WOLFE FEASTS IN DEBUT
CHICAGO --Ever since he was drafted as the Broncos' top pick in April, coaches have raved about defensive lineman Derek Wolfe's motor -- his non-stop desire to get to the quarterback.
Up until Thursday, he hadn't had that chance. Quarterbacks are off limits in training camp. They're not in preseason games.
"It was nice to get out there and hit somebody else other than our own teammates and make some plays and actually have a live quarterback," Wolfe said. "It was fun."
It wasn't quite as fun for the quarterbacks, as Wolfe took down Jason Campbell and Josh McCown for the first two sacks of his career.
"It happened so fast I didn't really have time to think about it," he said of his first sack. "It will probably catch up with me tonight, what happened."
The rookie said he always expects to make plays, so the sacks didn't necessarily come as a surprise. He was just glad to be a part of a defensive effort that held the Bears to a total of 132 yards in the game.
"We just showed what we're about," he said. "Our defensive line, we want to be the backbone of the team. That's what we're working toward."
Wolfe's fellow defensive linemen took notice of the rookie's productive debut.
"You've got to have some confidence after two sacks your first time out," defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson said.
"Derek's going to be good."
WEATHER AN EARLY FACTOR
Just before the start of Thursday's game, a thunderstorm sent players, coaches and officials off the field, and even fans out of their seats in the stadium.
The rain continued on and off during the early stages of the contest, and Head Coach John Fox admitted it made for some sloppy conditions.
"I think that kind of weather was a defensive coordinator's best friend," Fox said. "But we managed it pretty well. We held (running back) Ronnie Hillman out, he had a little bit of a hamstring strain and we didn't want to aggravate that with slipping. Very sloppy conditions early on, especially when the firsts played as far as receivers being able to hold on to the ball and those types of things. I thought they managed it pretty well. It was good practice."
Quarterback Peyton Manning said the biggest thing the slight delay affected was the players' ability to warm up on their own before the game.
"The first time we went out was in our shoulder pads and jerseys an hour before kickoff," Manning said.
Resourcefully, the veteran quarterback was still able to get some throwing in while standing inside the Broncos' tunnel during the lightning delay.
"I did throw in the tunnel," he laughed. "I think it's on camera somewhere. Somebody found it."
OSWEILER 'SOAKS IN THE MOMENT'
Rookie quarterback Brock Osweiler couldn't have asked for much more his first NFL preseason game.
"The receivers made plays," he said. "Really as a quarterback my job was kind of easy tonight."
The signal caller finished the game 4-of-7 for 38 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and the highest passer rating on the team -- 111.9.
The touchdown he threw was a 10-yard connection up the middle of the field to wide receiver Jason Hill that extended Denver's lead to 10-0.
"It was man coverage," Osweiler explained. "It's a real quick read. You have to make a quick decision if you're going to give the first read the football or if you're going to move on in the progression. Jason Hill did a tremendous job of getting a step on the defensive back. I just laid it out there for him and he made a heck of a play."
Most importantly, his team got the win. And he was able to live out a dream he's had since he was a child.
"I was really just trying to soak in the moment," he said, noting that the lightning delay helped him feel less rushed entering the game. "It's been a dream of mine to play in the NFL since I was 6 years old. So tonight I really wanted to take in that moment. My parents were able to make the trip, so that was very special to me to have them be here in the stands. Just to go out there and get the victory as a team tonight, that's what really matters. It's a good start for us."
For the Broncos' top two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft to have such an impact in the first preseason game is something Wolfe expects he and Osweiler will remember for a while.
"We'll probably reminisce, 'Remember our first game? We both had big games,'" Wolfe smiled. "It was a lot of fun. Just knocking the rust off, actually being out there and going live, I'm excited, I can't wait to get the season going."