Woody Paige: Third-string quarterbacks were most impressive in Broncos vs. Bears preseason game

The Broncos’ best quarterback was the Bears’ quarterback.

Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch deserve participation ribbons.

Mark Sanchez proved he still can’t beat out either Siemian or Lynch, or anybody else.

Mike Glennon was dreadful.

And the two most proficient, impressive quarterbacks in the Broncos-Bears exhibition Thursday night were Mitch Trubisky, the Bears first-round draft pick of 2017, and Kyle Sloter, the Broncos’ undrafted free agent pickup of 2017, in their NFL debuts.

The two rookies displayed deep-dish pizazz in Chicago; the four veterans were as soggy and limp as leftover cold pizza.

Some days you beat the Bears, and some days the Bears beat you. And on this evening, the Broncos barely beat the Bears, and the Bears were beaten by a Bear.

In regard to the Broncos, several of their first-game, first-year players became horse highlights.

Mile High Kyle wears jersey ‘’1’’, and the Broncos No. 3 QB actually was No. 1.

But, get this: Sloter was the Bears quarterback last year. The University of Northern Colorado Bears.

The ex-UNC Bear completed 5 of 6 passes for 94 yards against the Chicago Bear-bared scrub defense. Sloter had a PERFECT 158.3 quarterback passer rating with one touchdown and without an interception.

He hooked up with electric rookie returner-receiver-runner Isaiah McKenzie on a 47-yard scoring play with 6:01 remaining in the final quarter for the Broncos’ first offensive touchdown. Sloter was steadfast in the pocket, waited for McKenzie to break free beyond Bears defenders and floated the football to him accurately.

That’s the kind of exciting, dramatic passing play the Broncos generally have been lacking since the retirement of Peyton Manning.

Then, with 1:49 to go, still another rookie, running back De’Angelo Henderson, took a handoff from Sloter, slipped through the Bears’ front and blazed 41 yards for the winning touchdown.

That’s the kind of exciting, dramatic running play the Broncos generally have been lacking since C.J. Anderson used to do it in the Super Bowl championship season – before he was injured last season.

Welcome back – finally – Broncos’ offense – at least for one quarter.

This year’s first-round draft choice – left tackle Garett Bolles – started and played with passion and skill early before leaving with the first-team offense.

That’s the kind of power left tackle the Broncos have been lacking since the injury, then departure, of former first-round draft choice Ryan Clady (who recently announced his retirement).

The Broncos also got decent performances from these rookies:  Carlos Henderson, who had a reception, a tackle on special teams and three kickoff returns; Jamal Carter Sr., an undrafted free agent and imposing camp presence at safety (he will make this team), who finished with a team-high six solo tackles, a quarterback hit and the recovery of a bounce-about Chicago fumble; nose tackle Tyrique “”Meat Loaf’’ Jarrett; secondary candidates Orio Stewart (not to be confused with Darian Steward) and Chris Lewis-Harris (not to be confused with Chris Harris Jr., who had a combined nine tackles and one pass defended), and Brendan Langley (third round selection), who be a cornerback contributor on the roster in the dime defense.

Second-round pick DeMarcus Walker seemed rather ineffective. The Broncos’ other two draft picks – Jake Butt and Chad Kelly – are on the PUP (physically unable to play) list – but some social media balloons already are claiming Kelly could be the Broncos’ most promising quarterback for this season. He likely will be red-shirted all season.

However, as he did after last week’s scrimmage, coach Vance Joseph described the play of Siemian and Paxton as “”solid’’.

As I wrote after last week’s scrimmage, the two are not playing “”solid’’. They are more liquid and fluid.  Yes, Siemian was 6 of 7 in passing, for 7.3 yards per attempt, for 51 yards and a 97.0 passing evaluation, and Lynch was 6 of 9 for 42 yards and a 77.1 rating. But neither sparkled like a bright star.

Especially Lynch, who continues to look as if he could have been a castaway character on “”Lost’’.

Siemian is vanilla – which is tasty as an ice cream flavor, but not as a quarterback.

For the second year, Siemian is destined to win the starting position by default, and that’s not his fault.

After mucking it on the field, without a touchdown between them or a Sloter-like effort, the two quarterbacks were seen yukking it up on the sideline, as if they had something strong to be thrilled about. They should have been sulking.

Asked if Sloter would now be in the starting quarterback mix, Joseph said rather succinctly: “”No.’’

Siemian and Lynch in the mix, but Lynch is the trail mix, and Siemian hasn’t shown much of anything.

We know Sanchez (1 of 4 for 4 yards, but he didn’t fumble or throw an interception) couldn’t be in the mix.  Glennon, the expensive backup the Bears acquired in the off-season before trading four picks and exchanging the third overall choice in the draft to the 49ers for the No. 2 pick to take Trubisky, was unspectacular – 2 of 8 for 20 yards and a pick-six to Chris Harris on his second throw.

Trubisky, whose acquisition was decried (and cried over) in Chicago, changed those blasters to bandwagon-jumpers by hitting on all cylinders and 18 of 25 passes for 166 yards, a touchdown and a 103.1 passer rating.

The quarterback situations for the Broncos and the Bears were turned upside down, and all around, Thursday night.

Sloter and Trubisky could grin, and the other four quarterbacks and the rest of us had to bear it.

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