Things couldn’t have gone much worse for the Denver Broncos during their preseason home opener last night, dropping the third preseason game 27-17 to the Chicago Bears. Typically, preseason games have the significance of the latest developments in Jon and Kate’s relationship, but this game, with the return of exiled quarterback Jay Cutler in a Bears uniform, was intense. Cutler seemed nervous early but settled in and went 15-21 for 144 yards and a touchdown (via The Denver Post).
Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton’s performances so far have been hot and cold, and last night he went 12-16 for 96 yards and zero touchdowns. This isn’t all that surprising, considering the Broncos are operating without No. 1 running back Knowshon Moreno and that they’ve suspended their best offensive player, wide receiver Brandon Marshall (recap via USA Today).
Starting guard Chris Kuper may have broken his ankle during the game, and Orton gashed his right index finger, an injury that will have a major impact on his ability to accurately throw the ball (via The Associated Press). That’s in addition to wide receiver Jabar Gaffney breaking his thumb in practice on Friday. It sure seems like it’s going to be a long season, with a lot of setbacks. Maybe Broncos fans will be able to simply forget, as team owner Pat Bowlen may have done last season.
ESPN’s Rick Reilly reported late last week that the reasons for Cutler being shipped out of Denver—partly for not returning Bowlen’s calls—do not add up. Reilly cites three independent sources as saying Cutler called Bowlen twice during the drama and that Bowlen may have simply forgotten. If a poor memory is what got Broncos fans and their beloved team into this situation, maybe it’s the recipe for keeping them tuned in until the team can get out of it.