Denver heads in without its top running back Selving Young, who is still nursing a sore knee from last weeks battle against Tenessee. Back in action is Javon Walker, who hasn't seen the field since Week Three following knee surgery. Other inactives for the afternoon include - FB Paul Smith, WR Taylor Jacobs, CB Jeff Shoate, DE's Larry Birdine and Paul Carrington and QB Darrell Hackney is listed as the team‘s No. 3 quarterback.
Buckle it up, grab what it takes and get ready to roll - kickoff is ten minutes away… don't forget to refresh you browser for all the latest info.
The question as to whether or not the Broncos will kick to Devon Hester was answered quickly - Todd Sauerbrun set it deep - Hester brings it out to the 29-yard line and here comes Rex Grossman - I can hardly wait.
Cedric Benson up the middle for a few - Grossman to Bernard Berrian is good for a twelve yard pick up and the Bears take it at the 43. First and ten - batted at the line - Second and ten is thrown away on third and ten Grossman hits Adrian Peterson out of the shotgun for two. Broncos force the punt and Glen Martinex gets buried inside the twenty where Cutler and Co. take control.
Andre Hall gets first bid - but goes nowhere bringing up second and ten. End around to Marshall is lucky to get back to scrimmage. Third and forever and Cutler's scramble almost turns deadly. Ball is fumbled but recovered by Denver - Three and out on their first possession - nice start. Chicago's "D" looks pretty amped - we'll see how it rolls.
Broncos punt is brought back to the Denver 47 where Grossman faces a short field. Rex to Desmond Clark - nice pickup for the first - Bears hold it at he Denver 25. Benson up the middle for a few. Benson again, down to the sixteen. QB sneak for the first and the Bears are moving fast. CB for three to the six. Pump fake to the end zone - catch is made but ruled out of bounds - Broncos catch a break against Muhammad. Gould split's the uprights and Chicago breaks out with an early 3-0 first quarter lead.
Denver better come up with a way to stop the run or this game is over.
Short kick is brought out to the 27 and Denver gets another crack putting something together. Punt bounces just short of Hester who bats it with his hands, (unbelievable mistake) Broncos recover at the Chicago 25 and continue the drive. Huge break for Denver. Hall off tackle for ten and the Broncos hold first and ten from the fifteen. Hall around the outside picks up three - quick burst up the middle and it's first and goal for Denver from the four. Bears catch on - Hall is dropped for three and it's second and goal from the five. Cutler drops back - pass is batted down by Brian Urlacher - Cutler's 0-3 for the day in passing. Make that 0-4 - toss to Daniel Graham is incomplete and Jason Elam bails it out from twenty-three. Broncos tie it up at 3-3.
Sauerbrun to Hester - brings it back to the eighteen. Grossman goes to the sideline with single coverage - Karl Paymah cuts it off for the pick and it's another huge break for Denver - two Chicago turnovers in the last 2:50.
Cutler takes it at the 41 - scrambles - moves it out near the 47. Second and four - Cutler off play action hits Scheffler for the first. Incomplete to Stokley across the middle brings up second and ten - back to Stokley who pulls it in at the Chicago 33 and it's another Denver first down. Hall for maybe one - Cutler finds Scheffler again but it's short of the first as time winds out in the first with Denver and Chicago tied at 3-3.
Broncos are 0-3 on third down conversions - quick toss to Marshall who slips on the wet field - nearly gets it picked. Shanny's pulling it all out for his hometown crowd - they're going for it on fourth and five. Cutler out of the shotgun hits Marshall - beautiful catch in traffic.
The drive is still alive and it's first down at the 23. Cutler around right end - pitches it out to Hall who bust it to the corner of the end zone and Denver grabs it first touchdown of the game and stretches it out to a 10-3 lead. All of Denver's points have come off Chicago turnovers this far.
Sauerbrun again sends it to Hester - ball is brought back to the 28 where Grossman takes over.
Back to back to Benson doesn't get much. Again to Benso who breaks is for a big one - 21-yard gain but Benson is hurt. Terrible news for Chicago - the cart is heading for the locker room. Replays look like he got rolled up on the tackle - either way it looked serious.
