Was the season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs the last time we will see Drew Lock start a game at quarterback for the Denver Broncos?
Drew Lock was thrust into the starting role when Teddy Bridgewater suffered a concussion during the Denver Broncos’ Week 15 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Since he was selected with a second-round pick in 2019, he has produced mixed results.
There can be numerous reasons for that being the case, but the fact remains that we may not know whether Lock can be “the guy” or not. It sure seems that there is a good chance the organization has seen all it needs to see from him.
Looking at Lock’s most recent performance, the results are mixed from that game as well.
Lock completed just 50 percent of his throws, going 12-of-24 for 162 yards. He did not throw a touchdown or an interception in the game and was sacked one time.
During his time with the Broncos, Lock has played quite erratically at times, leading to some incredibly bad turnovers. But he has also been plagued by receivers dropping passes that are right in their hands.
Against the Chiefs, he made a few throws that were just uncatchable. Bad throws in which he just didn’t wait long enough for his receiver to make his break. One of these throws came at the end of the game when, if Lock waited just one more second, he could have hit Noah Fant in the end zone for a game-tying touchdown.
Instead, an early throw led to a ball that Fant had no chance to get and moments later, led to Vic Fangio making the decision to kick a field goal in that situation. The Broncos never saw the ball again.
Because of the loss, it’s easy to say that Lock didn’t play great, but the Broncos did not lose this game because of Lock. He did what was asked of him and had his team in position to win. A Melvin Gordon fumble was costly.
You can make the argument that Lock was the main reason the Broncos were in this game against a team that had beaten them 12 times in a row. His two rushing touchdowns were not only two of the biggest plays Denver had all day, they were completely unexpected.
Lock showed some things in this game that he hadn’t shown before, particularly with his legs. Imagine what would have happened if he had the chance to start from Week 1.
So, how does this performance stack up for Lock? Here’s a report card, if you will.
Passing: C. There were just too many bad throws but because of the fact that he will take chances, unlike Teddy Bridgewater, he gets a passing grade.
Rushing: A. Who had Lock running in a 23-yard touchdown? Probably nobody, but the fact that he showed he could step up in the pocket and take advantage of an open field was great. Lock will never be known for his scrambling ability, but it’s an element of his game teams could have to respect in the future.
Game Management: B+. As stated, Lock didn’t lose this game. He had the Broncos in position to take a 28-20 lead, heading in on the Chiefs’ 9-yard line, before Gordon’s fumble completely changed things. With more confidence and belief from the coaching staff around him, Lock could be a serviceable starting quarterback. He also did not turn the ball over in this game.
Intangibles: A. Lock did what was asked of him in this game and then some. He displays leadership on the field and he brings an energy that should make the teammates around him want to play harder.
He is willing to try to make the difficult throw, rather than take the check-down and be content to get the punter on the field. When Gordon fumbled, he at least made an effort to get Nick Bolton on the ground, something Bridgewater shied away from this season.
Looking at the two games versus the Chiefs, Lock had a chance to win the game (and the Broncos probably should have) whereas, in the game at Arrowhead, the Broncos were lethargic on offense and never really had a chance to win the game, despite the Chiefs playing far from their best.
Overall grade: B+
Is Drew Lock in the mix to be the Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2022?
Some are going to disagree with that grade as there are plenty of Broncos fans who are just convinced that Lock is not a starting quarterback. That could be, but it’s difficult to understand how anyone could be so sure of that with what we have seen (and haven’t seen) thus far.
It remains to be seen what the incoming head coach and his staff see in Lock, but general manager George Paton made an appearance on KOA radio and he stated that Lock definitely factors in as a potential starter for the team going forward.
There are several factors that will go into that decision. Will the Broncos be able to bring in a veteran quarterback? Will they use a high draft pick on one? In either case, Lock could still stick on the roster as a backup.
Against the Chiefs, Lock didn’t play his best game, but he did enough for the question of his future with Denver to be fairly assessed.