If you were watching football this Sunday, you may have seen highlights of a tightly contested game between the Bears and Dolphins, which Miami won 31-28 in overtime. You may have heard analysts praising quarterback Brock Osweiler for his standout performance.
This is one of the problems with sports media in today’s environment. Nobody looks past the stat sheet.
Everyone was surprised to learn that Ryan Tannehill would not be starting for the Dolphins, who apparently suffered an injury near the end of their week five game against the Bengals. Osweiler was inserted into the lineup and raised more than a few eyebrows, completing 28 of 44 passes for 380 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Despite the numbers, Brock Osweiler was not the reason the Dolphins won this game. That honor belongs to the offensive line and defense.
It’s a sentiment Osweiler himself shares, saying the offensive line played “tremendous football,” and that “Without them, we don’t play the way we did today,” in a post-game press conference.
The Bears came into the game Sunday leading the league against the run, allowing only 64 yards per game. Miami ran for 161, nearly triple that number. Frank Gore led his team with 101 yards on the ground.
Another key was slowing down Khalil Mack, who is near the top of the NFL in sacks so far this year. He was limited to two tackles, and Osweiler was not sacked once.
When asked how they shut down Mack after the game, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said, “(We) had about four guys blocking him.”
The defense’s major contributions to the game came in the form of three turnovers.
Jordan Howard fumbled on the Miami goal line, Mitch Trubisky threw an interception in the endzone and Tarik Cohen fumbled near the end of regulation during a promising Bears drive that could have given Chicago the lead. Cody Parkey then missed what would have been a 53-yard game-winning field goal in overtime.
All Osweiler needed to do was get the ball out to his speedy receivers, and that is exactly what he did.
Very rarely did he throw the ball deeper than eight yards, and twice, when he did, it was intercepted. Osweiler was the perfect example of the “dink-and-dunk” quarterback, throwing mostly short out-routes, crossers, swings and slants.
His receivers, particularly Albert Wilson in the second half, did a great job of creating separation from defenders and picking up big plays. Wilson had a career-high 155 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yarder.
Osweiler played exactly the same as he did in Denver and Houston. It generally is not enough to consistently win ball games, which is why he no longer plays for either of those teams.
He is the definition of a game manager, which is fine if your team has great receivers, a great defense and a solid running game, but it can also lead to a loss if any other part of the team is having a rough day.
Wins are not a quarterback stat, regardless of what the big media outlets tell you, but no one can deny the huge impact a quarterback can have on a game. With Tannehill potentially out for the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see how Osweiler handles the responsibility. Just don’t jump on the hype train too soon.