Denver Broncos and Drew Lock run out of luck – Denver Broncos blog

DENVER – When quarterback Drew Lock closed his rookie season in 2019 with four wins out of the Denver Broncos’ last five games, his future, the team’s future and his potential prospects for the playoffs looked solid.

Fast forward through a pandemic, a season marked by turnover as a starter in 2020 and four months of this regular season as a replacement for Teddy Bridgewater, and things look a lot different for Lock, who was the one of the team’s second-round picks of 2019. And they look a lot different for the Broncos, set to miss the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season barring good luck. At 7-7 with three games to go – ranking 12th in the AFC – ESPN’s Football Power Index gives the Broncos just an 8% chance of making the playoffs.

Lock could be forced to end the season as quarterback after Bridgewater was rushed to hospital with a head injury in a 15-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday – a game also marked by a fumble Lock inside the red zone.

“I thought [Lock] did good early; Obviously the fumble is not good, ”said coach Vic Fangio. “We had the ball inside the 10 and all of a sudden they have the ball. The turnovers are huge … he decided to keep it and didn’t hide it and the guy took it from him. “

This game started at the Bengals 9-yard line with 10 minutes, 39 seconds left and the score 15-10. On a designed run-pass (RPO) option, Lock opted not to hand the ball over to running back Javonte Williams, but to keep the ball and run into Bengals defensive end Khalid Kareem, who took Lock’s balloon. The Bengals, after Kareem was knocked down by a return contact, took over at the 15-yard line.

A rather deflated Broncos team no longer crossed their own 40-yard line and found themselves squarely in the outermost ring of the playoff race instead of always in the thick of it.

“I just have to play a little better, I have to keep the ball,” Lock said. “[Broncos quarterbacks coach Mike] Shula says a few times in meeting rooms, if in doubt give it to the professionals. I’m a professional pitcher, not necessarily a professional runner … come to think of it, I probably should have handed it over to Javonte. “

The game was emblematic of Lock and the team’s struggles over the past two seasons. Lock tied for the league lead in interceptions last season and was last in the league in completion percentage.

Turnovers and inconsistent play over the 2020 season, especially in the red zone, led the Broncos to trade to Bridgewater in April, and was largely the reason Bridgewater won the post of start in training camp. Bridgewater has had just seven interceptions in 14 starts this season, and despite a score largely similar to last season, the Broncos remained in the playoff race until Sunday’s loss.

Lock has played just over four quarterfinals this season, including just over a quarter on Sunday. During this time, he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.

He threw one of his interceptions on a play that started on the opponent’s 5-yard line (against the Ravens) to accompany Sunday’s fumble on a play that started from the Bengals’ 9th. and his zeal to make a play often interferes with his ability to simply get his team into the end zone.

Bridgewater said Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells told him that “whatever you do, however you do it, just get your team into the end zone.” It’s a lesson Lock says he understands, even as he tries to show it on the pitch.

“The more I am on it, the more I realize the very, very good [quarterbacks] can balance both being the ones with the ball in their hands and going about business, putting the team on their backs, but also knowing when to let the team carry it for a second, ”Lock said. “… It’s in my DNA to go out and try to do a little more than I’m probably asked, maybe, but it’s something I have to… just figure out how to handle it a bit.” “

If Bridgewater, who was due to spend Sunday night in a downtown Denver hospital with what Fangio said he believed was a concussion, is out for Sunday’s game in Las Vegas and beyond, Lock will have a another chance to figure things out.

Sunday was another day the Broncos squandered a defensive effort worthy of a win. In the last four games, the defense has intercepted Justin Herbert twice, limited Patrick Mahomes to 15 assists and no touchdowns, and limited Joe Burrow and the Bengals to 249 yards overall. They are 2-2 over these four games.

Sunday was also the fifth loss of the season as the Broncos scored 14 points or less.

“You’re not going to win a lot of games scoring 10 points,” Fangio said.

“It’s not a lack of effort or willpower,” Broncos safety Justin Simmons said. “In the NFL, when you’re in the fourth quarter of one-scoring games, whatever the case, the good teams find ways to win those games.… We had a chance to win and we just didn’t. had it’s done. “

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