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Sunday was more than just a concerning game for Drew Lock

Zac Stevens Avatar
November 16, 2020

LAS VEGAS — The desert heat sucked all life out of the Denver Broncos’ offense on Sunday.

Drew Lock’s 11th-career start was by far the worst of his career.

Against a below-average Las Vegas Raiders’ defense, the second-year quarterback went 23-of-47 for 257 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions and a 37.3 passer rating.

“I just didn’t put the ball in our receiver’s hands, I put it in their hands,” Lock said after taking a beating in Denver’s 37-12 loss to the Raiders on Sunday. “Could have better been some better plays by me without a doubt. Gotta keep working.”

Outside of Week 2, when Lock didn’t even play a full quarter before suffering a bad bruise on his throwing shoulder, Lock had his third-worst completion percentage (48) and his second-worst passer rating of his career.

The kicker, however, was his career-worst four interceptions.

“Well, obviously it’s very much of a concern,” Vic Fangio said about Lock’s career-high four interceptions. “Obviously, four interceptions, you can’t win turning the ball over that much. We’ve got to do a good job of evaluating why we’ve thrown these interceptions. What can we do to help him. Everybody’s fingerprints are on that performance — coaches, players and we all have to take a good hard look at it, which we have been on a weekly basis. We haven’t found the right formula yet to be consistent on offense.”

Much like Lock, the Broncos’ offensive output was the worst on the season. Denver’s 12 points were a season-low and it was the second-fewest points the Broncos’ have scored with Lock under center, only topping the three points they scored against the Kansas City Chiefs in a snowstorm in 2019.

Unfortunately for the Broncos, their quarterback and offensive struggles on Sunday were very much more of the rule this year, not the exception.

Due to his injury in Week 2, Lock has played in six full games in his second season in the NFL, equivalent to 24 full quarters.

In the fourth quarter against the Los Angles Chargers and Atlanta Falcons in Week 8 and Week 9, respectively, Lock led the Broncos’ offense to a total of 42 points — an incredible 21 points in each quarter.

However, in the other 22 quarters of football that Lock guided Denver’s offense, the team has a total of 76 points. That’s an average of 3.45 points per quarter, which equates to 13.8 points per game. Over an entire season, the 13.8 points per game would be the second-worst mark in the NFL, only ahead of the 0-9 New York Jets who are averaging 13.4 points per game.

“There’s only one way to rebuild [Lock’s confidence] — you got to go back to work and he’s got to start experiencing good play,” Fangio said after Sunday’s loss. “We’ve got to devise our passing game and our offense, our running game, to where he can be more successful. I see a lot of good throws by him, I see a lot of good catches by our receivers, but we seem to have that play or two where we throw a pick that stops a drive. We’ve got to be more consistent and more efficient.”

In the fourth quarter against the Chargers and Falcons, Lock lit up the stat sheet, throwing for a combined five touchdowns to only one interception for 306 yards. Over an entire game, that would equate to a record-setting 612 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. In those two quarters, Lock proved his ceiling in the NFL is incredibly high.

However, Lock struggled mightily in the other 22 quarters of the season, much like the rest of Denver’s offense.

In the other 22 quarters Lock has played this year, he has 1,171 passing yards on 54.1 percent completion, two touchdowns and nine interceptions. Over an entire game, that would equate to 213 passing yards, 0.36 touchdowns and 1.64 interceptions. That’s a rate of over four interceptions for every touchdown.

On the season, Lock has 1,497 passing yards on 55 percent completion, seven touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 66.5 passer rating. His completion percentage, interceptions and passer rating all rank near the bottom of the league.

“We’re committed to Drew,” Fangio said after the game, making it clear the Broncos aren’t going to bench the 24-year-old quarterback despite his struggles. “The more he can play, the better he’ll be. He’s got to fight through this like most young quarterbacks do at some point in their career. We’re going to continue to play him.”

And Drew Lock certainly isn’t going to bench himself.

“This organization doesn’t pay me, this fan base doesn’t cheer us on for me to quit on anything. They’ll have to carry me off the field for me to come off,” Lock said without hesitation. “It’s just what it is when you play quarterback. You have bad days, you have good days. You just got to limit the bad ones.”

Sunday was unquestionably one of the bad days for Lock and the Broncos’ offense.

Over the final seven games of the season, Lock will need to prove Sunday’s performance was more of an exception rather than the rule to instill confidence in John Elway and the Broncos’ organization that he’s the quarterback of the future.


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