In his NFL debut, quarterback Drew Lock played well enough to lead his Denver Broncos to victory over Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers.
We finally saw it. The second-round pick of the Denver Broncos this past spring in quarterback Drew Lock made his regular-season debut. Lock was taken on day two of the 2019 NFL Draft after a solid college career with the Missouri Tigers. Though he didn’t set the world on fire, Lock played decently enough to lead Denver to a last-second victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Lock played his best football in the first quarter, as he threw his first two career touchdown passes to wide receiver Courtland Sutton. After being up 14-0 through the first quarter, Los Angeles would battle back to make it only a seven-point deficit at halftime at Mile High, 17-10.
Though Lock and the Broncos wouldn’t find paydirt the rest of the ball game, kicker Brandon McManus would make three field goals to help win this one 23-20 at the end of regulation. McManus nailed two 50-yarders to hand the division-rival Chargers their eighth loss of the season, all by one score or less.
Overall, Lock completed 18-of-28 passes for 134 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Though his passing yards per attempt were a dreadful 4.8, his passing efficiency rating of 84.5 was in the ballpark of his quarterbacking counterpart in Philip Rivers’ 106.2.
While Rivers was statistically the superior quarterback, Lock was the game manager Denver head coach Vic Fangio needed him to be on Sunday. This win by Denver will likely give many in Broncos Country an inflated false sense of hope. Lock did fine, but this wasn’t a transformative performance against a great team, quite the opposite in fact.
That being said, Lock’s college experience playing in the SEC has prepared him to win games when he doesn’t have his A-plus stuff. Once Gus Bradley’s Chargers’ defense seemed to figure out what he could and couldn’t do in the passing game, Lock never panicked. He leaned on running back Phillip Lindsay and the always stout Denver defense to win this tight ball game vs. a rival team.
At the end of the day, it has been the recipe for success in the Denver offense for the last several years. Lock may not ever carve up NFL secondaries as Peyton Manning did in 2013, but he found a way to win, something quarterbacks like Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen didn’t do enough before him.
Though incredibly raw coming out of Mizzou, Lock played with poise and didn’t try to rush things like he was often asked to during his early years in college. More important than anything, he got the first win of his career at home against a future Pro Football Hall of Famer who has been an institution for a divisional rival team. The Broncos are far from good, but Lock gives them hope.