Peterson's in as replacement - picks up a couple and it's second and eight from the 42. Toss to the sideline is enough for the first at the 31. Broncos blitz - Dre Bly drops Grossman hard - loss of eleven brings up third down. Toss to Peterson is good fort a few but nowhere near the first and it's still too much for the field goal - Chicago gets set to punt - ball hit's the end zone and Denver takes it at the twenty with just over 9:00 left in the half.
Cutler to Cecil Sapp picks up four. Cutler goes deep to Stokley but it's picked by Chicago - flags fly - Bears get tagged for interference and the Broncos keep it. Handoff to Bell - gets railed by Lance Briggs - ball pops loose and Chicago recovers - huge break for Chicago at the Denver sixteen.
First and ten - Grossman scrambles with nobody open - Bears get flagged for holding and it's brought back ten to the 26. Chicago keeps it on the ground but only pick up one and it's second and eighteen. Grossman drops deep - finds Olsen for the score. More flags fly and this one's coming back - another hold on the offensive line. Fans are absolutely beside themselves. It's second and 29 - Grossman gets sacked just short of midfield - it's third and 37 - Grossman finds Peterson who makes it happen - nice pickup brings it back and Chicago looks for a 44-yard field goal - kick is good and Bears trim the lead 10-6.
Denver takes it at the 23. Hall off tack for six. Cutler's out of the pocket - goes deep to no one and it brings up third down. I hate to bring it up but the Broncos have not converted a third down today - 0-4. Make that 0-5 ball bounces off Marshall's finger tips. Sauerbrun for the kick.
Conditions on the field are miserable - the rain continues. It's three and out for Chicago and the crowd shows no mercy. Two running plays and a dropped pass by Muhammad result in a one yard gain. Chicago's punt gives Denver pretty nice field position at the thirty-four yard line.
Hall for one on the ground - back to Hall for two at the most and it's the two minute warning.
Hall to the opposite side as flags fly - holding on Denver (Holland) - moves it back and Sauerbrun trots out to face Hester again. Bears let it roll and will take possession at the 21 with a buck and a half remaining in the half.
Grossman to Peterson on the screen - huge gain to the 39. Grossman under pressure - incomplete to Peterson - ball is dropped and it stops the clock. Second and ten - Grossman's forced to scramble - just past the line of scrimmage and Chicago burns a time out.
Grossman over the middle - nearly gets picked by Ian Gold - Broncos "D" holds and Chicago is set to punt. Terrible kick - ball rolls out at the 31.
Cutler connects with Hall who breaks it back across the field and is off to the races - moves it just inside the five yard line. Beautiful run, great blocking - it was textbook all the way. Hall again up the middle for a few and Denver needs to talk it over. Each team has 2 time outs remaining.
Cutler to the corner - great coverage on Marshall and the ball falls free - third and goal. Cutler scrambles - forces it inside into coverage and it's incomplete - nice stand by Chicago. Elam to the rescue and the Broncos push it out 13-6 as the first half comes to a close.
Martinex is set for the kick - takes it out to the 21 and Cutler and Co. head out as the temperature drops like crazy. Cutrler to Stokley is complete for a pick up of five. Hall up the middle for a few - and it brings up third and three. Bears gang tackle for a loss of a couple - absolutely nowhere to run. Sauerbrun to Hester again.
That was a mistake - Hester breaks it big - terrible coverage in the middle of the field and 75-yards later Chicago ties it up at 13-13.
Unbelievably stupid mistake on Sauerbrun. Give him the entire field and rest assured he's going to burn you. This could prove costly…
Martinez is set for the return - Bears are crying for a fumble - flags are all over the ground. Broncos catch a break - holding on the return and Denver keeps possession but it's backed up half the distance to the goal. Cutler drops back - pass is intercepted - Marshall slips just before the ball arrives and Tillman makes the pick.
Grossman takes it at the fourteen. Peterson on the ground - not much there. Back to Peterson for a few and it's third and six from the twelve. Out of the shotgun - Grossman on the draw - comes up short. It looks like Grossman may have fumbled - Shanahan challenges - Broncos catch a HUGE break - it's ruled a fumble and Denver takes it back at the ten. Whew….
