Nobody who tuned into Thursday night’s meaningless NFL game expected this story to unfold.
Brock Osweiler played out of his mind. Yes, Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler had to go in the game when Denver Broncos starting quarterback Trevor Siemian injured his left shoulder in the first quarter. If you tuned out at that moment, you missed a heck of a show.
Osweiler was on fire as he brought the Broncos back from a 10-0 deficit to a 25-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts. He completed 12-of-17 passes for 194 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He even ran for an 18-yard touchdown. While Osweiler is now known only for that ridiculous contract he signed with the Houston Texans in 2016, he has had some nice days before. He was instrumental for the 2015 Broncos’ championship team when Peyton Manning was hurt. But even in those glory days, he never looked this good.
Osweiler wasn’t just throwing to wide-open receivers. He was sticking throws into tight windows. He had a marvelous throw over the middle to Jeff Heuerman for a 54-yard score. With the Broncos holding a 22-13 lead in the fourth quarter, Osweiler made a clutch throw to Cody Latimer on third-and-6 to keep a long drive going. He consistently made the right decisions. The Colts are terrible on defense, but give credit where due: Osweiler was fantastic. And keep in mind, this came on a short week with no starter reps in practice. And Osweiler still had a fine night. He might get a couple more starts too, because Siemian dislocated his shoulder and is done for the season according to Mike Klis of KUSA.
It had to feel great for Osweiler. Since signing that $72 million deal with the Texans, he has turned into a punch line. He played poorly with Houston, was traded in a salary dump to the Cleveland Browns, and the Browns cut him at the end of preseason. He only hooked on with the Broncos because Paxton Lynch was hurt in preseason. When he got a few starts in the middle of this awful Broncos season, he didn’t impress anyone. He is only 27, but there was a real question if he’d ever have another shot like that again.
Nobody expected that opportunity to come on Thursday night. Even if Siemian could have come back this season, Osweiler deserved to keep starting anyway. It’s highly doubtful Osweiler can finish well enough to make the Broncos forget about pursuing another quarterback this offseason, but for one night he had to feel like he was on top of the world.
“It’s been a roller coaster of a ride, but I love this organization, I love being a Denver Bronco,” Osweiler told NBC after the game. “Being able to come out here on ‘Thursday Night Football’ and just have fun with my teammates, have some success and get a win, I was like a little kid in the backyard just having fun tonight. It was special.”
If you didn’t bother to tune in Thursday night, nobody would blame you. But you missed a heck of a fun performance from the unlikeliest source.
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