DENVER — The Broncos first-team offense and defense showed signs of improvement, but the Broncos lost, 24-23, in the final two minutes in their second preseason game of the season at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on Saturday night.
Following last weeks 42-28 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Keenum and the first team offense needed to show Broncos Country what they were made of.
“Scoring points always feels better,” said Keenum, who led two scoring drives in three possessions one week after his dud of a Denver debut. “We executed. I think I finally got into a rhythm.”
Although the offense went three and out on their first series, the first-team defense backed up Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense to the goal line. Following a bad snap to Trubisky, Bradley Chubb was there to force the safety.
The first-team offense also started looking good during their second series as Keenum and the Broncos got their first first down of the preseason. The Broncos made it to the red zone where Keenum overthrew Emmanuel Sanders on first and goal and then missed the fingertips of DaeSean Hamilton open in the end zone.
The Broncos settled for a 26-yard field goal from Brandon McManus to make it 5-0.
Trubisky passed to Trey Burton for a touchdown to give the Bears the lead at the beginning of the second quarter.
The first-team offense continued to find their groove and score their first touchdown of the preseason. The offense marched down the field in nine plays, 82 yards and topped it off with Royce Freeman running it in for the touchdown
Case Keenum hit Jeff Heuerman for the two-point conversion to make it 13-7.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 19, 2018
Keenum would finish the night with 8/13 passing for 78 yards and a 78.4 rating.
Justin Simmons picked off Trubisky as Chad Kelly took over at quarterback near the 45 yard line. That would lead to a beautiful touchdown pass from Kelly to Courtland Sutton to put the Broncos up 20-7.
— NFL (@NFL) August 19, 2018
Kelly continued to look comfortable as he made big plays throughout the third quarter. Kelly was named the second-string quarterback over Paxton Lynch following his performance in the preseason opener.
Kelly would finish the game with seven of nine passing for 90 yards and a touchdown with a 145.4 rating.
With the Broncos in control of the game at 23-10, Lynch entered the game with about a minute left in the third quarter as the crowd at Broncos Stadium booed the quarterback.
“Well, I feel bad for Paxton, but our fans want to win,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “That’s what it’s about, it’s about passion, I should say. But I feel bad for Paxton. But he has to ignore it and go play. It’s professional football. No one’s going to hold your hand, so he has to go out there and perform.”
Lynch played poorly again.
Just one week after his 24-yard performance that led to his demotion, he threw for just 5-of-11 for 39 yards and was sacked twice.
But as Bears backup quarterback Chase Daniel led the Bears to a pair of touchdowns and a 24-23 lead with less than two minutes left in the game, Lynch would have the Broncos in field goal range.
Lynch hit Isaiah McKenzie on a short slant route and the receiver, who fumbled six times as a rookie, coughed up the football at the Chicago 37 and a Bears linebacker recovered it with 58 seconds left.