CHICAGO >> Filling in for the injured Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler made his first career start a triumphant one.
Osweiler threw for two touchdowns, and the Denver Broncos stopped Jeremy Langford on a 2-point conversion run in the final minute to beat the Chicago Bears 17-15.
Langford scored on a 2-yard run with 24 seconds left to cap a 65-yard drive. But he ran into a crowd on a conversion attempt, and the Broncos (8-2) escaped with a narrow victory.
Osweiler completed 20 of 27 passes for 250 yards with five-time MVP Manning staying back in Denver because of injuries to his foot, ribs and shoulder.
Ronnie Hillman ran for 102 yards, and the AFC West-leading Broncos (8-2) got back to winning against former coach John Fox after dropping two in a row.
Osweiler threw a 48-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas on Denver’s first possession of the game and a 10-yarder to Cody Latimer early in the fourth quarter to make it 17-9 after Chicago cut the lead to one.
The Bears (4-6) then drove to the Denver 4, only to have Jay Cutler’s fourth-down pass to Langford in a crowd in the end zone get broken up, and Chicago ultimately came up short in its bid to hit the .500 mark.
The Bears had won two in a row to jump into playoff contention in the NFC, something few would have expected this season. They are clearly making strides under Fox, who split with Denver in January after leading the Broncos to four first-place finishes in the division and a trip to the Super Bowl.
But Chicago had trouble reaching the end zone against the league’s No. 1 defense, even though the Broncos were missing outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (back). The Bears settled for three field goals by Robbie Gould before that late touchdown.
Jay Cutler threw for 265 yards in his first meaningful game against Denver since the trade to Chicago in 2009, even though the Bears were missing running back Matt Forte (knee) and receiver Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder). He had an interception and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter with the Bears on the Denver 33.
Cutler got hit by Von Miller as he was throwing and the ball popped up off a lineman before Denver’s Malik Jackson cradled it.
The Broncos had a chance to add to a four-point lead after Danny Trevathan returned an interception to the Chicago 25 midway through the third quarter, only to come away empty-handed.
Denver went for it on fourth-and-1 at the 2 rather than kick a field goal. That backfired when Hillman tripped on Osweiler’s foot and got stopped for no gain.
The Bears then drove to the Denver 19, with Gould kicking a 37-yard field goal to cut it to 10-9 with 49 seconds left in the quarter.