On Sunday, Jan. 3, the Denver Broncos played the San Diego Chargers for the second time this season.
Brock Osweiler started as quarterback, throwing a 72-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in the first few plays, starting the game out with a bang.
However, the Broncos soon lost their luck, driving the game downhill. Osweiler’s offense suffered five turnovers, two of which were interceptions, and one fumble by Emmanuel Sanders.
Two plays into the second half, the team lost the ball again after running back C.J. Anderson fumbled.
“I don’t think Brock [Osweiler] did anything wrong,” Coach Gary Kubiak informed ESPN. “He’s worked really hard to stay there for us and it couldn’t be a bigger day to be there for us.”
With eight minutes remaining in the third quarter of the game, Brock Osweiler was replaced by Peyton Manning. As Manning walked onto the field, he received a huge round of applause.
After his return, the team seemed to have an energy that was missing previously in the game, scoring 20 points by the end of the game.
“It lifted the whole stadium, it lifted the O-line, the O-line got with it,” cornerback Aqib Talib said. “I don’t know if it was just his presence, but it was just a little energy that came through the building.”
Due to the fact that Manning didn’t start the game, he did not break his tie with Brett Favre for most regular-season wins.
Osweiler, after being benched, was very gracious about the change in lineup. The Broncos’ win means a lot to him, regardless of the time he spent playing in the game.
“Football is the ultimate team sport. It takes the entire team to win and I think we showed that today,” Osweiler told ESPN. “As long as this football team is winning games, shoot, I don’t care who’s playing quarterback.”
The win secured the first-place seed for the team, giving them home field advantage going into this season’s playoffs.
It is expected that Manning will now start as quarterback for the team during the rest of the playoffs, but the health of his foot is not completely clear. As the Broncos continue into the postseason, he will have to watch his foot carefully to ensure no further injuries.
Osweiler’s contract ends after this season, making him an unrestricted free agent for any team to pick up.
Denver’s first matchup in the playoffs has not been announced yet, but it will be held at Sports Authority Field on Sunday, Jan. 17.