It was the final touchdown of the Denver Broncos’ regular season, the 40th touchdown pass for the team on the season and the 15th touchdown this season thrown to a tight end on the Broncos’ roster.
What you might be interested to know about this touchdown is that it wasn’t Peyton Manning who threw the pass, and it wasn’t Julius Thomas or Jacob Tamme who caught it. The final touchdown of the Broncos’ regular season was thrown by backup Brock Osweiler and caught by tight end Virgil Green. It was the first for both guys, but one that Green is not letting go of.
Playing primarily as a blocker this season, Green has been one of the unsung heroes for the Denver Broncos who have lost just one game this year that he’s been in uniform. He’s only been targeted in the passing game six times this season, but he’s the only Denver Broncos player who has a 100 percent success rate when the ball is thrown his way. He caught all six of his targets this season, including the penultimate touchdown from Osweiler, and it was a beauty.
Prior to being drafted in 2011, Green was known as an ultra-athletic tight end prospect who projected as an h-back receiver in the NFL, but fell to the seventh round of the draft due to some injury concerns. The Broncos cashed in on his fall just three rounds after taking Portland State’s Julius Thomas, but it was Green who found his way to the lineup earlier in his career than Thomas.
While Thomas battled injuries, Green was honing his craft as a blocker, where he became an integral part of the Broncos’ offense over the last couple of seasons. With only six catches this year, Green has been even less involved than he was in 2013 when the Broncos got him the ball nine times.
It was that first touchdown, crossing the goal line for the first time that has proven elusive for Green in his career. In the final regular season game of his contract season with the Broncos, the player who was tabbed as a pass catching specialist coming out of college turned blocking extraordinaire finally got his first touchdowns.
His teammates rejoiced, but no one was more relieved than Green, who didn’t care whether he caught the pass from Peyton Manning, Brock Osweieler, or anyone who might have been out there to throw him the ball.
Green actually had three catches in this game for Denver, catching one pass from Manning and two from Osweiler. The first catch he had from Osweiler came on a third down where Green exploded upfield and was wide open. Had Osweiler led him a little better, Green might’ve scored on that play.
Regardless, Green got his first score, and it was a long time coming. It’s been Green’s willingness to do what it takes to help the team that got him a pat on the back by every single player as he came to the sideline after his first career touchdown. It’s also the reason why the Broncos could see a more expanded role from Green next season, as he will certainly be re-signed and it’s entirely possible that Julius Thomas could bolt in free agency.
Time will tell, but it was a great moment for Green and for the Broncos to cap off their season.