Get ready for Osweiler-Brady Bowl I next week. Probably, anyway.
The Denver Broncos can’t go back to Peyton Manning next week, can they? There’s the question if he’ll be healthy enough to play with a significant foot injury, but quarterback Brock Osweiler might have made that point obsolete.
Osweiler was very efficient, the Broncos’ run game came to life and Denver won at the Chicago Bears, 17-15. Osweiler had a 127.1 rating in the game, completing 20 of 27 passes for 250 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Manning’s rating this season is 67.6.
Osweiler did things in the offense that Manning hasn’t been able to do. The bootleg pass was back, a staple of Broncos coach Gary Kubiak’s offense through the years. His rushing offense also relies on the threat of the quarterback keeping the ball on outside zone run plays, and that has been missing. With Osweiler’s mobility, the Broncos passed their season average for rushing yards in the third quarter. The Broncos, 29th in the NFL in rushing yardage and also with a lackluster 3.8 yards per carry coming in, had 170 rushing yards as a team on Sunday.
The Broncos' defense did the rest. They got a key stop on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter, and Von Miller caused a huge fumble on a sack of Jay Cutler just before the two-minute warning. When the Bears scored with 24 seconds left, Denver's defense stuffed a Jeremy Langford run on the two-point conversion to seal the win. The Broncos have had a great defense all season, they just need a decent offense to go with it.
With Tom Brady and the New England Patriots coming to Denver next week, the Broncos will have an interesting call if Manning is healthy enough to play. According to the Denver Post's Troy Renck, Kubiak didn't discuss it after the game, but praised Osweiler and said, "We needed to play clean football." And Manning might not be ready to play; he didn’t make the trip to Chicago as he got treatment in Denver. But whenever he's healthy, if you strip away the names and the history, it's hard to argue that Manning is the Broncos' best choice right now.
The Broncos haven’t gotten much out of Manning this season, and although he made some key plays in their seven wins, the team was 7-2 with him in the lineup despite a quarterback who had nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions. The Broncos offense looked capable on Sunday with Osweiler at the helm.
In a suburban Denver sports bar, the chant started after Osweiler hit Cody Latimer for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
“Brock! Brock! Brock!”
Maybe they’ll keep chanting that for the rest of the season, if he keeps this up.
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