The Denver Broncos, without Peyton Manning, took down the Chicago Bears on Sunday, snapping a two-game losing streak in Brock Osweiler's starting debut. Osweiler completed a pair of touchdowns and didn't throw an interception in the Broncos' 17-15 win.
Osweiler was considered the eventual successor to Manning ever since the Broncos drafted him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. His strong showing against the Bears could cement him as the starter for the remainder of the season, even when Manning is healthy.
On Sunday, Osweiler threw the ball well and showed more touch on his passes than Manning has been able to do in his 18th season in the league. If this was an audition for Osweiler to keep the starting job, it seems to have gone about as well as the now 8-2 Broncos could have hoped. His biggest throw came when he hit wide receiver Cody Latimer for a touchdown in the fourth quarter:
Osweiler finished 20-of-27 for 250 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked five times for a loss of 31 yards and held up well. He was assisted by 102 yards rushing from Ronnie Hillman, and another 59 yards rushing from C.J. Anderson.
In Week 10, Osweiler replaced Manning in a disastrous game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Manning threw four interceptions and Osweiler came in, tossing a touchdown and an interception. It was revealed after the game that Manning was dealing with a torn plantar fascia and he'd have to miss at least one game to rehab his foot.
Manning completed just 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,180 yards with nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions in just nine games this season. He's only thrown 17 or more interceptions three other times in his career. At 39 years old and dealing with foot and rib injuries, his NFL future is seriously in doubt.
But at least on Sunday, Osweiler seemed ready to take over as the Broncos' starting quarterback. And he wasn't the only backup who was called upon in Week 11, either.
Yates leads Houston to big win
Bill O'Brien couldn't decide which starting quarterback he wanted, but once he settled on Brian Hoyer, things started trending in the right direction for the Houston Texans. Unfortunately, Hoyer sustained a concussion Monday night against the Bengals and Yates replaced him, leading the Texans to the upset win. He started Sunday against the New York Jets and played well enough to get the Texans another win and improve to .500 on the season.
Yates completed 16 of 34 passes for 229 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while the Texans assisted him with 126 yards on the ground. Houston won the game, 24-17, and remain in a tie with the Colts for first place in the AFC South.
Sanchez picked three times against Bucs
Sam Bradford's time as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles has been shaky at best. After he went down with a concussion and a left shoulder injury last week, Mark Sanchez became the starter and there was talk that Sanchez could earn the starting role for the remainder of the season if he played well.
He did not play well.
The Eagles were sufficiently dominated at home against the Bucs and Sanchez completed just 26 of 41 passes for 261 yards and a pair of touchdowns with three interceptions. He was also sacked three times, and the Eagles were never in a position to win the game.
Hasselbeck struggles, but Indy wins
Andrew Luck was out with an injury and 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck, who made two starts earlier in the season, started against for the Colts against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. He threw for 213 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and despite not getting much help from the running game, the Colts earned the 24-21 win. The AFC South is still wide open, but the Colts are now 3-0 under Hasselbeck.
Keenum replaced benched Foles
Case Keenum is the only backup to play on Sunday without an injury being a factor. Nick Foles was healthy on Sunday, but his play has been so poor that the Rams made the change to Keenum. But in his first start of the year, Keenum completed just 12 of 26 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. He didn't throw any interceptions, but he did fumble the ball three times, including in the final minute of the game. That set the Ravens up for a game-winning field goal in an ugly 16-13 loss for the Rams.
Keenum was later diagnosed with a concussion, though he never left the game.
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