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One of Drew Lock’s best qualities was on full display on Sunday

Zac Stevens Avatar
November 23, 2020

DENVER — Drew Lock’s Week 10 performance against the Las Vegas Raiders was about as bad as it gets.

On Nov. 15, the second-year quarterback threw four interceptions and had an abysmal 37.3 passer rating in a 25-point blowout loss to their division rivals on the road.

With bruised ribs and a strained oblique from that game, Lock wasn’t going to let pain stop him from having a bounceback performance back home on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

But there was no bounceback at first.

The Broncos opened Sunday’s game against the Dolphins with a run for no yards and a deep incompletion. On the third offensive play of the game, Drew locked on to Tim Patrick in the middle of the field and threw it straight to Dolphins’ cornerback Xavien Howard.

Lock started his bounceback game with more interceptions (1) than yards (0), first downs (0) and completions (0).

It didn’t start as a bounceback at all.

On the next possession, Lock had two more incompletions and a quick three-and-out for the Broncos’ offense. The start of the third possession was no different—an incompletion on first and second down.

Lock started his bounceback game 0-for-6 for zero yards, an interception and a zero passer rating. Everything appeared to be falling off the rails.

Staring at their third-straight third-and-long, Lock hit K.J. Hamler 15 yards downfield for his first completion of the day and Denver’s first first down. The Broncos’ offense showed a sign of life.

“That was a big one,” the 24-year-old quarterback said after the game. “That’s one of those play calls where you’re pushing the ball downfield. You’re kind of sitting there—you’ll take one if you have to—that was the mindset going into it. We timed it up great.”

Eight plays later, the Broncos’ abysmal start on offense was a distant memory as Melvin Gordon found the end zone for Denver’s first first-half touchdown in nearly a month.

“Those are plays that we’ve got to have in these games and they’re there for us to make,” Lock said about the crucial third-and-long completion to Hamler to kickstart the drive. “That was one of the plays that maybe last week or the week before we don’t make and we’re coming off the field with a different vibe on the sideline. I’m proud of us for always progressing.”

That was the bounceback drive for Lock and the offense. Drew finished the drive with three more completions and a key 14-yard run on 3rd-and-13.

“I think Drew comes back from bad plays… I think he was pretty solid after that,” Fangio said about the way his young quarterback responded after his early interception. “I think that’s one of his good qualities. I don’t think he lets it linger and has a hangover from it.”

After starting o-fer on his first six passes, Lock finished the remainder of the game 18-for-24 for 270 yards with no interceptions and led the Broncos on four scoring drives.

“I just feel like, as a quarterback, you have to be able to have that mindset to where nothing can get to you,” Melvin Gordon, who scored the team’s two touchdowns, said about Lock. “You have to go out there and just make a play. When everyone is against you, you have to understand and know that your teammates are with you, and that’s really the only opinion that matters.”

“He probably ran across some things and probably heard some things, but good quarterbacks block that out and do what needs to be done,” the veteran running back continued. “Like I said, and like I tell the team all the time, this game is about winning and it’s about losing; when you win, everyone loves you and when you lose, it just comes with the job—especially at quarterback. For him to come out here and be resilient and do what he needs to do to help this team—and lead after he took so much heat last week, it just shows what type of player he is.”

Entering Sunday, Lock was in the bottom of the league in nearly every statistical category. The young quarterback had the worst completion percentage in the NFL (55), the second-most interceptions (7), the second-worst passer rating (66.5) and the third-worst QBR (39.7).

His first six pass attempts against the Dolphins only made his numbers on the year worse.

But, as Gordon said, the good quarterbacks in the NFL find a way to bounce back from negatives plays and will their team to victory. That’s just what Lock did.

“You’re going to have to have things like that happen,” Phillip Lindsay said about Lock’s resilience. “We let him know he doesn’t have to take the world on by himself. There are ten more of us, doing it as a unit. If we all do this together, we’ll all make each other look good. It starts up front, it starts with the protection. It starts with Drew knowing his reads and it starts with the running backs running the right holes. Let things come.”

Sunday was far from a one-man show. Gordon and Lindsay each topped 80 yards on the ground while averaging over five yards per carry. The defense only gave up 223 yards and Justin Simmons came up with a game-winning interception with 1:03 left.

But instead of letting one mistake spiral out of control as had happened just one week before, Lock flipped it around and helped lead the offense to a season-high 459 total yards.

“That’s my boy and I got so much belief in him. I knew he could play a great football game today and that’s exactly what he did. He stayed composed,” Dalton Risner said about his quarterback. “He did a heck of a job, man, so that’s my guy. I’m ride or die with him.”

Fangio has made it clear the Broncos are riding or dying with Lock for the remainder of the season too. On Sunday, after throwing his fifth interception in the past five quarters, Lock looked adversity in the face and quarterbacked the Broncos to an upset victory.


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