Drew Lock’s afternoon fittingly ended with an interception as the Denver Broncos got beat down by division rival Las Vegas Raiders, 37-12.
Lock threw a career-high four INTs, a culmination of weeks of inefficient and poor overall play. The young quarterback has now thrown multiple interceptions in three of his last five starts. During his impressive end to last year’s rookie campaign, Lock threw just three INTs total in five starts.
The quarterback’s turnovers have increasingly become an issue for coach Vic Fangio, who has now started 3-6 in each of his first two seasons as the Broncos head coach.
“Obviously, it’s very much of a concern,” Fangio said, via the team’s official transcript. “With four interceptions-you can’t win turning the ball over that much. We’ve got to do a good job of evaluating why we’ve thrown these interceptions, what can we do to help him. Everybody’s fingerprints is on that performance, coaches, players, and we all have to take a good hard look at it, which we have been on a weekly basis, but we haven’t found the right formula yet to be consistent on offense.”
Fangio did all he could to shift at least part of the blame off Lock, saying that the loss was a team effort, as his defense allowed 30-plus points for the fourth consecutive game.
Lock’s play recently, however, has been concerning for a franchise that has struggled to find a consistent signal-caller since Peyton Manning. In recent weeks, Lock’s tendency to fall away and throw off his back foot has become problematic. Like many young quarterbacks with a big arm, Lock believes he can overcome poor circumstances with blunt force, and it’s backfired more than worked in recent weeks. His red-zone interception to Raiders veteran safety Jeff Heath was a prime example of the young QB predetermining a throw and killing a scoring drive.
Part of Lock’s issue is the second-year quarterback forcing throws once things start to go bad during a contest. Fangio noted it’s on the team to buffer Lock and rebuild his confidence.
“There’s only one way to rebuild it. You’ve got to go back to work and he’s got to start experiencing good play,” he said. “We’ve got to devise our passing game and our offense and our running game to where he can be more successful. I see a lot of good throws by him, I see a lot of good catches by our receivers, but we seem to have that play or two where we throw a pick or that stops a drive. So, we’ve got to be more consistent and more efficient.”
Despite completing just 48.9 percent of his passes Sunday in Vegas — the second time he’s been under 50 percent since returning from a shoulder injury — and throwing a trio of INTs by early in the fourth quarter, Fangio said he never considered sitting Lock for backup Brett Rypien in the blowout.
Instead, the coach wanted Lock to play through the struggles. underscoring that the Broncos are dedicated to growing Lock, not looking for a replacement.
“We’re committed to Drew and the more he can play, the better he’ll be,” Fangio said. “He’s got to fight through this like most young quarterbacks do at some point in their career and we’re going to continue to play him.”
The Broncos spent the offseason adding weapons for Lock. Still, the losses mount.
Lock has seven more games to turn the tide or John Elway might be forced to consider yet another spin on the QB carousel come the offseason.
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