DENVER — Brock Osweiler has seen the highs in Denver.
He was instrumental in the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 run, so he knows what it’s like to win close games, to win big games, to win most games.
That hasn’t happened the last six weeks in Denver, and the mood in the locker room has been exacerbated because of that previous success.
Following Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Osweiler made it clear that the current level of play doesn’t live up to his — nor the organization’s — standards.
“This isn’t the culture here,” Osweiler said. “The culture and the standard is to win championships, win division championships, get to the playoffs every year and contend for Super Bowls. Right now, we’re not playing football like that. So it’s very frustrating.”
The Broncos took a step toward a win Sunday as they maintained the competitiveness they’d lacked in recent weeks. As they tried to top the Bengals, though, there were again just a few too many mistakes to wind up with a victory.
A drive early in the first quarter showed that best of all. After Shaquil Barrett blocked a punt, the Broncos took over on the Cincinnati 29-yard line. From there, Osweiler guided the team down to the 4-yard line. But instead of capitalizing on an early play, the Broncos allowed the game’s momentum to flip in an instant.
Following the game, Osweiler recapped the play that saw a 96-yard swing in field position.
“They played blitz-[cover] zero down there,” Osweiler said. “We were expecting them to play blitz-[cover] zero on third down in the red area. We had a slant called and it’s one of those deals [where] it’s so quick. There’s two [defenders] that come free. We can’t block them all in blitz-[cover] zero, so you basically catch the ball as quick as you can, [and] you throw the slant. [Wide receiver] Cody [Latimer] was going to have a touchdown, and unfortunately, a football play happened where him and the guy who was covering [wide receiver] Emmanuel [Sanders] collided and the football was gift-wrapped for [cornerback Dre] Kirkpatrick right there, and he made a great play.”
The interception set up a Bengals touchdown and erased the Broncos’ early opportunity to take a substantial lead. For the remainder of the game, the Broncos’ offense never possessed the ball while in the lead.
“Bottom line, no excuses,” Osweiler said. “I can’t turn the football over. It’s something that we’ve talked about [for] now going on over a month. Just protect the football, have zero turnovers at the end of the game and see where we are. And I think tonight, if we would’ve played a brand of football like that, we would’ve been in a much better position.”
As in past weeks, Joseph did not commit to a starter for the upcoming game. When asked whether Paxton Lynch could start against the Raiders, Joseph said he would have to look at the film before he makes a decision.
“We’re going to watch the tape and see where we are as an offense,” Joseph said. “Obviously, he’s healthy now. He’s a young player with talent. We’ll see.”
Osweiler, for his part, will remain focused on self-evaluation following the game in which he went 23-for-42 for 254 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
“I’m not worried about that,” Osweiler said. “I’m never going to look over my shoulder. I’m just going to show up to the building every single day and be myself, work as hard as I possibly can and everything will take care of itself.”