DENVER --Just before Saturday night's Summer Scrimmage was set to begin, the skies opened up.
Heavy rain continued to fall throughout the evening, but that didn't stop the Broncos from taking the field -- or dampen the enthusiasm of the 44,349 fans at Sports Authority Field.
"We were excited we got to get out there and really kind of deal with some elements that maybe we're not used to, and on top of that give the fans a little bit of a show," wide receiver Wes Welker said. "We appreciate them coming out in the rain and everything else, so we were glad we were able to get out there and show them a little something."
After a 40-minute delay, the Broncos got the session started with individual drills, and even that provided some excitement.
Welker took off on a route and slipped a little on the wet grass just as the ball arrived -- but he still hauled it in and secured it before hitting the ground, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd.
"Guys, they got their focus back and I think we got some good work in," wide receiver Eric Decker said. "That shows really the character of this team."
The scrimmage began with the Broncos' first-team defense against the second-team offense, and when quarterback Brock Osweiler couldn't hear the play calls in his helmet, the defense took it as a cue to fire up the crowd to get louder.
The first big plays of the day came with the offense facing a third down. Von Miller screamed into the backfield for what was arguably a sack, but Osweiler got the ball away to a leaping Virgil Green. The tight end made the long catch on the sideline over safety Duke Ihenacho.
"No, not against Brock -- Brock's my guy," Miller smiled when asked if he should've gotten credit for the sack. "I don't have to get credit for sacks right here. I don't have to get credit for sacks in all of the ones that we get. As long as we get wins, then I'm doing my job."
On the very next play, however, Ihenacho came around the corner into the backfield to drop running back Knowshon Moreno for a loss. Another playmaker from that portion of the scrimmage was running back Jeremiah Johnson, who on second-and-long, still managed to pick up the first down.
Linebacker Wesley Woodyard was just happy his unit didn't allow any points.
"They've got some good guys out there, but it's our job to go out there and stop them," the linebacker said. "If it had been the first-team offense, it would have been zero points, too."
Once the first-team offense did get on the field against the second-team defense, a quick screen to Welker got the crowd fired up. Peyton Manning followed that up by a deep pass to Demaryius Thomas over rookie cornerback Kayvon Webster.
Later in the drive, Omar Bolden broke up a potential touchdown pass to Welker at the last second in the corner of the end zone, which fired up his defensive teammates.
But a burst straight up the middle of the line by rookie running back Montee Ball put the ball inside the 5-yard line, and when Demaryius Thomas followed it up with a touchdown from Manning, the crowd erupted.
"(Thomas) made a heck of a catch, kind of all spread out to the right where he was kind of the third read and he's coming across the end of the end zone," Manning said. "Any time you catch that kind of pass you know you might take a hit, but to hold onto the ball was a heck of a play."
When it was time for the third-team offense and defense to get their reps, a long connection from Zac Dysert to Quincy McDuffie drew the loudest reaction. That group finished with a Matt Prater field goal.
"I think the important part was to get those three segments of 12-play scrimmage in," Head Coach John Fox said. "It was a good way to get our first taste of contact for the 2013 season."
In the end, rainy conditions or not, the team was happy with the work it got in during the scrimmage.
"My last time being here wasn't so good," Miller said of returning to the team's home field. "Coming in here in the locker room, having positive vibes with all the guys and everybody's happy, it was a great feeling to get going. We go to San Francisco next week and I think we'll be ready."