Analyzing Four Throws Drew Lock Wishes he Had Back in Broncos Debut

Erick Trickel

Drew Lock's debut for the Denver Broncos was promising. The rookie QB showed what he can bring to an offense, though the Broncos did sputter at times, especially in the second half.

Sputtering later in games has become a trend for the Broncos, and while a lot of that falls on the coaches for pumping the brakes, there are execution errors as well. Some of those execution errors fall on Lock.

For being a rookie debut, it was surprising that there weren’t more than a handful of throws that the quarterback would probably want to have back. Today, I'm going to analyze most of the throws that Lock probably wishes he could re-do. 

Of the five air-mail throws that I identified, join me as I break down four of them.

Play 1: 14:22 | First Quarter | Not On the Same Page

Situation: 2nd-&-6

Denver has en empty backfield on 2nd-&-6. The pass protection is good, and Lock sees that he has a shot at WR Courtland Sutton. There is nothing wrong with the decision, even though the ball fell incomplete. This is one of those plays where not knowing or having the chemistry with your receivers hurts a little.

Sutton has a decent step on the cornerback, and the safety is coming over the top to help out. Lock puts a little too much touch on this one, and places it more to the outside. In a way, it was smart of Lock to put this one on the outside, as dropping it in the basket is leaving Sutton open for a big hit from the safety.

If Lock wanted to protect Sutton from the hit, he would have needed to put more air on this one and drop it outside. That would have let Sutton adjust away from the hit, and still move downfield. This wasn’t a bad play from Lock by any means, but just highlights the lack of chemistry between the receiver and the quarterback, which will improve over time. 

Play 2: 8:26 | Second Quarter | Too Much Mustard

Situation: 2nd-&-15

Denver is behind schedule after a mental error on first down drew a penalty. Being behind schedule is, obviously, never a good thing so Denver has to make up for it on this play if they want a more manageable third down, which is important against the Chargers pass rushers.

WR Tim Patrick is running a simple hook route and gets open with space to run. It is on Lock to place this ball perfectly to let Patrick capitalize on the space that he has. Instead, Lock puts a little too much mustard on the pass and hits Patrick high and behind, which forces the receiver to make a bigger adjustment than was warranted.

Yes, this ball hit Patrick in the hands and he has to come down with it. However, the placement would have limited what Patrick could have done after the catch. If Lock placed this properly, Patrick had a shot at making this a 3rd-&-5 to a 3rd-&-7, or even a first down it he broke a tackle.

What happens next for the Broncos? Don't miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second and sign up for our free newsletter and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily!

Play 3: 9:05 | Third Quarter | Lack of Accuracy Downfield

Situation: 3rd-&-5

This incompletion isn’t just on Lock, but also on TE Noah Fant. The attempt from Fant to adjust to the ball in the air is minimal. There have been multiple cases this season where Fant hasn’t done all he can to adjust to the pass in the air.

That said, Lock could’ve put a little more air on this and allowed Fant to continue forward and drop the ball in the basket. If Lock did that, and with Fant’s speed and athleticism, there is a good chance for a big touchdown here. 

Both players at fault on this one, but Lock’s inaccuracy kept a potential touchdown off the board. Fant’s lack of adjustment kept the completion for a big gain from happening but it was unlikely he would’ve taken it for a touchdown.

Play 4: 11:41 | Fourth Quarter | A Rookie Mistake

Situation: 2nd-&-9

It should be obvious why Lock should want this throw back. Lock doesn’t see LB Denzel Perryman in coverage and throws the interception. This was a terrible read from Lock, and the only really terrible throw/read from Lock all game. With it this being late in the game, however, it could’ve really hurt the Broncos.

There wasn’t much pressure on Lock here, and if there had been, he had a lane to the right to escape out of the pocket. From inside the pocket, when he winds up to throw, there isn’t anyone else open down the field. 

It would’ve been nice to see Lock not try and force this, scramble right and hit either the tight end or running back and let them try and make a play. A rookie mistake, but one of the few obvious ones he made.

The Takeaway

Drew Lock is a rookie, so it isn’t going to all be perfect. Even Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and every other elite quarterback make throws at times that they want back. It's part of the game. 

However, with Lock, what is noticeable is how few there were. He has all the tools, the work ethic and drive to be great. If the Broncos are able to develop the kid, and he grows as quickly as he has since just being drafted, it isn’t unreasonable to think that Lock can lead the Broncos to the playoffs in 2020.

The debut was far from perfect, but Lock was really good and showed a lot of promise. 

Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel and @MileHighHuddle. 

Comments (7)
No. 1-5
Chad Jensen
Chad Jensen


It's good to recognize the areas the promising QB has room to grow.


Ingram whooped Risner on the throw to Fant. A half second more to step up could’ve made a difference on that one.

Looking back at the game, the Chargers front had their way with Denver’s front the majority of the game. People will look at Box scores and not see any sacks, but that has more to do with Drew getting the ball out quick and buying time with his mobility. Another encouraging takeaway in my opinion.


With his first start and a handful of practices timing is gonna be off. You could say the game plan didn't let him throw 2 more INTs and a ton of incompletes either...mission accomplished. Now the DCs will game plan more...tough week ahead..


The throw to fant was all on fant. Nothing on lock on this one. He has absolutely no time or space to throw the ball and still makes a great throw knowing that Ingram is going to blow him up as soon as the ball is gone. Fant needs to improve his ball tracking skills.