It's official. Peyton Manning is back.
Coach Gary Kubiak told the team early Thursday after meeting privately with backup Brock Osweiler, who started seven games after Manning was essentially benched amid suffering a torn plantar fascia in his left foot in Week 10.
Manning returned in Week 17 against the Chargers, taking over for Osweiler to help the Broncos score 20 points over the final quarter and a half to trigger a 27-20 Denver win that helped the Broncos clinch the AFC West and the top seed in the AFC.
It's not a surprising announcement. Manning brought a spark to the offense and his presence on the field seemed to lift the running game. Still, that's what we were saying about Osweiler when he took over for Peyton.
It's fascinating to watch the AFC's top seed flip-flopping quarterbacks in January, but the move makes sense on paper. Manning is a future Hall of Famer and Kubiak was wise to keep the door open for his return. That decision alone won't fix the problems Manning had throwing the ball this season, but the team will now rise or fall on his shoulders.