DENVER – A third-stringer with the Super Bowl champion Eagles, tight end Trey Burton certainly looks comfortable in a leading role with the Bears.
Playing the first four series with the No. 1 offense in Saturday night's 24-23 preseason win over the Broncos, Burton had four receptions for 45 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown, all from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
"I was happy for Trey," said coach Matt Nagy. "I was happy for Mitch. Trey has put in a lot of hard work here and you can see now they're starting to click, and that's a big-time positive for our offense. It's good for these guys here to have that connection and get that trust level go up."
Stepping up: After performing well in two joint practices with the Broncos Wednesday and Thursday, tight end Ben Braunecker carried that momentum into Saturday night's game.
Braunecker's 12-yard touchdown reception from backup quarterback Chase Daniel with 1:53 remaining turned a 23-17 deficit into a 24-23 victory.
"I knew I had a corner route and the defender was in man coverage with inside leverage," Braunecker said. "So I knew if I got a good release and just ran the route with speed I would be wide open. I got kind of caught up in everything. I was surprised that Chase found me through all that. It was a nice play."
Key takeaway: Nickel back Cre'Von LeBlanc paid tribute to former Bears cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman after generating a late turnover that clinched Saturday night's win.
With the Broncos trailing by one point and approaching field-goal range, LeBlanc knocked the ball out of receiver Isaiah McKenzie's hands and Bears outside linebacker Isaiah Irving recovered the loose ball.
"He had it dangling a little bit," LeBlanc said. "Coach was already talking about how someone needed [to do] a 'Peanut Punch.' I got outside leverage and he cut it back up. I think somebody tried to make a tackle, he made him miss and had the ball wide, and I just Peanut punched it and it came out."
The game-saving takeaway came after LeBlanc had called a fair catch of a punt at his own 5 and returned a second punt from his own 2.
"I needed that bad," LeBlanc said of the forced fumble. "I'm my own worst critic. I was giving the offense bad field position all night. I just felt that I needed to make a play, and that was the play I needed to make."
On target: Nagy did not fault center Cody Whitehair for a shotgun snap that squirted through Trubisky's hands in the end zone, a play that resulted in a safety after the Bears quarterback recovered the loose ball and was tackled.
"It was right on target," Nagy said. "You can see it if you look at it in slow motion, Mitch pulled his eyes away a little bit. Again, these guys are learning. We talked about the [errant] snaps with Cody and it's ironic that happened.
"Forget about whose fault it is, the problem there is that that's a critical error when you're backed up like that and you can't have that happen regardless of whose fault it is. So as a team we've got to recognize that."
Aches and pains: Tight end Adam Shaheen suffered a right ankle injury on the game's first possession and did not return. Shaheen's right foot appeared to catch in the grass as he was trying to elude a defender on a 5-yard reception from Trubisky. Shaheen limped to the sideline and was then carted to the locker room.
Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd also exited in the first half with a hand injury.
Nagy said that both Shaheen and Floyd will be further evaluated on Monday.
No Roquan: First-round draft pick Roquan Smith, who ended his 29-day contract holdout Tuesday, did not suit up for Saturday night's game. The eighth overall pick in the draft has participated in only one padded practice since rejoining the team.
"When you come in when he did and to just throw him into the mix right away, it just wasn't going to be right," Nagy said. "The timing wasn't good."
Other Bears who were not in uniform were receivers Taylor Gabriel, Joshua Bellamy and Demarcus Ayers; cornerbacks Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper Sr. and Rashard Fant; running back Benny Cunningham; fullback Michael Burton; defensive end Akiem Hicks; linebacker Josh Woods; offensive lineman Brandon Greene; tight end Dion Sims; and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch.
Kicking it: Cody Parkey missed a 52-yard field goal attempt for the second straight game, but rebounded to hit a 43-yarder. Parkey is now 4-of-6 in three preseason games.
Running man: Making his preseason debut, running back Jordan Howard rushed for 32 yards on nine carries with a long run of 17 yards.
Get an insider's look at a Bears game day with these behind-the-scenes photos and angles that the TV cameras didn't capture at Mile High Stadium.