at the wire every week.
The beautiful thing about the Broncos is they don’t need to score 40-plus points a game to win. They don’t need to shoot the lights out, they just need to find a way to put more points up on the board than they did last season.
They have more than enough talent on offense to take the pressure of their defense, and if they can find a way to muster up 20 points a game, they have the potential to be a scary team.