Drew Stanton's TD gives Lions edge over Broncos as Tim Tebow rests

DENVER -- Many in the crowd came hoping to get a glimpse of the future in Tim Tebow and instead got a peek at the past.

Cornerback Dre' Bly's 47-yard interception return set up Detroit's first touchdown in the Lions' 25-20 win over the Denver Broncos on Saturday night.

Bly, who played two seasons in Denver before his unceremonious release following coach Josh McDaniels' hiring in 2009, picked off a pass against the Broncos for the second straight preseason -- he did it while with the San Francisco 49ers last year.

"I'm not worried about that. I know what I can do. I've been doing it my whole life," said Bly, who hauled in a pass bobbled by Broncos running back Lance Ball at the Detroit 26 and raced up the Broncos' sideline to the Denver 27, where he was finally corralled by tight end Riar Geer.

"It was a deflected pass. He dropped the ball and whenever the ball is around me, I go get it," Bly said. "I'm just sad I couldn't score."

Two plays later, Matthew Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson for a 20-yard touchdown pass.

Detroit third-stringer Drew Stanton's 25-yard touchdown on a quarterback draw with 1:53 left was the difference. Brady Quinn drove the Broncos into Lions territory in the closing seconds before Willie Young stripped the ball away and Korey Bosworth recovered.

Tebow's home debut will have to wait at least another week. He sat out with bruised ribs he suffered in the exhibition opener a week ago, much to the disappointment of throngs of Broncos fans donning his No. 15 jersey at Invesco Field.

Tebow missed most of the Broncos' practices during the week, undoubtedly contributing to the nearly 8,000 unused tickets Saturday night.

Kyle Orton, fresh off signing a one-year extension that bought some time for the Broncos to formulate their long-term plans at quarterback, completed 16 of 22 passes for 177 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in four first-half possessions.

Orton has thrown four TD passes in seven drives this preseason despite playing behind a makeshift offensive line, with the team's top three tailbacks sitting out and a turnstile of targets catching his throws.

One of his TDs Saturday night was caught by Ball, who atoned for his bobbled pass that Bly picked off.

Jabar Gaffney caught six passes for 98 yards, all from Orton.

"He's a very dependable receiver. I think he's underrated in his playmaking skills," Orton said. "He made a lot of really nice catches for his in tight coverage."

Stafford was 13 of 20 for 130 yards, guiding the Lions to scores on all four of their first-half drives.

The game also marked the return to Denver of Lions tight end Tony Scheffler, who was traded from Denver in the offseason after a falling out with McDaniels.

"Felt good to come back," Scheffler said. "It felt even better to win."

Scheffler caught a couple of key passes, but another went off his hands in the end zone.

His replacement in Denver, Marquez Branson, snared an 11-yard TD from Orton with 3 seconds left in the first half, pulling the Broncos to 16-14 at the break. Top draft pick Ndamukong Suh was on the sideline for that last-minute drive, his day done after causing plenty of havoc along the Broncos' makeshift offensive line.

Steven Hauschka, filling in while Jason Hanson recovers from minor knee surgery, kicked field goals of 28, 27, 29 and 27 yards after Detroit's offense repeatedly sputtered around the 10-yard line.

Rookie Perrish Cox returned a punt 65 yards to the Lions 10 in the third quarter but the Broncos, too, settled for a chip shot field goal as Matt Prater's 30-yarder gave Denver its first lead at 17-16.

In all, 16 Broncos sat out, including Champ Bailey, D.J. Williams, Daniel Graham, Chris Kuper, Spencer Larsen, Brandon Stokley and Demaryius Thomas, the team's top draft pick.

The Broncos hope most of them return next week to play against Pittsburgh in the all-important third preseason game, "but the worst thing we can do at this point is put somebody in jeopardy of not being ready to go in September," McDaniels said.

Game notes
Broncos LT Ryan Clady, recovering from offseason knee surgery, did footwork drills with strength coach Rich Tuten on the field a few hours before kickoff. ... FS Louis Delmas (groin) sat out for Detroit (1-1).

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