Drew Lock got his first start of the season on Sunday, but the Denver Broncos offense was about as awful as it has been all year long.

Breaking: It seems like Lock isn’t the answer at quarterback. At least, not for this current team. Despite being younger, faster and possessing a bigger arm than the veteran Teddy Bridgewater, Lock struggled today just as much as Teddy did this year.

Lock finished 15-22 for 153 yards while the Broncos ran for a mere 18 yards in the game.

All told, Denver gained a mere 158 total yards on offense with 8 first downs and went 1-10 on 3rd downs. It was the worst performance in all of those metrics by the team all season long, a group which has been among the bottom half of the NFL all year.

The Broncos may be a quarterback away — a saying used often this year by those who love what they see from Vic Fangio’s defense. But in reality, the Broncos may be a quarterback and an offense away from competing for the AFC West, let alone a Super Bowl.

About a half an hour after Denver’s playoff ambitions basically ended on Sunday evening, the Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC West for a sixth straight time. So, before the Broncos can compete for another Super Bowl, they’ve got to overcome the commander of the division.

In order to do that, the Broncos need a new offense. And they need a new offensive coordinator.

Of course, it seems more likely the team will be going with a completely new coaching staff after this, Fangio’s third year. Yes, the team has improved incrementally along the way and they are technically still in the playoff hunt with only two games to play. But, at 7-8, they are miles away from the Chiefs at 11-4.

If new general manager George Paton decides to keep Fangio around, the team must fire Pat Shurmur and get someone with some creativity in the play-calling position. If he also decides to fire Fangio, hopefully the next head coach will either be a young, offensive-minded guy or he hires someone of the ilk.

It seems the fans’ criticism of Bridgewater throwing short of the sticks so often for most of this year was in Shurmur’s play designs. Multiple times today, the Broncos threw short of the line to gain on second and third downs.

After Lock’s solid, deep completion to Noah Fant down the sideline in the third quarter, he threw it short to Tim Patrick and then short to Noah Fant, with the latter being behind the tight end and almost intercepted.

Later in the game, Shurmur dialed up a play in which Jerry Jeudy motioned across the formation just before the snap, which didn’t fool anyone, as Javonte Williams was swallowed up before he made it to the line of scrimmage. Shurmur’s many fake end-arounds this year don’t amount to much when the team never actually calls an end-around to keep the defense honest.

The offensive line blocked poorly for the run game all day, but Melvin Gordon seemed to struggle some early; Shurmur could’ve turned to Williams at that point. And either way, he abandoned the run, the offense’s strength which they’ve leaned on for the last six weeks.

The Broncos went 3-1 over that timespan when they rushed for 147-plus yards, but Shurmur somehow went away from the run game this week.

Ironically, for a guy who loves short passing so much, Shurmur hasn’t used the running back, tight end or wide receiver screen games to help get his so-so quarterbacks going, either.

After having Rich Scangarello as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2019, Drew Lock had Shurmur in 2020 and this year. It was clear he wouldn’t adapt his offense to mesh with Lock’s playing style, and while it did fit Bridgewater’s better, it still lacked creativity, explosiveness and even an element of fun.

Maybe Broncos Country has been spoiled by creative, exciting offense. Mike “The Mastermind” Shanahan led a Broncos offense which was among the best in the NFL in the late 1990s, and they pushed the team to back-to-back Super Bowl wins. Then there was the greatest NFL offense ever, Peyton Manning’s 2013 team, along with 2011-14 as solid offenses themselves.

Now, we’re stuck with the least-creative, most bland and safe offense maybe in the history of the franchise.

Obviously, Denver won the Super Bowl in 2015 with a team led by defense first, but even that team had enough creativity and fun to score when they needed to.