Drew Lock has had an up-and-down season for the Denver Broncos. But despite all the naysayers in the media and the quarterback envy in vast swaths of the fanbase, Lock has the chance to achieve something no other Broncos' QB has before.
If Lock leads the team to a win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 12, he'll become the first Broncos quarterback to win his eighth career start by his 14th game with the team.
Getting to win No. 8 within 14 games won't be easy vs. a Saints' defense currently ranked third in total yards, second against the run, and 11th against the pass. New Orleans also ranks fourth in interceptions (11) and third in sacks (32). They're as good as it gets in the league defensively and are well-coached.
“Those guys up front just play really, really hard," Lock said of the Saints' defense on Wednesday. "They're flying around.”
Lock and the Broncos will have their work cut out for them, undoubtedly. But if he and his teammates enter Week 12's matchup with the same fire and intensity they had last week vs. Miami, anything is possible.
The Broncos weren't supposed to beat the Dolphins but they did and rather handily. The Saints aren't invincible especially considering the team's change at quarterback. Drew Brees will not square off against Lock — it'll be Taysom Hill.
Hill is a talented young quarterback but like Lock, he's inexperienced. Vic Fangio traditionally has great success going against young signal-callers so there are some outliers in this matchup that could lead to things breaking Denver's way.
If Lock takes what the Saints give him, similarly to how he performed through most of last week's game, the Broncos are likely to stay on schedule and able to keep downs and distances manageable.
"Obviously, the run game did a tremendous job in doing that but being able to bounce back from adversity was another thing that we did well—but we've been doing that well pretty much all year in those end games," Lock said of the Broncos' offensive performance last week. "I feel like we did it earlier in this game and that had a lot to do with us staying on the field and me taking what they gave us. I feel like that was a big improvement from weeks before.”
Although it's easy in today's media landscape to get caught up in QB envy, especially when young guys like Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert are having such early success, Lock is actually on-track to have a nice NFL career for the Broncos. GM John Elway said earlier this week that he's still "excited" about Lock and talked about the "future" when the young QB's name came up.
That tells you that the noise outside the building has not penetrated the walls of Dove Valley. Elway and company have maintained the proper perspective on Lock and remain committed to helping massage him through the traditional trial-and-error learning curve of a young NFL QB.
If Lock gets the type of help from his coaches and teammates that he got last week, that eighth win within 14 games is attainable. On the season, Lock is 3-5 (7-6 all-time) as a starter, completing 55.6% of his passes for 1,767 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions, while also chipping in 88 rushing yards and two scores on the ground.