A week ago, Brock Osweiler entered the game against the Indianapolis Colts with the Broncos trailing by 10 points — and then became the game’s savior, throwing for 194 yards, two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 147.0; his most efficient performance as a professsional. His efforts led the Broncos to a 25-13 victory, their second in a five-game span.
Full of confidence, despite using three different starters this season, the Broncos traveled to Washington to take on the Redskins in a Christmas Eve affair. Head coach Vance Joseph decided to stick with Osweiler over the injured Paxton Lynch, who had suffered a high ankle sprain against the Oakland Raiders and was only at practicing 90% during the week, according to Joseph.
Osweiler entered the game, hoping to deliver an early Christmas gift to Denver fans — many of whom were more focused on Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins’ performance — and potentially remain in the Broncos’ conversation as a potential option for next season.
Instead, he gave them a lump of coal.
The game started well enough for the first 20 minutes, where Osweiler completed all but three passes for 66 yards, leading the Broncos on three long, clock-eating drives and netting three points. But then the wheels came off and Osweiler couldn’t find any success the rest of the game. After a 21-yard C.J. Anderson rush kicked off the next offensive series, the offense stalled, and Osweiler found himself scrambling away from his collapsing offensive line, losing his grip on the football, and fumbling the ball away to the Redskins. Washington took advantage and put a touchdown on the board, giving them a lead that they wouldn’t surrender the rest of the game.
Osweiler threw an interception on the very next drive after being thumped on the shoulder during his pass attempt to Demaryius Thomas. During the defensive series, he was seen on the sideline visibly frustrated, yelling at the offensive players and pacing up and down the benches. The frustrations didn’t subside on the next drive, either, as a pass to rookie Isaiah McKenzie ended the half while the Broncos were in field goal range after McKenzie foolishly attempted to move the ball further down the field rather than immediately get out of bounds.
The second half only got more frustrating. Osweiler was sacked three times for 19 yards, and was only able to put together a garbage-time touchdown drive with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter. He finished the game 22-for-38 for a familiar 194 yards, but had no touchdowns and an interception. He was sacked a total of four times for 22 yards and finished with a 60.5 rating.
With one week remaining, and after such a poor performance by the most veteran member of the Broncos’ QB corps, Joseph and the Broncos have more questions than they do answers once again. The game against the Colts now looks more like an anomaly than what we can expect from Osweiler, as his subpar performance looked far more similar to the efforts against the Eagles, Patriots and Bengals. Osweiler is a hero no longer, as the NFL is a league where fans are quick to forget the past.
As a free-agent to be, the door may have been slammed shut for Osweiler when it comes to remaining on the roster for 2018. The effort also potentially re-opens the door for Lynch, who is also playing for his potential status with the team next season.