Finally, we have a game to talk about.
And it sure was a good one wasn’t it? I mean, that was probably as good as it gets as far as preseason goes.
The Denver Broncos beat the Chicago Bears 24-17, pulling off the come-from-behind victory thanks to two big-play strikes on 3rd-and-long in the last seven minutes of the fourth quarter. Prior to that, though, the stories of the game was how the Bears kept the top two quarterbacks on the Broncos’ depth chart out of the end zone – and of course, what the Bears’ third-string rookie quarterback flashed in his professional debut.
But that only came after the two quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart delivered disappointing results. Here is how it all happened, in order of appearance:
Mike Glennon: 2-8, 20 yards, 0 TD-1 INT, 0.0 rating
There is nowhere to go but up for the player who entered the preseason as the odds-on favorite to win (technically: keep) the starting quarterback job. However, the calls for Mitch Trubisky (whose performance we’ll discuss shortly) to take over and push Glennon aside will only get louder. To be clear, Glennon is The Man (despite his flaws) right now and Trubisky is lurking (even if it could be tempting to start him sooner, rather than later) as the third stringer. Even still, there was no denying Glennon’s struggles in his debut.
His first three drives totaled nine plays, and featured more turnovers (2) than total yards (0). He then engineered a 12-play drive that chewed up 53 yards, but most of that movement came on the ground. Glennon, by the way, was just 1 of 4 in his final drive. The results of his eight pass attempts were as follows:
- Incomplete (intended for Cam Meredith)
- Interception, touchdown (Chris Harris Jr.)
- Complete to Dion Sims (6-yard gain)
- Complete to Kendall Wright (14-yard gain)
- Incomplete (intended for Meredith)
- Complete to Benny Cunningham (no play, 0 yards)
- Incomplete (intended for Deonte Thompson)
- Incomplete (intended for Zach MIller
Altogether, Glennon looked out of sync, but to be fair, the Broncos defense has shown a tendency to be able to do that to quarterbacks in recent years.
Mark Sanchez: 1-4, 4 yards, 0 TD-0 INT, 39.6 rating
Sanchez’s short stint in Thursday’s performance was largely forgettable because he served as the bridge from Glennon’s poor performance to Trubisky’s surprisingly fun debut. The quarterback who opened preseason as Glennon’s backup played just two series, and moved the chains just once thanks to a 26-yard Benny Cunningham run. After completing his first pass (4-yard catch by Daniel Brown), Sanchez missed on three straight to wrap up his evening. There isn’t too much to glean from here, considering he ran only eight plays.
After all was said and done, the first two quarterbacks listed on the Bears’ depth chart went 3-for-12 for 24 yards, with no touchdowns, one interception, and a rating of 4.9.
Mitch Trubisky: 18-25, 166 yards, 1 TD-0 INT, 103.1 rating
How the Bears were going to find practice reps and game snaps for Trubisky when there were three other quarterbacks in camp figured to be one of the most important puzzles the Bears needed to solve entering the 2017 season. On Thursday, we learned one way to remedy that was to give Trubisky the vast majority of in-game snaps during a preseason tilt.
Trubisky spent more time on the field than either Glennon or Sanchez, and made the most of it. He led five drives altogether, including scoring drives in each of his first three possessions – highlighted by touchdowns in the two-minute drill to end the first half and one in the team’s first offensive possession after the break. He displayed accuracy (72 percent completion rate) and mobility (38 rushing yards on scrambles) while bringing a spark to what was a listless offense. There was a lot to like and it played out over the course of 31 minutes and 55 seconds of game-time, so you’re excused if you feel good about the game despite the final score.
As for the next step, Trubisky’s development must continue. Thumbing through NFL.com’s play-by-play gamebook, here is a breakdown of Trubisky’s day:
- 30 drop-backs (27 passes, two of which were wiped away because of penalties/no-plays; three scrambles … but no sacks)
- 19 pass attempts from shotgun formation, two scrambles
- 3 attempts in the no-huddle from the shotgun
- 7 pass attempts from not-the-shotgun
As for Trubisky’s numbers from the shotgun: 12-18 (two no-plays because of penalties) for 117 yards, a touchdown, and a rating of 103.2.
Of course, there is a caveat being that we’re talking about a preseason game. Trubisky did a major chunk of damage against not-the-first-string. But don’t let that distract you from Trubisky flashing the tools that would make a team trade draft picks to move up one spot to take you with the No. 2 overall selection.