PHILADELPHIA | A quarterback change only made things worse for the Denver Broncos.
Brock Osweiler struggled in his first start since returning to the team and the NFL’s top-ranked defense was dominated by Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles.
With Trevor Siemian on the bench, Osweiler took his turn and threw a pair of costly interceptions.
But despite all their troubles on offense, the Broncos still had their defense going strong.
Wentz tossed four touchdown passes, Corey Clement had three scores, and the Eagles routed Denver 51-23.
The Broncos (3-5) hadn’t allowed 30 points in a game this season, nor any TD runs. They gave up 31 points in the first half and two scores on the ground.
The last time the Broncos allowed more points, they beat the Cowboys 51-48 on Oct. 6, 2013. But Peyton Manning isn’t around anymore.
“We had a great week of practice in all three phases and had a great plan, so obviously I missed something this week,” coach Vance Joseph said.
Osweiler was 19 of 38 for 208 yards and one TD. He took three sacks, threw two picks and hardly looked like the answer.
Two years ago, Osweiler was 5-2 as a starter filling in for Manning. He returned to the bench as Manning and the defense led the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory.
Osweiler then signed a big contract with the Texans after that season and went 9-7 in 2016, including 1-1 in the playoffs. He was traded to Cleveland, released and came back to Denver as Siemian’s backup.
Once Paxton Lynch is ready to play, Osweiler could be carrying a clipboard once again.
“Every player plays to be the starter,” Osweiler said. “I would love to be the starter. This game isn’t going to discourage me and I’m going to work hard to clean up these problems and get us back in the win column.”
Joseph wouldn’t commit to Osweiler starting against New England (6-2) next Sunday night.
“I have to go back and watch the tape and see how the game was played from that position before I make any decisions,” Joseph said.
The biggest surprise was the way Philadelphia dismantled Denver’s defense. Then again, Wentz and the Eagles (8-1) have been doing it all season.
“We played a great offense,” Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. “They are probably the best offense we have seen and that is what happened.”
The lone bright spot for Denver’s defense came after Wentz left the game. Von Miller had a strip-sack on Nick Foles, Brandon Marshall recovered it and ran 19 yards for a TD.
Another positive for the Broncos was kicker Brandon McManus, who played on the same field in college for Temple. McManus kicked field goals of 52, 53 and 24 yards. He was only 10 for 15 coming in and 8 for 17 in his career beyond 50.
“We’re at the midway mark,” Joseph said. “We have to coach better and play better, and it starts with me.”