DENVER -- With just over six minutes left in the third quarter of Sunday's 29-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak decided enough was enough, and he sat quarterback Peyton Manning and inserted Brock Osweiler into the lineup.
The move ended one of the worst days of Manning's career. Although he set the NFL record for career passing yards, Manning was 5-of-20 for just 35 yards and four interceptions when he was removed from the game. He was sacked twice, and he fumbled.
"To be honest with you, I was protecting him. I was worried about him,'' Kubiak said. "Let me just say this: Obviously, I'm very disappointed in the football game ... I'm disappointed in myself, this is on me. I probably should have made a decision not to play him in the game. I needed to make probably that tough decision there.''
Manning was listed on the injury report two weeks ago with a right shoulder injury and was listed this past week with a foot injury. On Saturday, a rib cage injury was formally added to the report after Manning informed the team's medical staff of some discomfort in the wake of Friday's practice.
Manning received treatment for rib and foot injuries on Saturday.
"He practiced Friday, you know, felt good,'' Kubiak said. "[He] came out of practice Friday, Saturday, as you all know, his ribs were bothering him a little bit, and I probably should, right there, said no.''
Osweiler completed his first pass attempt, but the drive ended with a three-and-out for the Broncos. He finished the day 14-of-24 for 146 yards to go with a touchdown and an interception.
The Broncos trailed 22-0 when Manning was pulled from the game. It was Manning's sixth career four-interception game and first career game with four interceptions and no touchdown passes.
Manning now has 17 interceptions and just nine touchdowns on the season.
"Bad game, disappointing, made some really bad plays and just put our team in a really bad position,'' Manning said. " ... [I] really put our team in a bad spot all night.''
Manning shoved aside talk of his injuries and said he had been "very honest'' with the team's training staff and Kubiak in the days leading up to the game.
"I have a really hard time using that as any type of excuse,'' Manning said. "I had some injuries during the week ... I felt good enough to go out there and play. It's obviously, you look back on it now, I have a hard time saying that's why I played, you know, badly. Could that be the reason? I guess it could be, but to me, that's an easy way out, kind of an easy line to say after the fact ... I wanted to go, I wanted to be out there for the team.''
Kubiak immediately ended any talk of a brewing quarterback controversy following the game as well.
"If [Manning's] healthy and ready to go, Peyton is our quarterback," Kubiak said.
It all comprised a strange day for Manning, as he passed Brett Favre to break the NFL record for career passing yards with a 4-yard flip to running back Ronnie Hillman in the first quarter, but three of his interceptions came in the first half, in which the Broncos mustered just 40 yards of offense. Denver trailed the Kansas City Chiefs 19-0 at halftime.
Manning's first pass attempt of the day was intercepted. Things didn't get much better, as he was sacked for a 2-yard loss and fumbled the ball on his second drop-back of the day, the play before he set the record.
Manning said after the game that he didn't consider telling the coaches at halftime that he didn't feel right, physically.
"I wanted to play better. We made a little second-half comeback last week and felt like we may have a chance to do that again,'' Manning said. " ... I thought I felt good enough to play. That's what I thought. Maybe that was the wrong -- maybe that was a false feeling by me or whatever that was ... I was honest with them with how I felt, thought I was good enough to play.
"Maybe looking back that was the wrong. I had the wrong indication by me and by going out there trying to help the team I ended up hurting the team. I'm disappointed about that.''