Originally written on BroncoTalk  |  Last updated 11/20/14

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning throws before the Broncos' 2012 preseason opener against the Chicago Bears. The Broncos routed the Bears 31-3 in Manning's Broncos debut. (Andrew Mason/MaxDenver.com)

The hit everyone was waiting for never happened. Left tackle Ryan Clady would rather be penalized than see Peyton Manning get zinged during the Denver Broncos‘ first preseason game.

“Peyton gets creamed or I take a 10-yard penalty?” Clady asked rhetorically [via Mike Klis]. “Peyton gets clobbered or I maul this guy?”

The answer was simple, and Clady took the (suspect) holding penalty, just as the new Broncos offense everyone was waiting to see was just getting into rhythm. It may have been frustrating to fans to see Manning’s perfect 11-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas get brought back, but it was smart on Clady’s part.

With Peyton Manning under center, you can get those yards back.

That’s exactly what Manning did in the first quarter Thursday as the Broncos opened their 2012 preseason against the Chicago Bears, routing their NFC opponent 31-3. Manning completed four consecutive passes (not including the Thomas catch, which was called back) to move the Broncos 50 yards downfield in his first and only drive, including a 19-yard pass to Eric Decker on 3rd and 17 that showed the type of passing prowess fans have been drooling over.

It wasn’t all positive though. Manning finished the night four for seven for 44 yards, and his last throw was thrown slightly behind receiver Brandon Stokley. The ball was tipped by the Bears’ D.J. Moore into the waiting arms of Major Wright for an interception at the Bears goal line.

“I take the blame,” Stokley told reporters. “I didn’t run a great route and the guy made a pretty good play and tipped it up in the air. It wasn’t (Manning’s) fault; it was more my fault with the route that I ran.”

It was the end of Manning’s work for the night. Manning and the first-team offense would not contribute to the rout in Chicago, while all three backup quarterbacks led touchdown drives.

But it was Jack Del Rio‘s stifling defense, allowing the Bears offense to enter Broncos territory only once before the fourth quarter and never surrendering a third down conversion, that most impacted the final score. Rookie Derek Wolfe was an uncompromising force in multiple positions on the defensive line, netting two sacks. Malik Jackson, Jeremy Beal, and Robert Ayers also had impressive days for defensive linemen, while linebacker Nate Irving was a force at linebacker, leading the team in tackles.

You take preseason victories with a grain of salt, and you remember that the Bears were without Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Brian Urlacher, and Julius Peppers Thursday. But you find encouragement in a decisive victory and impressive performances on all fronts, even if The Man of the Hour ended his drive with the football in the wrong hands.

“(Manning) was remarkable,” Denver coach John Fox said in halftime quotes distributed by the team. “He came back — he’s worked very hard. He hasn’t played football in [almost] two years. I thought it was a good first drive in these conditions — it was sloppy. It was sloppy by the receivers as far as the conditions but I thought it was a very good first outing.”

Were you happy with Manning’s performance or disappointed in that last pick? Who among the backup QB’s looked best? Dish it out in the comments, and come back for BT Game Balls soon.

(Photo courtesy MaxDenver.com)


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Don Shula named in painkiller lawsuit from former NFL players

Kyrie Irving questionable for Game 2 versus Atlanta

Michael Sam signs with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes

Ex-A&M quarterback Kenny Hill transferring to TCU

Michael Bennett compares Pete Carroll to Willy Wonka

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

Warriors hang on, edge Rockets in Game 2 thriller

Farrell 'not ruling anything out' as Red Sox's struggles persist

Gretzky: Connor McDavid could be the next Gretzky

Bucs' Clint McDonald: Jameis Winston already leading team

Dana White: Rousey vs. Cyborg would break UFC PPV record

NFL icon Bud Grant zings Pats with Deflategate joke on Twitter

RG3 announces birth daughter's birth on social media

Don't listen to Nick Saban, the bowl system is just fine

MLB scores partial victory in minor league wage lawsuits

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

Madison Bumgarner homered off of Clayton Kershaw

Would both Towns, Okafor prefer not being the No. 1 pick?

Spoiler Alert Central: Pitfalls in online viewing of live sports

NYPD officer takes photo with 'Eli's brother' at Letterman

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.