Down by four early in the fourth quarter, things looked like they were going to repeat the same way they had in so many other games in 2019 for the Denver Broncos. They hadn’t scored a fourth quarter touchdown in ten straight games, but that was before Drew Lock took over as quarterback.
For whatever reason, Lock has been a catalyst on offense. It no longer matters as much who is playing right tackle or who is getting plugged in along the offense line or how many holding penalties happen. The quarterback finds a way to overcome.
They went from down by four to up by ten on their way to a 27-17 win over the hapless Detroit Lions. A game they should have won by double digits, they did win by double digits. That is something to feel good about.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the team rallied and we’re handing out game balls to those who made the biggest difference in this win.
As Tim Patrick said about Lock after the game, “His swagger is contagious. The way he carries himself, it’s hard not to have fun out there. ... That’s a guy you want to follow.” As I told Adam on the MHR Radio Podcast, it’s not just swagger that has returned to Broncos Country but excitement and hope. Lock continues to prove that he belongs, and it’s hard to not think he can get even better. - Ian St. Clair
Phillip Lindsay continues to be the Broncos best offensive weapon. He had an incredible game, with 19 carries for 109 yards and a score. He averaged over 5 yards every time he touched the ball. In a game where Courtland Sutton was largely held in check by Darius Slay, Lindsay was able to be the one to open up the offense. Every run looked like precision surgery. He would survey the line, find a hole, and bust through. His 27 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the perfect combination of speed, vision, and exactitude. Watching him run the ball is like watching a painter meticulously select where his next brush stroke will go, only it ends in a burst of speed and power. - Adam Malnati
If you only looked at Von Miller’s stat line from Sunday’s contest, it would be very unimpressive - two combined tackles, one QB hit, one batted down pass. But that’s only because there is no line item on a stat sheet for “makes an impact on every play.” Miller was everywhere on Sunday - sometimes he was rushing the quarterback and just barely missing but bringing “pressure;” sometimes he was bringing down the running back behind the line of scrimmage; sometimes he was jumping up in front of the QB, batting down his pass. I tweeted earlier in the week that every team should be so lucky to have a player like Von Miller, and I stand by it. No question, this defense wouldn’t be as menacing or as tough if No. 58 wasn’t on the field. Because of who he is and how much of a difference he makes, the defense as a whole had a big day with four sacks, held the Lions to under 100 yards rushing and kept them to just 213 yards of total offense. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Von Miller is good at football. pic.twitter.com/nvHh8ECstQ— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 22, 2019
Stepping in to replace a guy like Kareem Jackson is a tall order in any case, and the Lions definitely wanted to see if they could exploit the young safety. Marshall stepped up to the challenge for the most part, tallying a team-high 9 tackles (5 solo, 4 assists). It wasn’t a perfect outing by any means, but there was some good stuff to build on and that’s just what you want to see from a young player on a young team. - Taylor Kothe
The Broncos, who currently have the 3rd-youngest roster in the NFL (25 yrs, 304-day avg.), have won 3 of last 4 and are 6-5 since their 0-4 start.— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) December 23, 2019
On offense, the Broncos have had a league-high 13 players w/2 or fewer years experience start for them this year.
Week after week, Todd Davis takes his lunch pail to work. He isn’t flashy, but the Broncos run defense has been bleeding since Wolfe got hurt. The 6th year veteran is a big reason it hasn’t bled out.In the second half the Lions were clearly trying to march down the field with Kerryon Johnson and the rushing attack, and Davis, Alexander Johnson, and the safeties were a big reason it was too slow to work once Lock and the offense started to make hay. - Joe Rowles
No Dre’Mont? man. Dude had 2 or 2.5 sacks depending on your source and is coming off an injury. - Scotty Payne
What a breakout game for the young receive who has had some ups and downs in 2019. With Sutton being shadowed by the Lions only quality defender in Darius Slay, it was Hamilton who needed to step up and step up he did. He finished the game with six catches on six targets for 65 yards and a touchdown.
And I’d like to mention a few other players who had game ball worthy performances against the Lions. As an annoyed Scotty finally gave out a game ball above to Jones, there were just too many game balls needing to be handed out and not enough staff here to provide. I’d like to mention both Jeremiah Attaochu and Malik Reed for their disruptive pass rushing, as well as Diontae Spencer for making some big plays on special teams in this game as well. - Tim Lynch
My game ball goes to the offensive line. After a shaky start with three holding calls (one on Garett Bolles and two on Elijah Wilkinson), the line stabilized and allowed the offense to put up 27 points. The offense punted three times on the first three drives then TD-FG-FG-TD-TD on the next five drives. This was largely with three guys playing on the offensive line who either barely made the team (Jake Rodgers and Austin Schlottmann) or were not on the team until recently (Patrick Morris). Rodgers and Morris had never taken an offensive snap in a regular season game before this game. Drew Lock was not sacked once and the Broncos ran for 152 yards (the -2 yard kneel-down at the end should not count).
As far as I can tell, the trio of inexperienced offensive lineman played well enough (no penalties) to allow the Broncos to score more than 25 points - again - for the second time in Drew Lock’s first 4 starts and only the thirteenth time since we won the Super Bowl. Both Patrick Morris and Jake Rodgers were given game balls by Vic Fangio for stepping up and playing well when the team needed them to do so. - Joe Mahoney