Hall off tackle for four gives the Broncos some breathing room. Cutler to Stokley - officials call it incomplete - Shanny challenges again - play is ruled incomplete despite the hundreds of replays that show he caught it. It brings up third and five. Cutler to Hall and the Broncos are 0-9 on third down attempts today. Forget about the weather - this is absolutely sloppy play.
Sauerbrun challenges Hester again - but at least he limit's the field by kicking to the sideline - very little return - Chicago takes it at the 39.
If you're a Broncos fan - you gotta love Grossman - Chicago goes three and out and special teams take the field. We‘re over half way through the quareter and neither team has a first down - With San Diego holding it‘s lead over Baltimore - Denver‘s got it‘s work cut out for them.
Broncos take it on their own sixteen - Hall breaks it up the middle for eleven and its first and ten fromn the 27. Cutler rolls out - hits Sokley on the run for another first down - out to the 39. Cecil Sapp on the ground for four. The pitch back to Hall - good for the first inside the 45 - suddenly the Broncos are finding a rhythm. Sapp no gain up the middle.
Cutler to a sliding Scheffler - beautiful pass - moves it inside the thirty. Another pitch back to Hall and he breaks it down inside the ten. First and goal from the three. Back to Hall and he's got nowhere to go - second and goal. Pitch on the opposite side to Cecil Sapp and it good for a Denver touchdown. 10 plays, 84-yards and the Broncos are back on top 20-13. Somebody buy Marshall a beer - great job of blocking.
Is Todd Sauerbrun purposely giving this game away? Another kick in the middle of the field - to the best kick returner in the business. Chicago ties it up as Devin Hester races UNTOUCHED to the end zone. Back at a tie. WOW - 228-yards returning and we're still in the third quarter.
OK - take that - Cutler pulls back from the 32 and unloads the bomb for Marshall - perfect pass - perfect catch - Three touchdowns in less than .30 sec. Unreal… The big question - how stupid is Sauerbrun? It's a grounder that's picked up and brought out to midfield - hey - at least it's not another score.
Grossman under pressure - incomplete. Second and ten from the fifty - draw moves it into Broncos territory at the 47. Grossman scrambles and has to throw it away down the sidelines - more flags - facemask on Chicago moves it back and the Bears punting unit takes the field.
Martinez with a fair catch at the eleven and it's a long field for Cutler as the quarter comes to a close.
Hall around the side for a few. Cutler drops back - Ball is tipped it at the line - nearly picked and it brings up third down. Just a reminder the Broncos are 0-forver on third down conversions. Cutler out of the pocket - scrambles - connects with Stokley straddling the line but it's good for a first at the twenty-three.
Back to Stokely - picks up nine - Hall off tackle is good for the first and the Broncos move it out to the 33. Cutler unloads it for Scheffler - under pressure the pass is caught and it's a 41-yard pickup. It's back on the ground with Sapp who powers it up the middle for five. Cutler to Marshall - cuts it back across the field and it another Broncos first down.
Hall gets stopped at the line and the ball rests at the fourteen. Cutler into pressure in the end zone - Sheffler comes down with it but the flags are flying. Scheffler was double teammed and somehow comes down with the catch. Replays show the ball bouncing off his chest - but it never touches the gound. Flag is on the defense after the catch and it's a Broncos touchdown and stretch the lead out 34-20.
Sauerbrun tees it up fifteen-yards closer thanks to the penalty on Chicago - terrible kick - Bears bring it out to the 27. Grossman to Clark - incomplete. Rex has yet to break the 100-yard mark. Grossman to Muhammad pushed it out to the forty. Grossman out of the pockjet - hits Peterson - maybe made it back to the line of scrimmage. Again on the pass - Broncos bring the rush Grossman fumbles the ball and Denver recovers at the 37.
