PHILADELPHIA — Brock Osweiler’s return began with promise.
During his first drive back as the Broncos’ starting quarterback, Denver moved the ball 47 yards on nine plays and moved the chains on three occasions.
Osweiler found Demaryius Thomas for 14 yards on the first play of the game and then moved the ball 19 yards to Cody Latimer a few plays later.
“I felt very good, right from the start,” Osweiler said. “I thought we showed that with that initial drive. I think we all made some good plays. D.T., great catch first play. Cody Latimer made a huge play vs. man coverage. So I felt pretty good, right at the beginning. Obviously, no game is perfect and there’s plenty of things I wish I would’ve done different, but that’s a football game and I’ll watch the tape and I’ll learn from it and I’ll move forward."
That drive stalled in the red zone following a holding penalty, though, and the Broncos settled for an early 3-0 lead. When they got the ball back, they trailed, and Denver pieced together just one other first-half drive that garnered a first down.
“Looking back on it, I [threw] it to Emmanuel [Sanders] in the red area,” Osweiler said.
“Well, if I throw it to D.T., maybe we have a touchdown. But that’s football. It’s easy to second-guess yourself after the plays happen. We just have to clean it up. Philadelphia’s too good of a football team. When you get into their territory, you have to find ways to score touchdowns. You’re not going to beat a team like that on the road by kicking field goals and punting the football all day.”
The Broncos also weren’t going to stay competitive against the Eagles by turning the ball over, and yet they again lost the turnover battle. Osweiler’s first interception came on first-and-10 from the Denver 25-yard line, and it set up Philadelphia to take a 17-3 first-quarter lead.
Following the loss, Osweiler seemed relatively pleased with his read on the play, which he said was similar to the game’s first completion to Thomas. After a play-action fake, Osweiler turned to read the linebacker, who was up at the line of scrimmage. That key told Osweiler to fire the ball to Thomas, but the defensive back stepped in front of Thomas and put the Broncos in another hole.
“Any time you put your team in a position like that, it’s horrible,” Osweiler said.
He avoided another for most of the game until he felt compelled to take a chance with the Broncos down 38-9 in the third quarter. At that point, Osweiler said, he was just aiming to keep his teammates “fired up” and to remind them the team could still have a chance if it began to convert its chances.
And that’s what led to the second interception, which floated on Osweiler and fell to an Eagles defender. As he said to his coaches after the game, though, that’s a chance he’s not opposed to take. When he reviews the film Monday, he’ll evaluate the situation with his coaches to decide when the timing and score dictate he should take a chance.
“It just seemed like it was kind of that time to throw up one and see if we can get a big play downfield, maybe a pass interference call,” Osweiler said. “I was throwing it blind, I had to slide to my left, but bottom line: we can’t turn the ball over. And when we do that, it’s just going to be hard to win football games and we’ve got to clean it up.”
Head Coach Vance Joseph preached that message all week long, and he wasn’t pleased with Osweiler’s two turnovers. Joseph said he would wait to evaluate the film before naming a starter for Sunday’s game against New England, but he wasn’t entirely down on Osweiler’s performance.
“I thought Brock did a fine job,” Joseph said. “Obviously we had two more interceptions that I don’t like. I have to go back and watch the tape to really get a feel for how Brock played.”
Whatever problems Joseph finds, Osweiler will be ready to fix. And there’s no question who he’d like to see under center when the Broncos welcome the Patriots this coming weekend.
“I think every player in the National Football League plays this game to be the starter, to contribute to his team and help his team win games,” Osweiler said. “So I would love to be the starter of this football team. I can promise you, this game is not going to discourage me. I’m going to work harder than ever to clean up these problems and get us back in the win column.”