Cleat Geeks

Monday Morning QB

The Denver Broncos were down 13-7 to the San Diego Chargers with the No. 1 seed in the AFC on the line and Broncos coach Gary Kubiak decided to make a change.

Brock Osweiler, who had started at quarterback in place of Peyton Manning since he’d been out with a foot injury, did not play that great in his two-and-a-half quarters. He completed 14 of 22 passes for 232 yards with one touchdown and two 1382055019000-USATSI-7476612interceptions, but one of those picks was off a dropped pass. Osweiler did connect with Demaryius Thomas on a 72-yard touchdown pass and Denver had three plays of 30 yards or more in the first half alone. Kubiak could have left Osweiler in over Manning, who until Jacksonville’s quarterback Blake Bortles passed him on Sunday still led the NFL in interceptions despite not playing since November 15th against the Kansas City Chiefs. But Kubiak decided to put Manning in at quarterback. He completed 5 of 9 passes for 59 yards and no touchdowns, but Kubiak didn’t care about the stats.

“Sometimes, you just feel that the team’s looking around for … that guy, or that tremendous leadership type of stuff,” Kubiak said after the game. “And I know with Peyton—the last couple of weeks have been good weeks, and I knew he was ready to go. I don’t think Brock did anything wrong. We had turnovers, but a couple definitely weren’t on him, we could have helped him a lot. But just my gut told me to turn it over to him and let him lead the football team. I’m very proud of him. He’s worked really hard to stay there for us, and it couldn’t be a bigger day to be there for us.” Denver benefitted from Manning’s ability to manipulate a defense pre-snap and they ran far more effectively with him.09126ef2ff223233880f6a70670042bd

Kubiak turned to Osweiler during Denver’s Week 10 loss to the Chiefs when Manning was struggling through several different injuries. That day, Manning completed just 5 of 20 passes for 35 yards with four interceptions. Though the decision was made to let Manning heal, Osweiler proved to be more
capable of carrying the team despite being limited by a lack of in-game experience. Osweiler completed 27 of 39 passes for 299 yards and a touchdown in a Monday night win over the Bengals in Week 16. After that game, Kubiak announced that he would be the Week 17 starter no matter what.

Now there is a decision to be made for the playoffs. Does Kubiak go with Osweiler, who’s played well for the most part, or go with the veteran Manning in hopes that there’s enough magic left in his arm to make a Super Bowl run? The Broncos do have home field advantage all through the playoffs. “We’ll give the guys a break here, hopefully get some guys fresh, and we’re going to get back to work on Thursday morning,” Kubiak said. “But I’ll sit down with both of those guys. The great thing is that it took everyone on our team to get to this point. Everybody. And it’s going to take everybody we have to take it the rest of the way. We’ll sit down and make a decision that’s best for the football team, and we’ll continue to count on everybody to do their part.”denver-broncos-quarterbacks-brock-osweiler-and-peyton-manning

It’ll be interesting to see what Denver does, they do have a bye week to weigh their options.

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