Cutler takes the field - pitch to Hall - Bears read it perfectly loss of eight on the play as Hall hets naile in the backfield. Up the middle Sapp gets a few back and it brings up third and fifteen. Out of the shotgun Cutler overthrows Marshal by about ten yards - Denver's own wors eney (Sauerbrun) is back. Ball falls dead inside the ten but there's more flags on the field. Procedure penalty against Denver and Sauerbrun will kick it again. It's another chance for Hester.
This is pathetic - Sauerbrun's kick is blocked - Chicago recovers just inside the Broncos twenty.
Grossman connects with Olsen on the five. Broncos defense looks lifeless. Grossman to Gilmore tacks on another two on a very slick field. Second and goal - handoff to Peterson who powers his way to the end zone and the Bears inch closer at 34-27. It's not over yet…
Denver's special team (ie. Sauerbrun) is responsible for three of Chgicago's touchdowns today. Either way it'll be a long ride home in a very quiet airplane for Sauerbrun.
Martinez returns it to the 29 with 5:13 remaining in the game. Hall off the right side for a couple - moves it out to the 32. Cutler to Marshall on a quick toss is good for a first as Denver desperately needs to chew up some time. Just under four minutes remaining and it's first and ten.
Hall to the right side again - no gain and the Bears burn a time out - they've got two remaining, Denver has one left. Second and ten and Sapp barely makes it back to the line of scrimmage - bringing up third and ten. Chicago burns another time out as Denver faces a crucial third and ten.
Chicago brings the heat and Cutler gets wrapped up for a loss. Here comes Sauer run - Hester's all smiles - Shanny burns the Broncos final time out. Chicago had lined up with a wall of blockers protecting Hester - Broncos are going to talk this one over.
Sauerbrun sends it deep - ball bounces and hits Hester in the legs - Hester falls on it and the Broncos dodge a bullet on this one. Grossman to Hester - maybe back to the line. Grossman to Olsen but he can't hold on - incomplete brings up third and ten for Chicago's season.
Grossman to Olsen - pass is dropped - it's fourth and ten from the thirty-five with just over two minutes left. Grossman sends it deep to Muhammad - pass is dropped by Dre Bly gets tagged for pass interference - huge mistake. Chicago's still alive at the Broncos 40 with 2:35 remaining. Grossman to Berriman moves it near the fifty. Peterson on the ground brings it to the two minute warning at third and two.
Grossman to Davis down near the thrirty-yard line. Twenty-one yard gain. Grossman to Muhammad again moves it to the 18. Peterson up the middle through a huge hole. Peterson again up the middle and he moves it to the four. Peterson again on the ground and with thirty-six seconds remaining Lovie Smith burns their final time out.
Third and goal from the three - no timeouts - Grossman's toss Berrian is knocked away by Paymah. It's fourth and goal and Grossman goes to the sideline - pass is caught by Berrian as he's sliding out of bounds. It‘s a touchdown, but it looks like they'll step in for a replay.
Officials take over and head to booth - the season rests here…
Play stands - Chicago's one point shy with Gould attempting the extra point - kick is good and the Bears have tied it up with less than .30 sec. left.
Cutler takes the field with .21 sec. and no timeouts - Broncos play it safe - Sapp up the middle. Cutler on the spike - flags on the Broncos offense and after running ten seconds off the clock it's the end of regulation. We‘re headed to O.T.
Broncos call the toss - Chicago wins it and we're looking at Sauerbrun getting set to kick to Hester - can it get any more bleak?
Here we go - ball bounces down to the twenty where Grossman looks to close it out. Grossman on a perfect strike to former Bronco Desmond Clark and it's a foot race dfwon to the Denver 37. Peterson on the ground inside the 30. This looks like its over.
Peterson again on the ground inches it closer, it's third and one. Peterson again on the ground and the Broncos get flagged for holding - tack on five yards and it's a Chicago first down at the Broncos 19. Grossman takes a kinee in the middle of the field and Robbie Gould heads out to end it all with a chip shot from thirty-nine yards out.
Game - set - match - Chicago pulls off with 17 unanswered points in the last 8:58 and the Denver Broncos fall to 5-6 for the season and can more than likely kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.
Remind me again, who was it that said they weren't afraid to kick to Devin Hester?
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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