SAN FRANCISCO. – When you're backing up a future Hall-of-Famer, reps are hard to come by.
During last year's preseason, Brock Osweiler completed 16-of-34 passes for 139 yards, but never threw more than 11 times in a single game.
In the Broncos' preseason-opening win at San Francisco, Osweiler saw his most extensive action of his young career, completing 13-of-18 passes for 105 yards.
"He did a good job," Head Coach John Fox said. "He's growing mentally, he's got a great teacher with Peyton (Manning). He's sitting there in those meetings every day. He's gotten more accurate as far as his mechanics and I was pleased with his performance."
Osweiler took over at quarterback after Manning led the first-team offense on Denver's initial possession of the game.
He stayed in until Zac Dysert relieved him of his duties for the final 10 minutes of the game.
"No question, Brock has really worked hard this offseason," Manning said. "He didn't get to play as much last year in the preseason, so I know he enjoyed the amount of reps that he got and I thought he really did a good job."
Osweiler led the Denver offense for eight possessions that yielded a total of 145 yards, but failed to produce any points.
His last series was the most promising as the offense drove 91 yards during a 14-play drive that began at Denver's 2-yard line. The Broncos converted five first downs on that drive before a failed 4th-and-1 carry turned the ball over on downs to the 49ers.
"Well, for starters, it was a lot of fun to get back out there and play, it really was," Osweiler said. "Obviously we'd like to score points, and that's what our job is as an offense to do, and that's my job as the quarterback – to lead us to scoring drives. But that's just the first preseason game. We'll look at this tape, we'll clean it up in practice and come out ready to face the Seahawks."
The quarterback was under pressure for much of the night and was sacked three times for 22 yards.
Despite the 49ers pass rush, Osweiler took care of the ball and didn't turn the ball over.
"I thought the offensive line did a tremendous job out there battling," Osweiler said. "The Niners have a great defense, and the offensive line battled all night, which allowed the receivers and the backs and myself to make some plays."
Facing a team that earned a spot in last year's Super Bowl was a great initial test for Osweiler in his second NFL season.
He's had the opportunity to learn behind Manning and now is getting a chance to show his development on the field.
But Osweiler knows that he's far from being a finished product.
"It was a lot of fun to get back out there and play again," Osweiler said. "We did some good things tonight, we did some things that weren't so good, but that's preseason game No. 1, and as long as we improve on that, I think we'll be OK."