Welcome to Bad Quarterback Performance Of The Week, a recurring feature in which we celebrate the worst quarterback play the NFL has to offer.
Brock Osweiler is back and I have some really good news: He’s still very much Brock Osweiler.
Coming into this weekend, the former $37 million man hadn’t started a game since January 2016, and he hadn’t started one for the Broncos since January of 2015. But his long and tragicomic and implausibly lucrative journey eventually brought him back to Denver, and on Sunday the Broncos were reintroduced to an old friend. Osweiler seemed pumped about the whole thing:
The good vibes lasted for only a few minutes. Osweiler’s first two passes of the game were good ones—a 14-yard completion to Demaryius Thomas and and a 19-yard toss to Cody Latimer. Then he did this:
This play, and the next one, offer a thorough case study of what it feels like to play receiver on a team that counts someone like Brock Osweiler as its starting quarterback. The first act is the pass above, the second act is Osweiler, perhaps swaggering a bit due to his first two completions, deciding that the near-disaster which had just unfolded was not his fault but in fact that of Emmanuel Sanders:
The third act is Sanders, just seconds after having been admonished for running a route that was apparently unworthy of his quarterback’s very shitty throw, getting turned around by a terribly placed ball and immediately getting lit up as a consequence:
Playing wide receiver is an inherently frustrating and contingent job. Mostly you run around a lot and get ignored, but you keep running hard and fast for the sake of those handful of moments when you do get noticed and your efforts are rewarded with a catchable ball. This is the job description even for receivers who get to play with great quarterbacks and are thus blessed with plenty of wonderful passes in recompense for all that fruitless sprinting. Imagine then what it must feel like to be Emmanuel Sanders, whose only prize for playing hard in all those anonymous moments is to get his head put on a tee by his own quarterback. I bet it sucks ass!
Anyway, Osweiler finished the day with 19 completions on 38 attempts for 208 yards, a touchdown, and two picks. He probably should have had three or four picks, because he made some extremely bad throws. Two of them could not have possibly ended with anything other than an interception:
This one did not, but it will make you laugh:
And this one was so bad that the defender started celebrating before the ball even hit the ground:
The Broncos’ defense is maybe not the terrorizing unit it used to be, but it is still very good. Coming into Sunday’s 51-point beatdown, Football Outsiders had them ranked as the second-best defense in the league. The Broncos also have good receivers and a decent collection of running backs, and all these things that should by rights add up to a team with a better record than 3-5. And yet there they sit, in last place in the AFC West, because even good teams can’t be good if they don’t have a reliable quarterback.
The Broncos have been searching for that quarterback ever since Peyton Manning retired. They didn’t find any answers with Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, or Paxton Lynch. Meanwhile, some of the best defensive talent in the league continues to waste away, and John Elway is somehow once again looking for salvation in Osweiler’s big, dumb arm. Perhaps there’s a better place for him to look.