CHICAGO (AP) — Denver Broncos rookie and Flathead High School grad Brock Osweiler threw four completions for 38 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL game as Denver beat the Chicago Bears 31-3 in its preseason opener on Thursday.
Osweiler started the second half for the Broncos, guiding the team to two touchdowns.
His first touchdown pass as a pro came with 2:11 left in the third quarter, when he launched a bullet on a slant over the middle to Jason Hill, who ran it in 19 yards for the score.
On his three drives, Osweiler was 4 for 7 for 38 yards and a touchdown.
It was also Peyton Manning’s first appearance with the Broncos, though it was brief and a bit uneven.
Manning got intercepted near the goal line on the game’s opening possession and watched from the sideline the rest of the way.
All eyes were on Manning and the results were mixed for the four-time MVP. Considering he missed all of last season with a nerve injury in his neck that weakened his throwing arm and led to his tearful farewell from the Indianapolis Colts, it was hardly a surprise.
Manning is trying to show he still has something left with Denver, and all things considered, coach John Fox was impressed.
“He was remarkable,” Fox said. “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.”
On a cool and rainy night, Manning completed 4 of 7 passes for 44 yards, but didn’t have to contend with Julius Peppers or Brian Urlacher. He had all the time he needed, too, so it remains to be seen how he’ll handle a big hit.
But even with little pressure, he still was a bit off target against Chicago.
On the game’s first play from scrimmage, his pass was broken up by Chicago’s Lance Briggs, and his second was nearly picked off, too. The Bears’ Geno Hayes tipped the ball near midfield, but Jacob Tamme hauled it in for a 12-yard gain to the Chicago 39.
After a short run by Willis McGahee, Manning found Eric Decker on the left for 10 yards. A 19-yarder to Decker a few plays later put the ball on the 14, and the Broncos looked like they were poised to score.
Instead, on third down at the 12, Manning got picked off when Denver’s Brandon Stokley deflected a pass and Major Wright dived for the interception at the 2.