More like “Drew Lost.”
As in, the second-year quarterback looks lost whenever he’s on the field for the Denver Broncos.
Yes, sure. In Weeks 8 and 9, Lock led the Broncos on thrilling fourth-quarter roller coaster rides. That included the 21-point comeback victory over the Los Angeles Chargers two weeks ago.
But, for the majority of both of those games, Lock was inaccurate and his decision-making was questionable at best.
That only continued in today’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Late in the first quarter, Lock led the offense on a decent drive down into the Raiders territory to the 32, but then he tossed a “bad throw” way over the head of K.J. Hamler for an interception. The pick was ridiculous because it was into triple coverage. And “bad throw” is in quotes because it’s a specific stat Pro Football Reference keeps track of — basically uncatchable balls — and Lock leads the league with 25.7 percent.
It wasn’t just that glaring mistake which prompted this column, though. On multiple third downs, Lock threw short of the line to gain, resulting in punts and the team settling for field goals.
However, the Broncos were lucky to find themselves down a mere 10-6 with 1:44 left in the first half. That’s when Lock had a chance to prove himself and rescue an otherwise awful first half.
The young quarterback connected on a 3rd-and-long with Jerry Jeudy, converting to move the chains. Then, on the next play, he hit K.J. Hamler in stride and allowed the rookie to run into field goal range and also out of bounds.
The Broncos continued to move down the field with ease. That was, until Lock fell into his old ways. First, he used his speed to score a touchdown outside. But that was called back by the officials due to Noah Fant’s holding in the end zone.
On the next play, Lock threw off his back foot and into a Raiders player’s hands. That interception was even more egregious compared to the first one because Denver was in field goal range and needed the points.
With the Broncos still in contention for the game, Lock threw off his back foot yet again in the fourth quarter for a third interception of the day. That gift-wrapped a field goal for the Raiders.
Of course, it’s not all about what Lock did on this Sunday which has earned him the nickname of “Lost.” And that’s not because he looks like Charlie from the ABC show 15 years ago.
Lock now has a mere seven passing touchdowns (with a garbage time score) compared to nine interceptions. Before this game, Lock’s passer rating was third-worst in the NFL and his QBR was 4th-worst. It doesn’t stop there: Lock was fifth-worst in yards per attempt, and his Pro Football Focus grade is a terribly low 57.8. (See how he ranks in more stats here.)
Add it all up and Lock is basically the worst quarterback in the NFL. That’s not hyperbole.
OK, this was only his 12th start as a quarterback in the league. Five of them came last year and seven more this season, so one could argue this is still his “rookie” season.
But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be having some success. Justin Herbert is balling out for the Chargers as a rook and ranks higher than Lock in every single category. And there have been multiple other quarterbacks to star in their first seasons as of late as well.
His best receiver (Courtland Sutton) and his offensive line are both injured. Sure, and there are injuries all across the NFL. The best players adapt and work through those injuries.
And, one could also argue that neither Pat Shurmur’s offense this year, nor Rich Scangarello’s offense last year benefitted his style of play. That much is certainly true, but when the ball is snapped, it’s Lock’s time to shine.
He’s only shrunken when the lights are the brightest.
Look, we’ve seen all of this before. Little, short glimpses of great plays here and there, but a majority of head-scratching “what the hell was that?” plays.
We saw it with Tim Tebow. We saw it with Trevor Siemian. We saw it with Brock Osweiler. And now, we’re seeing it with Drew Lost.
Er. Drew Lock.
He doesn’t have to be a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback this year. No, that’s an unreal expectation. But he needs to show growth in terms of his decision making and his mechanics. Lock takes too long to choose where he wants to deliver the ball, and he throws it far too often off his back foot.
Unfortunately for those who want Lock to be “the guy,” we’re not seeing slow, steady growth this year. We’re seeing consistent bad decisions, forcing throws and drive-ending picks.
The Broncos are now 3-6 on the season and out of playoff contention. From here on out, Lock will be playing to save himself more than to save the team.