By Justin Adams

DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Broncos lost their second preseason game in a row, falling to the San Francisco 49ers 24-15 on Monday night. Luckily this game doesn’t count in the final standings and there were several good signs from the game. First of which was seeing an old veteran back from injury and on the field.

Emmanuel Sanders Comes Back From Achilles Injury

Emmanuel Sanders runs with the football during the first quarter. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Eight months ago, Emmanuel Sanders season ended prematurely as he tore his Achilles in practice. Fast forward to Monday night and No. 10 was back in uniform. Sanders immediately made an impact, catching a short pass from Joe Flacco for 5 yards. A couple plays later, Sanders showed off his speed, taking an end-around 19-yards. The biggest play was a 45-yard reception, but it was called back because of a holding penalty by Garrett Bolles.

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is smiles at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

In all, it was great to see a healthy Sanders back on the field.

Broncos Defensive Line Was Dominant

If Bradley Chubb plays like he did in the couple of series he played on Monday night, he’ll be in for a tremendous season.

(credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb of the Denver Broncos strips the football away from quarterback C.J. Beathard of the San Francisco 49ers. (credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Chubb pressured 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo into an off-target pass that was intercepted by Isaac Yiadom. The second year outside linebacker also had a strip-sack in the game.

Shelby Harris of the Denver Broncos celebrates after making a tackle for a loss during the first quarter. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Shelby Harris is putting a stamp on the middle of the defense. The Broncos starting nose tackle batted down several passes and added two tackles.

Special Teams Woes

Broncos Special Teams Coach Tom McMahon said last Saturday that “Somebody has to produce and separate themselves,” when it comes to the punt returner position. After three preseason games, no one has come out as the leader in the clubhouse.

Punter Mitch Wishnowsky of the San Francisco 49ers hits and tackles running back Devontae Jackson of the Denver Broncos on a punt return in the third quarter. (credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

In the Broncos four returns the team only gained 12 yards. The longest return was by River Cracraft for seven yards. Nick Williams muffed a punt and Kelvin McKnight didn’t have any yards in his return.

Denver also gave up two big kick returns of 48 and 32 yards to San Francisco.

Broncos Escape Major Injuries to Draft Picks

In every preseason game, the Broncos have been bit by the injury bug. Luckily two of the top draft picks were able to escape from major injury. First round pick Noah Fant left the game with an ankle injury. X-rays were negative and it’s expected that Denver’s tight end won’t miss a lot of time.

Also, second round pick Drew Lock injured his right hand in the third quarter. The Broncos rookie quarterback believed that he jammed his thumb and will go under further evaluation later today. Before leaving the game, Lock completed 7 of his 12 passes for 40 yards in the three series he played.
Next: Broncos at Los Angeles Rams on Saturday at 7 p.m.

PHOTO GALLERY: 49ers 24, Broncos 15

Justin Adams


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