CHICAGO —** The first play could have gone better, but Trevor Siemian still appreciated it.
It's hard to like getting sacked, and it's certainly not something he wants to make a habit of, but Siemian welcomed the chance to feel some contact that he was protected from in offseason and training-camp practices.
"It was good to kind of knock the rust off, you know," Siemian said. "I was joking around in training camp: You forget you can get hit because we're wearing an off-color jersey and nobody can touch us."
Photos of the Broncos in action against the Bears at Soldier Field in the preseason opener. (photos by Gabriel Christus unless noted)
After that 7-yard sack to start the game, though, Siemian settled in, leading the first-team offense into Bears territory on two of his three drives under center. But those two possessions fizzled out. The first ended with a 38-yard Brandon McManus field goal, and on the second, the Broncos were forced to punt after a loss knocked them back out of Chicago's side of the field.
"Ideally, right, you want to score every time, but getting the ball that deep on your first drive and moving it down the field and kicking a field goal, on the road especially — if you look at the grand scheme of things — that's probably a pretty good first drive of the game," Siemian said. "And we only got a couple tries out of it with that first group, so I thought there were some really good things there."
After the third drive, Siemian's day was done. He finished with 51 yards on 6-of-7 passing.
At that point, Paxton Lynch entered the game. But the beginning of his night also had its own bumpy start due to penalties.
"Before we went into halftime, I think that we struggled a little bit moving the ball, missed some third downs that we should have converted on, but also had a lot of penalties that kind of set us back," Lynch said. "When we came out of the locker room at halftime, I thought we did a really good job moving the ball, but just like [Head] Coach [Vance] Joseph said, it was just too many penalties to keep us from moving the ball downfield into scoring position."
Thursday night's 24-17 win over the Bears also represented the first time the team could test the foundation of its new offensive scheme against another team. Though points were hard to come by early on, the two quarterbacks agreed that they and their teammates had a good grasp on Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy's offense.
"I think everybody is on top of it, but just like I said, the first preseason game, you don't really get to game-plan as much as you wish you could," Lynch said. "So it's just kind of our base stuff, going out there and executing that and playing fast, which I thought we did a good job of, but again the penalties hurt us from moving the ball down the field like I wish we could have."
Though the beginnings of their stints under center Thursday had their disappointments, Siemian and Lynch each felt their own performance had shining moments, and each thought their counterpart's did, too.
"I thought I did some good things, [and] I thought Paxton did some good things," Siemian said. "There's definitely some stuff I know we're going to watch and clean up. I can't really have a reaction right now without watching the tape and stuff like that, but I thought everybody did something good tonight."