The Powerful Potential of Drew Lock

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 13: Drew Lock #3 of the Denver Broncos warms up prior to their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

As a junior at Missouri in 2017, Drew Lock threw for a career-best 3,964 yards, 44 touchdowns, and ended the season with a whopping 165.7 passer rating. Now in his second season with the Denver Broncos, the gunslinger just completed arguably his best pro performance after scorching the Carolina Panthers for 280 yards on 21 of 27 passing to go along with four touchdowns, no picks, and a final passer rating of 149.5 on Sunday afternoon. 

NFL odds this week opened with the Broncos +225 against the AFC East-leading Buffalo, but if Denver’s signal-caller keeps chucking the ball downfield with this type of accuracy, the Bills defense could be in for a long afternoon.

Going Short to go Deep

Ben Swanson of DenverBroncos.com recently broke down some of the reasons for Lock’s outstanding afternoon against Carolina. Among the plethora of Sunday positives to make Denver fans grin ear to ear include:

  • Relying on short and safe throws, including screen passes, before exposing the Panthers deep.
  • The QB was 10 of 11 for 77 yards on tosses behind the line of scrimmage.
  • An incredible 3 of 3 for 118 yards and a pair of scores on throws going further than 16 yards in the air.
  • A ground game led by Melvin Gordon’s 5.2 yards per carry to keep the Panthers’ D honest.

The Stats Tell the Story

DENVER, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 01: Quarterback Drew Lock #3 of the Denver Broncos looks to throw for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers in the fourth quarter of the game at Empower Field At Mile High on November 01, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Despite missing four games this year due to a shoulder injury, there is much to be excited about when pouring over the QB’s stats.

Lock has thrown for more than 200 yards in seven out of ten games this year, which is more like nine appearances if you disclude his first-quarter injury in week two versus the Pittsburgh Steelers that put him on the shelf.

He threw for a career-high 313 yards against Atlanta on November 8 and had a career-long 61-yard pass two weeks later against the Dolphins. 

In his rookie season, he achieved a personal-best passer rating of 136.0 in a 38-24 win over the Texans. While he’s approached these numbers twice this year (95.0 in the season opener against the Titans and 94.4 in a thrilling 31-30 comeback against the Chargers), he utterly shattered his previous best by hanging a 149.5 passer rating on Carolina.

Lock’s Future

After taking on the Bills this week inside Mile High this weekend, Lock has a pair of juicy matchups at the Chargers and back home versus the Raiders in Week 17. He shredded Los Angeles for 248 yards and a hat trick of touchdowns last month, and Las Vegas gives up 256.1 yards per game through the air — eighth-worst in the NFL.

If Lock continues this momentum through 2020 and into his third season under John Elway and company, the Mile-High Sky is the limit.

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Andy Coffaro is a sports journalist and managing editor with published work in USA Today, MSN, HERO Sports, The Mercury News, East Bay Times, Phil Steele’s College Football Preview magazine, and more. He graduated from San José State University with a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Sport Management. Follow him on Twitter @andycoffaro.

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