Well, it happened.
The Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots, 30-24, in overtime on Sunday night, handing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick their first loss of the season. A lot twists, turns, plays, players and penalties helped decide the game, but there was one key that stood out above all else:
And no, we’re not talking about Brady.
“It was Brock Osweiler,” Broncos sideline reporter Andy Lindahl said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “He showed fearlessness and he show incredible toughness tonight. I don’t know if you could really feel it on TV, (but) that kid took a lot of shots. When the punt return was fumbled, he was actually on the bench getting tended to by the training staff after taking a big hit on third down the previous series. I was watching them try to work on something on his right leg, I believe, and he had to get up and go back in the game – and I didn’t think he was healthy enough to do it. Their third-sting quarterback who’s been elevated to second team, Trevor Siemian, actually started warming up. So for Brock to get whatever was injured out of there – he threw a horrible first-down pass to Owen Daniels. It was behind him and almost was real trouble. Whatever the did to tough it out, he took a lot of shots tonight and I think it’s going to go a long, long way with his team as far as respect and the admiration they have for him. He was really the key tonight, and that’s going to be talked a lot about over the next couple weeks.”
Osweiler showcased a strong, accurate arm in wintry conditions in leading the Broncos back from a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit. He led a five-play, 83-yard drive in 82 seconds to give Denver a late lead, finding Andre Caldwell for a 4-yard touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone.
Stephen Gostkowski drilled a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation, but the Broncos needed just three offensive plays to decide the game in overtime, with C.J. Anderson scampering 48 yards for the win.
Anderson ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns, but it was Osweiler who stole the show. The 25-year-old Montana native finished 23-of-42 for 270 yards, one touchdown and one interception to keep Denver’s first-round-bye hopes alive.
Yes, the Broncos may have found their quarterback – regardless of Manning’s health.
“I just think the passing game is working better,” Lindahl said, “and with the way that Brock can move, mobile quarterback help this offense, help the running game, help that line get its zone-blocking system going, it holds linebackers and his arm forces the secondary to move back deep, which is why you’re seeing this run game work. I don’t know that there’s much of a controversy. It’s crazy to say that with a first-ballot Hall of Famer trying to work his way back, but things just didn’t look right with Peyton in this offense. Once he gets healthy from that foot injury, he’s not going back under center. We’ve seen the last two weeks why a quarterback under center is so important and so sought after by Gary Kubiak. So I just think right now it’s going to make for a lot of conversation. It’s going to make for an interesting end. I hope Peyton gets to do it his way, but I’ve got a feeling the Broncos have made their transition.”