The Denver Broncos handed the New England Patriots their first loss of the season in a thrilling 30-24 overtime game.
In just the second start of his career, Broncos 25-year-old quarterback Brock Osweiler, filling in for Peyton Manning, continued to impress, as he helped lead the Broncos to a comeback from a 14-point deficit.
While Osweiler’s numbers were solid, throwing for 270 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, perhaps his biggest play came in overtime when a last-second audible gave the Broncos the game-winning touchdown.
On third-and-1 in overtime, the Broncos lined up at the Patriots’ 47 with running back C.J. Anderson in the backfield.
Osweiler told reporters after the game that the play was to run the ball to the weak side. When seeing how the Patriots lined up, Osweiler called an audible (via Pro Football Talk).
“It was a check that we had worked on all week in practice,” Osweiler said. “We were trying to run the ball [to the] weak [side]. They gave us a specific defensive front that we can’t run that ball into, so I checked to our second play that we called in our huddle. The line did a hell of a job and C.J. did the rest.”
Here’s the play:
The audible obviously brings to mind Peyton Manning’s scheming under center, but the insertion of Osweiler has opened up the Broncos’ offence in ways that Peyton wasn’t able to do this year.
Though Osweiler is still working on his chemistry with some of the Broncos’ top receivers, most notably Demaryius Thomas, he heated up as the game went on. As ESPN notes, Osweiler threw 138 of his 270 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime, going 4-5 for 86 yards on the Broncos’ final two possessions.
He’s also helped open up the Broncos’ run game in the past two weeks because of his ability to run Gary Kubiak’s offence, which wasn’t a fit for Manning’s shotgun style. Over the past two weeks, the Broncos have run for 170 yards vs. the Bears and 179 yards vs. the Patriots. For the season, they’re only averaging 94 rushing yards per game. Anderson’s 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots made for easily his best game of the season.
At 9-2, the Broncos again look like contenders under Osweiler. If he’s already mastering the nuances of play-calling in big situations, the Broncos have to feel good about him as their starter going forward.
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