Mark Sanchez throws pin-point TD pass despite getting blasted by defender

The Denver Broncos’ quarterback situation might not be as dire as many believed judging from Mark Sanchez’s preseason debut.

In the first quarter of Denver’s preseason opener against the Bears, Sanchez threw a 32-yard strike to Demaryius Thomas despite getting hit hard by a defender for the game’s first touchdown in the Broncos’ 22-0 win.

Sanchez’s willingness to stand tall in the face of oncoming pressure and still deliver a strike is a good sign for a Broncos team that is looking for someone to step up at quarterback.

Sanchez will be under the microscope this preseason, and Thursday’s performance definitely was a step in the right direction. The sixth-year quarterback finished 10 of 13 for 99 yards with one touchdowns and one interception against Chicago’s first-team defense.

Denver came into this season with a hole to fill at quarterback after Peyton Manning retired in the offseason. Brock Osweiler was expected to take over, but he unexpectedly left for the Texans, leaving the Broncos scrambling for an answer under center.

Denver acquired Sanchez from the Eagles in March, but the Broncos failed to add another proven quarterback. Denver moved up in this year’s draft to select Paxton Lynch in the first round, leaving the team with Sanchez, Lynch and former seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian.

Siemian went 7 of 12 for 88 yards and Lynch completed 6 of 7 attempts for 74 yards on Thursday, keeping the quarterback battle competitive. But if Sanchez continues to make throws like the one he made to Thomas, the starting job most likely will be his.