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Woody Paige: Here's looking at you, Brock Osweiler, as the Broncos' season winds down

December 16, 2017 Updated: December 18, 2017 at 9:09 am
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Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) readies himself for the next play as Denver Broncos faced off against New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado on Sunday November 12, 2017. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

Rick Blaine always would have Paris and Casablanca.

Brock Osweiler always will have the Patriots and the Colts ... and $40 million.

Play it again, Brock.

The Wizard of Os has saved the Broncos once more. He saved the game Thursday night and possibly saved the employment of Vance Joseph and Bill Musgrave, and other coaches, and C.J. Anderson, Cody Latimer and Jeff Heuerman, among other players.

And Brock saved his own career in the NFL.

During a season entitled "The Glitches That Stole Christmas" from the Broncos, Brock was the best of show in Indy.

Broncos Colts Football
Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) runs for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) 

According to ESPN Stats, Osweiler's performance - two touchdown throws, one for the Broncos' longest play this year (54 yards), and a touchdown run-and-dive (18 yards), 12 for 17 passing (11.1 yards per attempt) for 194 yards and no interceptions or fumbles - produced a 99.2 total QB rating, highest of 2017 and by a non-starting quarterback in the dozen seasons since data has been compiled.

It is well to remember that Brock saved the Broncos in 2015, when Peyton Manning was struggling and suffering with plantar fasciitis. Osweiler replaced him and won four of the next six games - the most prominent a come-from-behind victory in overtime against the Patriots. Like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Brock was The Montana Kid Who Beat Tom Brady.

Upon Manning's return, the Broncos, with home-field benefit, prevailed over the Steelers and the Patriots to reach Super Bowl 50 and numb the Panthers.

As John Elway, Gary Kubiak and the players agreed, the Broncos wouldn't have become champions without Osweiler.

Yet, Brocklobster would be Ospariah when he departed for the Texans because (1) He had been jerked from the starting lineup in the final regular season game and didn't start in the playoffs, (2) He believed Houston would be a superior team and (3) Of a $72 million contract that was more than Elway's final take-it-or-leave offer.

Broncos Colts Football
Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) celebrates his rushing touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) 

After an adventurous year and a half, Osweiler sort of slinked back into town this season in the role he served for his first four NFL seasons. He wasn't supposed to start. Paxton Lynch, the air apparent, was hurt, and Trevor Siemian was declared No. 1. Then Siemian led the Broncos into an abyss, and Lynch still wasn't healthy.

Brock was promoted for Game 9. The Broncos lost three more times. Paxton started and was injured; Trevor started in the Lint Bowl, and the Broncos escaped the pit of misery. However, Siemian, whose name must be preceded with "oft-injured", was intercepted by the Colts, then slammed down and out.

The son of parents who work for a traveling carnival, Brock got on the roller-coaster ride again. Just turned 27 Nov. 22, Osweiler felt as if he were "playing football in the backyard."

In Kalispell, Mont., he sprouted to 6-foot-7 after the eighth grade and agreed to a basketball scholarship with Gonzaga after the ninth grade. But he switched loyalty to football and was selected the state's top player. Stanford wanted Brock; he chose Arizona State.

If Brock had stayed with basketball, he would have played on four straight Zags' NCAA playoff teams. If he signed with the Cardinal (Elway's alma mater), Brock would have been Andrew Luck's backup for three years, then the starter in his senior season and maybe the Rose Bowl quarterback.

Instead, he started one game as a Sun Devils freshman, became the roommate of Elway's son Jack and was drafted by Elway in the second round following his junior season.

Osweiler has appeared in 42 NFL games, 24 as a starter with a 13-11 record. He has been triumphant over Brady, Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck. He also has played (sometimes briefly) vs. Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and 18 other quarterbacks.

Osweiler has been to the playoffs in all five of his previous seasons (as a starter once) and on two Super Bowl teams. He possesses a championship ring.

And Brock has made $40.5 million in his career.

It's expected that Osweiler will be benched for Lynch as the starter in the final two games, and he might or might not be with the Broncos next season.

But Brock 'N Roll will live on forever.

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