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Broncos vs. Bears: Denver's Biggest Winners and Losers

Joe Rapolla Jr.Featured ColumnistAugust 10, 2012

Broncos vs. Bears: Denver's Biggest Winners and Losers

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    Overall, the intensity at Soldier Field on Thursday night was low.

    The Chicago Bears' four biggest stars—quarterback Jay Cutler, running back Matt Forte, defensive end Julius Peppers and linebacker Brian Urlacher—did not even take the field.

    The Denver Broncos won 31-3, and it was largely a contest of second and third teams. 

    Peyton Manning, the most highly touted start of the game, played for one series. 

    Not a surprise, but the "losers" of this first preseason matchup may have been the poor fans who took the time to come out. 

LOSER: Caleb Hanie

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    Caleb Hanie, whether it was justified or not, was booed from the second he took Solider Field. The reason, of course, was because Bears fans were remembering last season.

    Starting quarterback Jay Cutler went down when the Bears were 7-3, and under Caleb Hanie, they proceeded to finish the season 8-8. 

    Hanie had clearly not been forgiven, and he didn't look much better for Denver, either. He completed only 50 percent of his 14 passes and was outperformed by rookie Brock Osweiler, who went 4-of-7 with a touchdown. 

WINNER: Xavier Omon

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    Running back Xavier Omon is not considered a favorite to make the final roster, and although this may be the reason that he received seven carries, he still made the most of them. 

    Omon scurried for team-high 36 yards and found the end zone. His highlight was an impressive-looking 10-yard run.

    Denver has a lot of running backs on the roster, and with Willis McGahee old and Knowshon Moreno difficult, any of them have a fighting chance to make an impact. 

LOSER: Knowshon Moreno

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    I wonder if Knowshon Moreno realizes by now that he doesn't have a starting role on the team. If his lack of productivity continues, he might not even have a spot.

    The former first-round pick acted like a big star when he came into the league, and he proved to be obnoxious and injury prone. Moreno has not played in 16 games since his rookie season. 

    On Thursday, Moreno managed only 20 yards on his five carries. He was outperformed by Xavier Omon, Jeremiah Johnson and Lance Ball, who found the end zone. 

WINNER: Cornelius Ingram

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    Tight end Cornelius Ingram only caught two passes, but one of the them was a 25-yard touchdown pass that looked real good for both him and fourth-string quarterback Adam Weber. 

    Inrgam is in a really good position being signed to Denver. The third tight end spot, after Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen, is wide open. Virgil Green is facing suspension for four games and Julius Thomas has proven nothing more than Ingram. 

    This could be the year that the former Florida Gator gets his starting spot in the NFL

WINNER: Jason Hill

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    Another winner on the receiving end was veteran wide receiver Jason Hill

    Denver signed Hill this offseason after he was unexpectedly cut by Jacksonville midway through last season. Jacksonville stunk; Hill is a good player. 

    Hill is entering his seventh year in the NFL, and his experience will be much appreciated with a group of very young receivers.

    He connected on a 19-yard touchdown with rookie quarterback Brock Osweiler, and this will no doubt please the Denver management, as Hill showed he can work with the team's many young players. 

Conclusion

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    Denver looked very fluid on both sides of the ball, and if this game means anything, the fans should be excited.

    Critics will point out Peyton Manning's interception, which I'll admit was not pretty, but it was also an amazing defensive play by Bears safety Major Wright. He will no doubt find his groove once he plays more than one series.

    What's really promising for the Broncos about last night's game is that they showed the world that their team is complete. Offensively, defensively, second team, third team—they can play and they can win.

    Their chemistry looked fantastic, and while one preseason game is in no way an accurate judge of a season to come, Denver looked like a clicking team on Thursday night in Chicago. 

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