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Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian lament struggles in preseason loss

DENVER -- The Broncos' question at starting quarterback remains unanswered, and both Trevor Siemian and Mark Sanchez exited Saturday night's 31-24 preseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers feeling like an opportunity to win the job was squandered.

Siemian started the game, and the Broncos opened the night with a 10-play, 86-yard touchdown drive on their first possession. But after opening the game 10-of-11 passing, Siemian's 12th attempt was intercepted by 49ers safety Eric Reid and returned 42 yards for a touchdown.

"I just can't turn the ball over," Siemian said. "I made a bad decision. I want that one back ... that one bad play. Unfortunately you can't have one bad play."

Sanchez had just the kind of two-minute drive going that would get coach Gary Kubiak's attention, but he was sacked and fumbled deep in 49ers territory with 39 seconds left in the first half.

When the Broncos' defense forced a fumble on the next play, recovering the ball at the 49ers' 15-yard line, Sanchez let that opportunity slip away as well. On the third play after the recovery, he was sacked and fumbled again, this time with 14 seconds left in the first half.

"I squandered a great opportunity to separate myself, and put the team in a bad situation," Sanchez said. "No excuse for that; poor, poor quarterback play.

"I can't put pressure on the O-line like that. I know I'm in a tough spot right there, and Coach wants to see what I do. There's no excuse for that. You can't do that. ... Poor play. I just let one go tonight. That's really too bad."

Kubiak said this past week that he would like to make a decision on a starter before Saturday's preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams, but he didn't seem inclined to do that after the loss to the 49ers.

Asked if he had seen enough from either quarterback to make the call, Kubiak said: "We made too many mistakes, obviously. They both did some good things. ... You have to protect the football. Obviously we have to hang on to the good things and find a way to protect the ball. That's what we need to focus on now more than anything."

Kubiak added a bit later that he was still taking the quarterback decision "day by day."

Siemian finished the night 10-of-14 for 75 yards with the interception. Sanchez was 10-of-17 for 120 yards with the two fumbles, and he was sacked three times. Rookie Paxton Lynch, who closed out the game, was 15-of-26 passing for 113 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against a host of 49ers reserves.

Sanchez put together drives of 60 and 75 yards on his first two possessions, fumbling to end the second drive. He said he was particularly upset because he felt like he had played well enough to win the job before the turnovers.

"No doubt, I thought I came in, we had a lot of energy, moved the team right down the field, two drives of 70-plus yards and we're rolling," Sanchez said. "Going into my eighth year, I know better. I know I've got to get the ball out.

"I know I can play this game, and I know I'm better than I showed [Saturday]. ... Two really bad plays that took away from a great performance and potentially winning a job, so that's really too bad."

Sanchez was also asked if it was difficult to not know who would be the team's starter so deep in the preseason.

He simply said: "It's difficult playing like crap on two plays and ruining an opportunity. That's difficult."