If historic precedents are any indication, the Denver Broncos may have finally found their guy at quarterback. Drew Lock is now four starts into his Broncos career — a quarter of a season's worth of live-bullet experience — and he's already breaking and setting both team and league records.
After knocking off the Houston Texans 38-24 in Week 14, which was preceded by a home victory over the L.A. Chargers 23-20, Lock became the first Broncos rookie quarterback to win his first two starts since John Elway in 1983. In that Houston game, Lock also became the first rookie in the Super Bowl era to pass for 300 yards and three touchdowns in his first career road start.
But wait, there's more.
The next week, Lock and the Broncos went into Arrowhead and laid an egg in the bitterly cold and wet snow, falling 23-3. However, Lock bounced back with aplomb the following week, taking down the Detroit Lions 27-17.
He's now 3-1 as a starter, making him the first Broncos rookie quarterback to win three of his first four career starts. Heading into the season finale this week against the Oakland Raiders, whom the Broncos lost to in the season-opener, Lock has the chance to become just the third quarterback in team history to win four of his first five career starts.
Neither John Elway, nor Peyton Manning pulled it off. Neither did Jake Plummer or Jay Cutler.
Lock has completed 64.8% of his passes for 843 yards with a 6-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The kid is rolling and the energy at Dove Valley has shifted.
There's an enthusiasm and passion for playing that wasn't there in the first three-quarters of this season. Lock's teammates have credited him with bringing a swagger back to the whole team, not just the offense.
He's even got teammates comparing him to Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks, which might be jumping the shark a bit, considering he's only four starts into his NFL career. But no question, the Broncos are excited at what they've uncovered in Lock.
On Monday, head coach Vic Fangio hinted at what the future holds for Lock in the Orange and Blue.
“He’s done enough to show that he definitely could be the guy," Fangio said. "We’re looking for that to be the case.”
The Broncos drafted Lock in the second round with the hope that he could be the team's future franchise quarterback. Although the team's initial plan was to hold off on debuting Lock until 2020, Joe Flacco's failure to move the needle and his subsequent neck injury, forced the Broncos' hand.
The future is now in Denver. If Lock can beat the Raiders on Sunday, finishing his rookie campaign 4-1 as a starter, it will give him and the team such positive momentum that it could elevate the Broncos back to competitive heights in 2020.
Having finally found 'the guy', the Broncos can now attack an offseason with a unified vision and build that nest around Lock. Elway will have the salary cap resources and draft capital to make more than a splash.
(Full story in the video above).