Drew Lock on crucial fumble, ‘That one will keep me up at night’

Drew Lock. Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports.
Drew Lock. Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports.

It’s not usually a positive when a team has to play two quarterbacks in one game.

It can mean the starter was ineffective, or in a worse-case scenario, he was injured. For the Denver Broncos, the latter was the reality on Sunday, as Teddy Bridgewater was knocked out of the game with a head injury in the middle of the third quarter.

In came Drew Lock, and the embattled third-year player finished off that particular drive with a touchdown. It was the Broncos’ first touchdown of the day, the team took their first lead of the contest 10-9.

But, after a huge play and touchdown drive for the Bengals, the Broncos trailed 15-10 in the fourth quarter. And on 2nd down from the 9 yard line, Denver’s offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur decided to call up the run-pass option out of nowhere.

Hey, at least it wasn’t predictable, as Shurmur’s offense usually is.

But the play was a complete flop. First, Lock kept the ball when the outside man stayed outside, then, he had the ball ripped from his arms with ease. Wildly, the Broncos got the ball back on the play when it was fumbled away by Cincinnati, but Denver couldn’t score on that drive. Nor, did they score again the rest of the game.

And after the 15-10 loss — in a game which basically pushed the Broncos out of the playoffs — Drew Lock said the fumble will stick with him tonight.

The Broncos passing attack was pretty awful with Bridgewater in the game, and it was basically equally as bad when Lock was in there. But what was clear is the offense was better when they focused on running the ball.

So, why then would Shurmur call an RPO for one of the only times all year is unknown. But head coach Vic Fangio defended the play call after the loss.

That play call was objectively bad, and the decision not to just hand it off was worse by Lock. But, later in the game another boneheaded decision was made by Vic Fangio when he called a timeout following a Bengals injury.

With 2:36 left in the game, Fangio decided to use Denver’s final timeout. The Bengals ran the ball and the clock ran to the 2 minute warning.

With a 25-second play clock, Fangio didn’t need to call that timeout, though. If he wouldn’t have, Cincy would have run the ball and the time would have run to 2 minutes, and Denver would still have ad a timeout to stop the clock once more. Or, he could have called it after that 2nd down run, and let the 2-minute warning stop it again after 3rd down.

After the game, Fangio told KOA radio he was told there would be a 40-second play clock so he burned that last timeout.

If he was told that, and then the officials changed it to a 25-second play clock, that really stings.

Otherwise, he and Shurmur both made massive mistakes at the end of the game which cost the Broncos a chance at a must-win victory.

A win today would have pushed the Broncos to 8-6 on the season, with about a 33 percent chance. Instead, they now have a 5 percent chance of making the postseason at 7-7.

Injuries are unavoidable. But incompetent coaching has cost these Broncos more than just this game. The loss to the Ravens was a similar fate.

Does this defeat mean Fangio will be fired? Not necessarily. But it’s not looking good for him at this point.

SHARE