The last week of the regular season is a bad time to start a quarterback controversy, but that's what Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak did when he replaced Brock Osweiler with Peyton Manning in a 27-20 win over the San Diego Chargers in Week 17. However, that controversy has been put to rest as the Broncos have made a decision.
Continue for updates.
Broncos Announce Starter for Divisional Round
Thursday, Jan. 7
"The decision has been made: [Manning] will start at quarterback for the Broncos in their divisional-round game on Jan. 17," revealed Andrew Mason of DenverBroncos.com. "[Kubiak] told the team at its Thursday morning meeting that Manning would start. Kubiak met with Manning and [Osweiler] prior to announcing the decision."
On pedigree, Manning is the better option. He has won a Super Bowl and is one of the greatest QBs of his generation.
Then again, Manning is also coming off a season in which he led the league in interceptions (17) despite playing in only 10 games. He's also less than 100 percent.
Osweiler is arguably the better option at this point, but sitting a future Hall of Famer on the bench for a playoff game would have been a risky decision for Kubiak.
If the Broncos make a hasty postseason exit, though, Kubiak's decision will likely be second-guessed for years.
Kubiak Mum on Plan
Monday, Jan. 4
"I won't say anything," Kubiak stated on who the Broncos will start at quarterback in the postseason, per NFL Network's James Palmer.
Kubiak will have extra time to mull over his options since the Broncos will have a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
"I don't know what we'll need two weeks from now, but we're going to find it," Kubiak said, per Adam Kinney of BSNDenver.com.
The layoff also means another week for Manning to nurse his injured foot back to health.
"My gut told me to turn it over to [Manning] and let him lead the football team," Kubiak said, per NFL Network. "I'm just very proud of him."
Broncos Players React to Manning Replacing Osweiler
Sunday, Jan. 3
According to Palmer, some Broncos players were surprised to see Manning enter the game:
Demaryius Thomas told me there was no indication all week that a move to Manning would/could happen. Said it was all Brock all week. 100%— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 4, 2016
Not a single player on the Broncos I talked to said anything about Brock struggling vs the Chargers. All said he was playing well actually— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 4, 2016
Osweiler remained diplomatic after the contest.
"As long as the team is winning games, I don't care who's the quarterback," he said, per Adam Kinney.
Osweiler went 14-of-22 for 232 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions before exiting in the third quarter. Manning then entered and finished 5-of-9 for 69 yards. He also helped lead the team on three scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
Manning Comments on Health After Week 17
Sunday, Jan. 3