The Kansas City Chiefs demolished the Denver Broncos Sunday, 23-3.

The game was a dreadful one for the Broncos, who appeared dead to rights the moment game started.

The biggest takeaway from the game was the Broncos struggles on offense. From the get go, the Broncos failed to establish any sort of consistency, and rookie quarterback Drew Lock was rattled.

Sunday’s contest was a homecoming for Lock, who is a native of Kansas City and played college ball Mizzou. It was also just his third career NFL start.

After leading the Broncos to back-to-back wins in his first two games a starter, Lock hit a rookie wall in his hometown.

Lock completed just 45% of his passes while throwing for 208 yards and an interception in a snowy Arrowhead Stadium.

There’s no other way to say it, the Chiefs destroyed Lock and the Broncos Sunday.

“You know, it’s disappointing,” Lock said, “but it doesn’t have anything to do with coming home. I would be disappointed anywhere in the country if I played like this. When you come out with a loss, you never get excited. Disappointment is always going to be the reaction.”

The loss put a bad taste in the mouths of Broncos fans and players. Linebacker Von Miller had some choice words after the game, and overall, spirits seemed to be deflated after being at a high point following back-to-back wins.

That said, the result of Sunday’s game should not discourage Broncos Country.

In all reality, the Broncos season became a science lab of sorts the moment Joe Flacco was placed on Injured Reserve. From that moment on, the Broncos’ on the field product became a guinea pig as the team pivoted to two rookie quarterbacks.

Once Lock was named the starter, the objective for the rest of the season was to see what Lock can do, and prepare him to lead the team in 2020.

While Sunday’s performance in KC was forgettable, it was also humbling for the rookie, one that he will surely learn from moving forward in his career.

Lock was sharp in his first two games, throwing for over 400 yards and earning a win on the road in Houston. That said, he was brought back to earth and served a lesson in his hometown against the team he grew up supporting.

Lock should be a better quarterback following Sunday’s disaster. As it stands, he’s experienced success and failure and can use his experiences to hone in on his craft as he continues to learn the ropes of playing in the NFL.

Lock now knows what it’s like to play in an extremely hostile environment with inclement weather, and he should be better off because of it.

The Broncos have two games remaining this season, which are two more opportunities for Lock to get a feel of being a professional quarterback.

This season has always been about patience and building towards the future, and the Broncos need to stay along that path as 2019 begins to wind down.

Although the Broncos are just 5-9 this season, there have been signs of growth. Throughout the season, the Broncos have played solid football at times, but have failed to perform well consistently.

The 2019 season has been reflective of a team that is young and developing, especially since Lock took over as the starting quarterback.

The Broncos core includes Lock, Phillip Lindsay, Dalton Risner, Courtland Sutton, and Justin Simmons. As their core, and coaching staff mature, the Broncos will become a better team.

The NFL changes from year to year, and while 2019 is not the Broncos season, they have shown signs of a team trending in the right direction, which should yield optimism entering a new decade.