Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
OVERALL GAME GRADE: A-
The top unit looked excellent. Peyton Manning was crisp and the offensive line was very good. Manning threw for two touchdowns and the wide receivers stepped up and made plays. The first quarter may have given a number of opponents on the Broncos 2012 schedule a rise in blood pressure.
However, the backup units were abysmal. Caleb Hanie threw one touchdown but both he and Osweiler struggled. Osweiler struggled to merit even first downs. Weber got very few plays on the last offensive series and showed some promise. The Broncos gained just 27 net yards on offense in the second half.
With three minutes remaining and trailing 29-24, Adam Weber is going to get some playing time for the Broncos. Weber made an exciting play flipping the ball left handed while under pressure to Jason Hill for a 20-yard gain but the play was negated by a holding call on OL Chris Clark. Weber got sacked on third and long and that did it for the Broncos.
Osweiler hit Andre Caldwell in between the 1 and the 7 on his jersey but Caldwell didn't catch it. Now trailing for the first time all day, the offense needed to make a play. Osweiler converted a third down with a short pass to tight end Virgil Green. Osweiler scrambled and tried to pick up a first down but dove just short of the mark. The Broncos went for it on fourth down but a quick pitch to Jeremiah Johnson lost three yards and the 49ers took over the ball in Denver territory.
Ronnie Hillman showed some flashes. Running predominantly behind second and third string linemen, he had six carries for 13 yards and he had one reception for four yards. The Bronco offense once again went three and out.
Brock Osweiler stepped in at quarterback for Denver. Caleb Hanie finished the game 8-for-12 for 92 yards with a touchdown, a fumble and an interception.
Osweiler hit tight end Cornelius Ingram directly in the hands but Ingram dropped it. He may have turned to look upfield before he made the catch. The Broncos were then forced to punt.
A holding call by offensive lineman Adam Grant negated a scramble for a first down by Brock Osweiler and once again the Broncos had to punt.
Caleb Hanie came in to relieve Peyton Manning. On his first drive, Hanie had Eric Decker open in the seam but the pass was short and intercepted by former Denver Bronco Perrish Cox.
The wide receivers definitely stepped up. There were great catches by Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Stokely, Matt Willis and of course the two touchdowns by Eric Decker.
The Broncos moved the ball reasonably well after a SF field goal. After moving out near midfield, Hanie had the ball punched loose and the Broncos were forced to punt.
Ronnie Hillman made his first appearance and looked good. Knowshon Moreno is beginning to realize that his days are numbered if he doesn't make his move. He ran very hard, breaking tackles and pressing forward.
The offensive line has did a very good job in protecting the quarterback, and they opened up holes at times for Broncos runners. The test for this group may be can they get a yard when they have to?
Hanie finished out a drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreesen. That was a good drive for the offense and especially for Hanie.
The offense looked solid on the opening drive of the game. Denver took the ball, mixed the pass with the run and drove to the San Francisco 35-yard line. The offensive line protected Manning well and opened up some decent holes for running back Willis McGahee. McGahee finished the drive with two carries for 15 yards. The Broncos were forced to settle for a long field goal.
On the second drive of the game, Brandon Stokely made the catch of the preseason so far, tipping the ball to himself and picking up a first down. Manning went deep, lofting a ball down the sideline to Lance Ball for a 38-yard gain. Manning finished the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker.
The Broncos took advantage of a SF turnover and scored another touchdown. Willis McGahee ran hard through some good sized holes and Manning threw his second touchdown of the day to wide receiver Eric Decker.