Drew Lock has a playoff-sized opportunity set before him

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) calls out in third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Empower Field at Mile High Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) calls out in third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Empower Field at Mile High Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock has an opportunity to come in and keep the team’s playoff hopes alive. Can he get the job done?

When the Denver Broncos used a second-round pick on Drew Lock in the 2019 NFL Draft, fans dreamed of the day when Lock might be able to help get this team back into the playoffs for the first time since they won Super Bowl 50.

I don’t think anyone imagined it would look quite like this.

Instead of being the Broncos’ established franchise QB three years into his NFL career, Drew Lock is the backup to Teddy Bridgewater.

The Denver Broncos’ playoff chances hinge on Drew Lock

Lock was given the 2020 season to show that he could be the franchise quarterback for this Broncos team, and he didn’t do enough for the coaching staff to choose him in what we were all told was a very close training camp battle with Bridgewater.

As Lock put it to the media after Sunday’s loss to the Bengals, this has become “Teddy’s team”.

For those that held out hope for Lock becoming the franchise guy, those were tough words to hear.

Now, after a very scary injury to Bridgewater against the Bengals, Lock will be the starting quarterback on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders in a game that will essentially determine whether the Broncos will once again watch the playoffs from home or whether their hopes will still have a pulse.

When Lock came into the game against the Bengals to fill in for the injured Bridgewater, the offense moved the ball exceptionally well.

Lock finished off the drive Teddy started with a long touchdown throw to Tim Patrick, and on the next possession, he helped move the offense down inside the 10-yard line, where old habits resurfaced.

Being careless with the ball, Lock decided to keep on a read-option call and Bengals defensive end Khalid Kareem just took the ball right out of his hand.

It wasn’t just a drive-killer for the Broncos, it ultimately cost them the game. Those types of mistakes seem to follow Drew Lock like a shadow, a shadow he would love to ditch as soon as this coming Sunday in Las Vegas.

If even just for this weekend, the Broncos are once again Drew Lock’s team.

The last time he went on the road against the Raiders, though? It was as bad as we’ve ever seen from Lock.

He completed just 49 percent of his passes with four interceptions and a fumble.

This time around, the stakes are vastly different. With a win, the Broncos will be very much in the playoff discussion and out of fourth place in the AFC West. A win would also effectively eliminate the Raiders from playoff contention this season, as an added bonus.

The book is probably already written on Drew Lock’s future in Denver. He’s still under contract beyond this year, but at this point, it’s fair to say that no one really expects him to be the future franchise QB of this team.

Still, we saw Brock Osweiler come in during the 2015 season and help the Broncos to some really improbable wins down the stretch. Could we see something similar with Lock coming in against the Raiders to make his first start of the 2021 season?

A lot of people will probably say it’s unlikely, but you just never know.

If you’re Drew Lock, this is an opportunity to do what many Broncos fans envisioned over two years ago when he was drafted — help get this team back into the postseason.

Even if it’s not the way we all pictured it.