Videos: Peyton Manning looks great, okay, bad in first preseason game for Broncos

Categories: Sports

peyton manning first preseason game broncos august 2012.jpg
Videos below.
Not that the expectations for Peyton Manning's preseason debut as a Denver Bronco were high or anything, but the intro to 9News' broadcast of last night's game against the Chicago Bears featured the sort of Leni Riefenstahl-style music and imagery that would have been appropriate to live coverage of Jesus Christ rising from the dead. No mortal could have lived up to those expectations, but Manning did. And he didn't.

Manning's teammates clearly were feeling the pressure. New tight end Jason Tamme was his first target, but he dropped an ultra-catchable ball, earning himself a modest version of Peyton's famed 1,000-yard stare. But Tamme made up for it shortly thereafter, hauling in a tipped pass that won't be part of Manning's highlights reel.

More impressive was Peyton's next chuck, to Eric Decker on the left sideline. The ball wasn't the sort of light beam Manning used to throw routinely during his prime -- there was a visible wobble or two. But it had more than enough zip to get to Decker quickly, and it was where it was supposed to be -- a pair of descriptions that didn't get much use during the brief Tim Tebow era. And a second pass to Decker, over the middle of the field deep in Bears territory, was even more impressive. It had the speed, pace and accuracy for which Manning will be remembered in that Hall of Fame induction speech that, we hope, will be delayed for a few more years due to his Broncos stint.

jay cutler done up right.jpg
Sweet Baby Jay was tired, I guess....
But then came a third and eight from the Bears twelve. Manning faded back, spotted Brandon Stokley with some room...and threw the ball slightly behind him, prompting another tip and a just-outside-the-goal-line pick by Major Wright.

After which Manning headed off the field, where he stayed for the rest of the contest.

What did we learn from these brief moments of pigskinning? Not that Manning can take a hit, because he didn't -- thank goodness. Instead, we were merely reassured that his arm seems fine, as do his football skills. His demeanor at the line of scrimmage was blessedly familiar: reading defenses, changing plays, communicating to his fellow players through sheer force of will. All of which Broncos fans had been hoping to see.

Loyalists also wanted to find out if the defense had improved, and the final score of 31-3 suggests that it was -- but reading too much into the lopsided score is, like the Bears' offense, almost entirely pointless. Starting QB and ex-Bronco Jay Cutler didn't play, apparently because he was exhausted from his wife giving birth (isn't that just like a man), and the Chicago squad as a whole came across as equally disinterested.

The desultory Bears effort made even third stringers for the Broncos come across like world-beaters -- although I'm willing to grant that Jeremiah Johnson and Xavier Omon look more than capable of displacing Knowshon Moreno, whose play was entirely ordinary, and that giant Brock Osweiler has all the tools to be the Broncos signal caller of the future, if only he can figure out how to use them on a consistent basis.

Still, this show was about Manning, and if he disappointed some viewers, such folks need to keep things in perspective. Peyton is not the messiah. But he may be able to stand in for Him every now and then.

Here's a slew of videos from and about the game.

More from our Sports archive: "Photos: Peyton Manning makes John Elway look normal size."


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16 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

A 'nerd' who knows football...

Well written piece, Mr. Roberts.

I agreed w/ nearly everything ,

 meaning it MUST be right !

Perhaps I don't want you in my fantasy league after all....

Victor Carrillo
Victor Carrillo

BRONCOS LOOKED GOOD, EVEN FOR PRE SEASON,, MANNING FOR PLAYING IN REAL FOOTBALL COME after him environment he did good..when Regular season starts they will all be on point...I'm saying playoffs perhaps even the big Championship Game...and I'm a Colts fan..but got mad respect for peytons game, his character on and off the field...shine my dude

Dave Shuck
Dave Shuck

Nah, I'm a pretty docile Raider fan. No real hate here. It's just a game; however, I still believe the Raiders get one from the Broncos this season, in spite of "Seyton Manning."

Don Scott
Don Scott

^^^ Does this count as hate speech ? =) .... Knowing you're a raider fan helps me see it from your perspective. If I were a Radier fan, Id be clinging to any sign of hope Manning isnt 100% too....Along with Von Miller, Champ Bailey, and the rest of the boys. See you in the regular season !!!

Dave Shuck
Dave Shuck

I did watchi the game. An INT in the red zone is not impressive. Those ducks he threw were not impressive either. I'm a Raider fan, I'm supposed to hate the Broncos. On a side note, the second string looked great.

Don Scott
Don Scott

Compare the presence you saw in the pocket last night to ANY of the QBs we have had to suffer through for the past SEVERAL seasons. All you can talk about are the three missed passes (two of which were catchable) and a lucky diving interception off of a deflection. You people are too hard to impress.... This is pre-season and I am very hopeful for the season after last night , but then again I WATCH football.

Ben Beeby
Ben Beeby

Wow trolling for Tebow content as well. Remember when Westword was edgy?

Dave Shuck
Dave Shuck

Manning's QB rating last night was a 36. 4-7 44 yds and an INT. How is this "good?" If it had been any other QB with those numbers, especially Tebow, you'd be screaming for a replacement already.

Jon Stevens
Jon Stevens

Never saw Peyton throw Ducks before... hopefully that rust goes fast..

Joe Feese
Joe Feese

Turd the int was a bad pass time to put brock in

Don Scott
Don Scott

9/10 Drive down the field into scoring position on your first drive. Great accuracy (a noticible improvment), ability to call audibles (like a coach on the field). I say only 9 for 10 (no points for not scoring), and dont fault him for a lucky interception off a deflection. Great job Manning and Broncos all around !

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