On a day in which Drew Lock had arguably one of his best performances of the season, Denver Broncos' third-year receiver Tim Patrick had a career day. Patrick worked into the soft spots in Miami’s zone, winning vertically with speed, and precision route running to turn in a five-catch, 119-yard performance, helping lead the Broncos to a 20-13 win at home.
Patrick, who bounced around early in the NFL after going undrafted out of Utah, has really emerged as a legitimate No. 2 option for the Broncos this season, tripling his career touchdown total, doubling his career catch total in the process.
Sunday against a strong Dolphins defense, Patrick had a career day, and he started it off with a bang, hauling in a crossing route against zone coverage for 41 yards.
With Jerry Jeudy motioning across the formation left to right here, it confuses the Dolphins’ corner and safety, who are two completely different pages, which allows Patrick to leak up the field into the soft underbelly of the zone defense.
Lock throws a great ball right past the earhole of Dolphins linebacker Elandon Roberts to Patrick in stride.
I like the way Patrick sort of gears down at the top of his stem some to make sure he stays in the soft spot in the zone, making sure he at least moves the chains. That’s a veteran move. Most young guys would stay at top speed across the formation and run themselves into coverage.
Not Patrick. Heady stuff there from the third-year receiver.
Maximizing the Nuance
One thing I’ve really noticed with Patrick is his nuance and technicalities in his route running.
Here against Miami’s Byron Jones, Patrick does an outstanding job selling the vertical route with the power release and long strides. As Jones begins to flip his hips around the 30-yard line to get vertical with Patrick, the Broncos’ receiver jumps into the stop portion of the curl route, flipping his head and hips around to work back to the football for the 9-yard gain.
Later in the game, Patrick absolutely cooked Jones on a pivot route, picking up another 9 yards on an easy pitch and catch with Lock.
Very rarely will you see an All-Pro corner the caliber of Jones get completely turned around on a route, but Patrick does it.
The hard sell on the slant forces Jones to break inside with him. Once Patrick feels Jones on his hip, he pumps his right leg hard into the turf, pivoting back out to the sideline, leaving Jones twisting and turning in the wind roughly 5 yards away in coverage.
That’s how you create ample separation as a good route runner.
Finally, Patrick beat the Dolphins for 61 yards over the top on the final play of the game. Lock inexplicably kept this ball in play, rather than throwing it out of bounds to negate the chance of an interception and possible return for a score.
All that said, Patrick does a great job stacking and tracking on the go route.
Patrick quickly stacks Jones and gets even with him on the go route, giving him a runaway down the sideline to pull ahead. From there, Patrick does a great job of tracking the football in the air, making a tough catch over his shoulders for 61 yards, sealing the win.
As of late, Patrick is really emerging as one of the go-to weapons for Lock. With Courtland Sutton out for the year and Jeudy and rookie KJ Hamler going through the usual rookie ups and downs, the Broncos are fortunate Patrick has emerged the way he has.
If he keeps it up through the rest of the season, Denver might have a dangerous 1-4 in the receiver corpse that most teams would be envious of.