Denver Broncos QB Brock Osweiler beat the Patriots in his 2nd NFL start and is proving capable of the very things we all worried Peyton Manning isn’t/wasn’t.
It’s been a surreal couple of weeks for Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler, who is 2-0 now as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. He was fresh off of beating the Chicago Bears on his 25th birthday on the road in his first ever NFL start prior to Sunday night’s matchup against the 10-0 New England Patriots.
The last time the Patriots came into Denver with a 10-game winning streak was back in the 2005 playoffs when Brady was 10-0 in his professional career in playoff games. Jake Plummer and the Broncos ended a streak that night, and Osweiler and the Broncos did it in impressive fashion just about 10 years later.
Osweiler is quickly proving to players, coaches, and fans that he is capable of doing the very things we were all concerned Peyton Manning couldn’t do.
To name a few:
- Throw it deep
- Beat the Patriots
- Win in the cold
- Exercise mobility
- Play from under center
We need to stop trying to kid ourselves — this isn’t the 2013 version of Peyton Manning we’re talking about. This isn’t even the early 2014 version. The version of Peyton Manning we’ve been subjected to is the worst version of the quarterback that any of us has ever seen, and that’s not easy to say.
As Broncos fans, we’d grown to hate Peyton Manning for all the right reasons. He couldn’t be beat, it seemed. Then, for all the same reasons — and then some, if we’re being honest — we all grew to love Manning when he became a Bronco in 2012. I’m not trying to write his eulogy as a member of the Denver Broncos, but his contributions are no longer as valuable on the field as they are on the sideline. It’s no longer us trying to push the agenda that Manning is ‘done’ or ‘washed’ or whatever other descriptive term you want to use. This is about winning football games, and right now, Brock Osweiler is undefeated.
We’re not giving Osweiler a gold jacket or a ticket to Canton, but can you blame Broncos fans for being excited about what they’ve seen the last two games?
Sure, Osweiler has been in the league for four years already, but he’s just now 25, and at that point, Brandon Weeden was just beginning his college football career. Osweiler would be considered an ‘old’ rookie at 25 years of age, but there are players who come into the league every year who are 23 and 24 years of age.
He’s still just a puppy, but because John Elway has built his roster to win ‘from now on’ Osweiler is able to succeed. He has elite talent at the receiver positions and I would contend at running back. The offensive line is patchwork, but there are no better coaches in the league when it comes to scheming up front than Rick Dennison and Gary Kubiak. The defense is among the best in the NFL, though they’ve had some ‘bend, don’t break’ games in recent weeks.
The special teams, though frustrating at times, has been pretty darn solid all season, specifically at the kicker position with Brandon McManus who missed only his second field goal of the season on Sunday night in horrid conditions.
Osweiler is surrounded with elite talent, and Peyton Manning had been given the same (if not better, thanks to the health of the players) but Osweiler has done the things that Manning couldn’t do.
Facing the teeth of the cold, down by four, needing a touchdown. This is a big boy throw.
Two throws that set up the final touchdown
The two deep balls to Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders with less than two minutes remaining were absolutely incredible throws.
Now, am I saying Manning can’t complete deep balls? No, not necessarily. What I’m trying to say is that I think Osweiler made a lot of plays in this game that Manning would otherwise not have been able to make, including on this final drive. Taking these kinds of hits, making hard throws in the face of pressure, using the run game to open up the pass and vice versa — those have all been missing from the Broncos’ offense for most of this season, and not even the most ardent Manning supporters could deny that.
The touchdown to take the lead in regulation was phenomenal, but it wouldn’t have happened if not for a couple of throws made prior to that.
Was Osweiler perfect? No. He nearly cost the Broncos the game when he took a sack on 2nd and goal, a play in which Patrick Chung was called for defensive holding that set up the go-ahead score. He also took a sack earlier in the game when three points would have been a nice sip of water for a drenched offense that was down 14-0 early to the Patriots.
Osweiler’s mistakes — to this point — haven’t cost the Broncos in terms of wins and losses, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. Seeing him drive the football down the field at the end of regulation, and even before that when the Broncos needed scores down 14-0, down 21-7, and then in overtime…it was truly impressive from a QB making just his second career start.
The Broncos might not stick with Osweiler if Peyton Manning gets healthy. They might turn back to the veteran, team captain, the five-time MVP. Or, they might just let Osweiler keep doing what he’s doing, and see how far he can take this team.
You never know what might happen.