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Paxton Lynch #12 of the Denver Broncos passes against the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Broncos defeated the Bears 24-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Broncos QB battle ‘underwhelming’ in preseason opener vs. Bears

Paxton Lynch #12 of the Denver Broncos passes against the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Broncos defeated the Bears 24-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

In the much-anticipated first preseason game, in what head coach Vance Joseph has called the first true evaluation, the quarterback battle between Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch underwhelmed.

“Nothing exciting out there. Nothing exciting at all. There was no enthusiasm,” 104.3 The Fan’s Mike Pritchard said during the Fan Football Postgame.

Said his co-host Cecil Lammey: “It’s gone from ho-hum to worse, because you have one guy who’s just doing enough to not lose the job, and you have one guy who isn’t ready yet.”

Both Pritchard and Lammey called Siemian and Lynch’s night disappointing, especially with the road trip to Chicago being the culmination of an offseason of competition.

“It’s disappointing because, at the most important position on the field, you have a battle going on, but there’s no battle,” Pritchard said. “There’s nobody trying to seize the moment or trying to seize the position.”

In a little more than three quarters on Thursday against the Bears, the two quarterbacks combined went 12-for-16 for 93 yards with no touchdowns and no picks.

Siemian earned a quarterback rating of 97.0. Lynch: 77.1.

After the game, Joseph said he felt Siemian and Lynch both had “solid” performances in the 24-17 win, and that penalties and failing to convert on third down hampered their outings.

“It was hard to say who played well at the position because of the penalties,” Joseph said.

But on a night where onlookers searched for separation between either of the young gunslingers, “it just doesn’t seem like we’ve gotten much of that separation,” Lammey said.

“In terms of this quarterback competition, it did not live up to all the expectation that a lot of people had going into this first preseason game,” Pritchard said.

Sloter leads Broncos to comeback win

Just because the first- and second-team quarterbacks seemingly failed to impress on Thursday, the Broncos third-stringer, rookie Kyle Sloter, helped lead Denver to a come-from-behind victory.

Taking over with just less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, Sloter led an eight-play, 74-yard scoring drive, culminating in a 47-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie Isaiah McKenzie, to tie the game 17-17 with 6:01 left in the game.

Then, after a short drive from the Bears in response, Sloter and company took over with 3:42 left, milked the clock down to the two-minute warning, and scored on a 41-yard scamper from rookie running back De’Angelo Henderson.

On the other side of the ball, Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who in his own right had an impressive debut, couldn’t convert on a last-second pass to the end zone to give Denver the win.

After the game, Joseph said he the win, preseason or not, will be a good boost for team morale.

“Winning’s winning, guys. It doesn’t matter if it’s preseason or not. We came here to win,” Joseph said. “We made some plays late in the ballgame to pull it out, so it was fun to see.”

Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.