Sunday, August 15, 2010

Broncos Gameday Recap: Preseason Game 1 - at Bengals

Bengals 33 Broncos 24


When is a 33-24 loss encouraging? When it's the opening preseason game, and your starters outplay their starters 14-0. It was a beautiful night in Cincinnati, and the Broncos had a whole offseason of rust to shake off, as well as a whole brand new shiny quarterback to show off. It was a festive night for Broncos fans, even if it doesn't take long to remember why preseason football sucks.

It was a tale of two games, the first quarter versus the rest of the game. The first teams looked swell. Kyle Orton looked like Joe Montana, consistently making good decisions and better throws. He threw for two TD's, including one that came from a beautifully run route from Eddie Royal, who will hopefully rebound from a down sophomore year to lead the rather underwhelming receiving corps this season.


Once the second quarter started, things look less bright. Brady Quinn looked atrocious. If the former Notre Dame star is going to resuscitate the expectations he had when the Browns drafted him, he's going to need to look significantly better than that. His accuracy was all over the place, and he stared down Britt Davis late in the first half which led to an easy pick six for David Jones (It made me feel good to know that he was literally taking a football to Davey Jones' locker, though...)


The event that was most anticipated in this game, namely Tim Tebow making his debut in the NFL, was mostly nondescript. He was booed lustily by many in the Cincy crowd, he had a beautiful long pass down the sidelines that bounced off his receiver's hands, he was abused by a large Bengal defender into what looked like a fumble returned for a touchdown...until Josh McDaniels threw out the red challenge flag and it turned out that he only threw an incomplete pass on the play, plus he barreled his way into the end zone for a meaningless touchdown on the game's final play.

If I were to give one word to describe Tebow's performance, it would be awkward. He didn't look terrible, he didn't look great; he looked mostly like a talented rookie with a weird throwing motion who has a lot of growing up to do, but shows promise. I am encouraged by how he handled the night, even if there were far too many three and outs to my liking, and if he keeps trying to pile drive defenders, he is going to get destroyed at this level. All said, though, Tebow should probably be number 2 on the depth chart at this least if tonight is any indication of what has been happening thus far in training camp. Quinn looks atrocious.

Matt Willis: So Unknown, that this was the best photo I could find of him.

If anyone made an impression tonight, it was Matt Willis...a Wide Receiver that I had never heard of before this evening. He was making some impressive grabs and was coming down with catches despite getting severely interfered with. His only negative play was failing to corral a Tebow pass that would have been another long gainer, but number 12 has definitely impressed me with what he did on the field tonight. I find myself greatly hoping he makes the team, just so I can shout, "That's what I'm talking about, Willis!" when he makes a play...because that would be glorious.

So to recap, it's preseason, so who cares who won. I guess you'd rather be on the other end, but there is reason for optimism after this generally entirely meaningless game. Best player of the night: Kyle Orton, who was superb. Worst player of the night: Brady Quinn who was whatever the polar opposite of superb is. Tim Tebow's debut? A moderate success...and yes, I'm all about talking about Willis.

Other noteworthy things:

1. Carson Palmer has a brother, this brother is also a quarterback, this brother also plays for the Bengals...I had no idea until tonight. Also: Carson has nothing to worry about.

2. I didn't say much about the defense, but I should throw a shout out to Champ Bailey. This just in, he's still good.

After a long and painful offseason, it's good to have the boys back. Go Broncos!

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