The Denver Broncos set expectations a mile high with the debut of Peyton Manning on Thursday night, and while he threw a mere seven passes, the results are positive. Manning’s first drive as a Bronco ended with a tip drill interception on a pass intended for Brandon Stokley that was either broken up, dropped, or both, right into the waiting arms of a Bears defender.
The Broncos’ new general looked pretty comfortable and efficient in the pocket, though he did have another pass that was tipped and eventually caught for a first down by Jacob Tamme. Manning was able to hit Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas to the outside, including a long third down conversion to Decker that put the Broncos into scoring range.
Obviously it was a brief debut for Manning, but I think it was a positive ones and Broncos fans obviously have to be encouraged by what they saw from the defensive line, which had about 100 sacks on the Bears. Rookie tackle and top pick Derek Wolfe had three tackles and two sacks, and second year player Jeremy Beal also added two sacks. Beal is fighting for a roster spot and having two sacks is a great way to start toward making the team.
Manning didn’t take any hits to speak of, and as a general whole, the Broncos’ first team offense looked really good. They need to get some chemistry and timing down, but it was an encouraging debut for Denver.
I will be watching the full game tomorrow to offer full analysis on all of the young players who surprised and did well.