Drew Lock, Broncos fall short as Denver eliminated from playoffs for sixth consecutive season

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) looks to pass under pressure from Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (99) in the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High
Nov 1, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) looks to pass under pressure from Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (99) in the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

When the Denver Broncos lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in a do-or-die matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, the season felt over, as the drop-off felt steep. However, since taking the starting reigns, he’s proven the drop-off is pretty shallow, and might not even be there.

In his two games starting, Lock has played clean, smart football. While the team has certainly struggled, it’s also undeniable that Lock isn’t the reason for the team’s recent struggles, which have eliminated the team from postseason contention.

“Obviously, you’re upset [about not making the playoffs],” Lock told the media after Sunday’s loss. “You want to be playing for the playoffs. Like I’ve said many times before, we’re professionals, too. It’s our job to prepare like it’s your last game ever, every single week. Prepare your butt off, come out and represent this team, represent yourself, the coaches, Colorado, whatever it may be, to the best of your ability. It doesn’t happen unless you keep a good spirit that week, push out the negative stuff. We’re not playing for the playoffs now, but there’s still a football game to be played on Sunday, and it’s our job to play it.”

Although the team failed to generate many points against the Chargers, a lot of that had to do with the players the Broncos had out as a result of COVID-19 protocols, and their inability to convert scoring opportunities into touchdowns.

One drive that seemingly ended in a touchdown was undone by an illegal formation penalty, and another was undone by a foolish fourth-down trick play from Pat Shurmur, but the offense did a decent job moving the ball at times.

“I thought we had a pretty decent rhythm all game,” Lock said of the offense’s performance. “We moved the ball really well. We had a couple of 70-plus-yard drives. Maybe the rhythm comes in the red zone, maybe we do need to look at certain things we’re doing when we get a little closer to the red zone, but I was proud of the way the guys were playing. Maybe even some of them, for the first time. [Broncos G] Dalton [Risner] gets hurt, [Netane] Muti has to come in, Cam Fleming is playing right tackle. I was proud of the guys that came in. Maybe there was a little bit of a lack of rhythm, but we also got like five, six guys that normally aren’t in the flow of the game. They’re normally coming off the bench or not even dressing. I was proud of the way the guys that were in there fought their butts off until the end. We just have to figure out how to finish the drives.”

The offense will have to do a better job of capitalizing on that rhythm if the team wants any hope of beating the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday.

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