ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the nation got a glimpse of Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler Sunday night, in a tight spot with the game on the line, Osweiler’s teammates say it’s the same view they’ve had all along.
Osweiler, 25, waited 43 months from the time he was the Broncos’ second-round pick in 2012 draft to get his chance. Now, after his first two career starts, he is 2-0. And Sunday, against the previously undefeated New England Patriots, in overtime, in prime time, he gave an eye-opening performance.
"He's doing great, in his second start to beat a team with a future Hall of Famer, to be so poised out there with a team that can rush the passer like [the Patriots] coming at him, he’s shown a lot of maturity," Broncos safety David Bruton Jr. said. “I’m not a quarterbacks coach, haven’t played quarterback or anything like that, but when you see him play, he can make all the throws, he gets everybody involved, and he’s just poised. That’s the word that comes into my mind -- poised."
If anything Osweiler may be a living, breathing, steel-nerved testament to the old ways. The ways that free agency, the constant desire for change and a general impatience in the NFL have essentially removed from a quarterback prospect’s resume. But like Aaron Rodgers, Osweiler waited, he watched, he worked and, most important, he made the absolute most of his time. He has said, "I didn’t waste a single moment."
If it were just lip service, his teammates wouldn’t consistently acknowledge his confidence and composure, his assertiveness in the huddle, his grip on the offense. If Osweiler's words had been empty words, it would have been clear in his first two starts.
And if they were empty words, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak wouldn’t have treated Osweiler like a far more experienced player with 12 minutes, 42 seconds left in overtime.
"Actually, I put it in Brock's hands to be honest with you," Kubiak said. "I made a double call and said, 'You get us in the best one.' And he got us in the best one. We did a great job executing."
Out of a two-tight-end set, the Broncos flipped a play, from right to left, they had run earlier in the game for a touchdown. Osweiler made the change at the line of scrimmage and C.J. Anderson took a handoff, the Broncos walled off the Patriots' front, and Anderson scooted between blocks from Vernon Davis, left tackle Ryan Harris and center Matt Paradis for a 48-yard deal closer.
"He changed it," Anderson said. “I said, 'Man, this has a chance.' And as I got a toss and I just saw Ryan [Harris] deep for me, and I thought, if he can get to the hole, I better be able to get to the hole. You just got to get it to the big boys up front, they pretty much create the play and got me a chance to get on the safeties and make them miss, and the next thing you know it's history."
Osweiler has thrown for 250 and 270 yards with three touchdowns in two games. He has one interception, when his arm was hit as he threw. He has been sacked too often -- 11 times in a little over nine quarters -- but he has stood taller than his 6-foot-8 frame in the kind of situation that has crushed the spirit of more than a few youthful quarterbacks in the past.
The Broncos are a Super Bowl hopeful in a football-mad town with Osweiler having moved into the lineup to play in place of future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
"But you can tell how much time he has spent with Peyton, how much time Peyton has spent with him," Bruton said. "He learned from the best, Peyton was willing to help him, show him -- even [Sunday night] Peyton was out there -- but Brock handles himself like he knows what he's doing, like he knows the situation."
Osweiler said he'd like to think he could have changed the play as a rookie if he had been given the chance, but he now has two starts, two wins and the attention of his teammates.
"[The called play] was no good in that situation, so I just checked to the second play and, like I said, the offensive line and C.J. did a hell of a job," Osweiler said. " … I don't think that it has set in, but the one thing that I do know is that I know this was a tremendous team win. We couldn't win this football game if our defense didn't play the way that they did. We couldn't win this football game if our special teams didn't do what they did … I think the biggest thing is that it just shows what this football team is all about. We're willing to fight until there are zeros on that clock."