Osweiler, who was also celebrating his 25th birthday Sunday, went to work quickly, attempting to resurrect an offense that had been left for dead prior to the trip to the Windy City.
He led the Broncos down the field immediately on a quick first quarter touchdown drive, capped off by a 48-yard pitch and catch to Demaryius Thomas, netting the $70 million wide receiver only his second touchdown catch of the year.
Osweiler would lead the Broncos down the field on two more scoring drives and finish the day 20-of-27 for 250 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions, marking the first time all season a Broncos quarterback has not turned the football over.
The change in quarterback influenced a number of other players. Vernon Davis, now in his third game with the Broncos, finally came to life, catching a team-high six passes for 68 yards. Cody Latimer, a receiver with whom Peyton Manning has never been able to work with, caught his first NFL touchdown pass on an Osweiler zinger.
The quarterback change seemed to bring the Broncos running game back to life. Denver rushed for a season high 170 yards, led by Ronnie Hillman’s impressive 102-yard performance off of 21 rushes. C.J. Anderson contributed as well, rushing for 59 yards on 12 carries.
While not a spectacular performance from the Broncos defense, the NFL’s top-ranked unit did what it had to. No longer forced to defend half the field, the defense forced two Jay Cutler interceptions, sacking the former Broncos quarterback once on Derek Wolfe’s first sack on the season.
Linebacker Von Miller was thrilled to get back on the winning track. “Winning tastes great,” Miller said. “There’s nothing like it.”
The question now comes down to what happens next week when the Denver Broncos host the undefeated New England Patriots. After the game, head coach Gary Kubiak was unwilling to commit to naming a starting quarterback for next week’s Sunday night matchup.
“I knew that question was coming,” Kubiak said. “I’m not going to worry about that right now.”
For now, Brock Osweiler and the 8-2 Broncos will savor a hard-faught, emotionally-charged road win against their former head coach John Fox.