It was just one game, but it wasn’t hard to see which quarterback played better or was better bang for the buck. In the Denver Broncos’ 27-9 win against the Houston Texans on Monday night, former Denver starting quarterback Brock Osweiler finished with 131 yards and no scores on 3.2 yards per attempt for Houston. His replacement, Trevor Siemian, finished with 157 yards and 1 touchdown on 6.3 yards per attempt.
Their play followed a script this season, ever since Osweiler left the Super Bowl champions to sign with the Texans for $37 million guaranteed. Siemian, a former seventh-round pick, will make $525 thousand this year in the second year of his rookie contract.
But perhaps the star of Denver’s win on Monday night didn’t hold back on what the night really showed.
“If you look at it overall, (John Elway) saved a bunch of money. And Trev is a great quarterback, man. He’s better than Brock in my eyes. So it’s a win-win situation,” Broncos cornerback Aquib Talib told USA Today.
It’s a scenario perhaps no one saw coming last year, when Osweiler was pegged as the heir apparent to the retiring Peyton Manning and Siemian was buried on the depth chart. After Osweiler passed up a Denver offer for a much larger one from Houston, it appeared to send Elway and the Broncos into disarray at the position, but Siemian has exceeded expectations through Denver’s 5-2 start.
In six games, Siemian has a 5-1 starting record with 8 touchdown passes to 3 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 91.8.
Osweiler, meanwhile, has engineered a 4-3 starting record but has 8 touchdowns to 8 interceptions with a rating of just 71.9, which ranks 41st in the NFL.
“It starts with me. I need to play better. I need to find a way to play better,” said Osweiler, who was 5-2 as a starter in relief of Manning last year in Denver. “No one is going to look at this game tape harder than myself, so we will find a way to clean this up.”
Osweiler is only half a season into his four-year contract, and he’s been adjusting to a different offense and constant shuffling along the offensive line. Facing Denver’s pass defense isn’t easy on anyone, and he did lead a two-touchdown, fourth-quarter comeback against the Indianapolis Colts the last time he was out prior to Monday night’s dud.
But Talib is confident that when it comes to value, not paying Osweiler was the way to go.
“We feel like we kept the guys we needed to keep. It would have been great to keep Brock, would have been great to keep (linebacker) Danny (Trevathan), would have been great to keep (defensive lineman) Malik (Jackson),” Talib told USA Today.
“But we feel like, man, the guys we needed to keep, John kept them. And we’re going to ride with him. John is one of the best leaders in the league, so whatever he decides, that’s what we’re going to ride with.”