The game that dashed the New England Patriots’ hopes of a perfect 2015 season helped make Brock Osweiler a very rich man.
Promoted to starting quarterback less than two weeks earlier after injuries and inconsistency shelved Peyton Manning, Osweiler led the Denver Broncos last November to a 30-24 overtime win over a Patriots team that had entered the game with a 10-0 record.
Now with the Houston Texans after signing a four-year, $72 million contract over the summer, Osweiler points to that win as a turning point in his career.
“I know just from things (Texans coach Bill O’Brien) has told me, things that he’s told to the media, as far as him really wanting to bring me to Houston, I know that New England game really played a large part in that,” the 25-year-old said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “As far as my personal self, I think playing and ultimately winning the game against a great football team like the New England Patriots, it certainly gave me a lot of confidence very early in my career.”
Osweiler’s stat line from that Week 12 matchup doesn’t jump off the page (23-of-42 passing, 270 yards, one touchdown, one interception), but the toughness and composure the young QB showed in just his second NFL start — and in a snowstorm, no less — left a mark on O’Brien, a former Patriots offensive coordinator.
“I think that was a very, very tough game,” the now-Texans coach said. “Two really good teams playing against each other. He wasn’t perfect in the game, but he really hung in there. He took some shots. He completed some balls. He got Denver into the right play.
“You could tell that he knew his game plan very well. You could tell that he was tough, that he was going to keep his eyes down field, and try his best to complete the pass while the rush was bearing down on him. Those were some things as it relates to that game that stood out to me.”
Osweiler and the Patriots will meet again this week when New England welcomes the 2-0 Texans to Gillette Stadium on “Thursday Night Football.” The Patriots’ defense struggled mightily in the second half Sunday, allowing Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill to throw for 273 yards over the final two quarters and nearly blowing a 28-point lead before holding on to win 31-24.
“That’s not the defense I’m expecting,” Osweiler said. “I’m expecting the defense that played in the first half of the Dolphins game, the defense that played in Arizona (in the season opener), the defense that showed up in the playoffs last year. I’m expecting a really, really great challenge for us to go into Foxboro, play a great defense like New England has.
“I know we’re going to get their best game. We’re just working hard to get prepared for them, because we know the challenge ahead of us.”