Denver Broncos | News

A rock star? Buzz Lightyear? Drew Lock earns win, acclaim in first road start

HOUSTON — The Buzz Lightyear nickname — more on that in a moment — was amusing.

Von Miller's description of the Broncos' new quarterback? It was better.

"[Expletive] guy's a rock star," said Miller after the Broncos' 38-24 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday. "He's on his way. I love that guy, man. He's going to be incredible."

Miller's uncensored assessment was an apt characterization of Lock's first road start, which was anything but meek and watered down.

The second-round pick became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in his first road start — and he led the Broncos to their second consecutive win in the process.

"Ah, it was just OK," Head Coach Vic Fangio joked when he got to the podium after the team's first win over an opponent bound for the playoffs.

Lock started his afternoon backed up at his own 8-yard line, and on the first play from scrimmage, he threw a comeback route to Noah Fant that broke for 48 yards.

"We were ready to rock and roll from the get-go," Lock said.

The pass to Fant was one of Lock's six throws on Sunday that went for more than 25 yards, and it jump-started a stretch in which the Broncos scored touchdowns on four of their first five offensive possessions.

"He played, obviously, very well," Fangio said. "He made a great jump from Week 1 to Week 2, which is what you're hoping for. I thought he threw the ball much, much better than he did last week. Felt last week he missed at least four or five throws that he could've made. I don't think he missed many today. And to do that on his first road start against a team that's going to be in the playoffs, probably win their division, makes it even better."

After Lock's first touchdown — a 14-yard strike to Fant on third-and-12 — his inner Lightyear came out.

All week, his offensive linemen called him Buzz. The unit joked that Lock's armband with the team's play calls made him look like the "Toy Story" character.

And they planned accordingly. On Saturday, Lock and his offensive line decided that if he threw a touchdown pass, they'd celebrate by pretending to fire lasers at each other.

"I'd like to think my confidence is contagious," Lock said. "I never want it to come off as arrogance. I want to come off as [fiery], having fun in a game that we all dreamed about playing since we were little kids. Now that we're here, why [shouldn't we] have the most fun we can with the game that we love? So I never want it to come off as arrogance, but it was definitely a little fun with the Buzz Lightyear this week."

They had plenty of opportunities, and, yes, Houston had a problem.

By the time the first half ended, Lock had recorded the highest first-half quarterback rating by a Bronco since John Elway posted a 158.3 rating in 1998.

Lock's 16-of-19 first-half performance for 235 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions gave the Broncos a 31-3 halftime lead, and it helped guarantee that Lock would become just the fourth Broncos quarterback to win his first two starts as a rookie.

The Missouri product finished 22-of-27 for 309 yards, three touchdowns, an interception and a 136.0 quarterback rating.

"Drew Lock, he's been impressive and I'm excited about what he's doing out there on the field," Chris Harris Jr. said. "The offense is clicking with him. I'm liking what I'm seeing from those guys and anytime they give us that many points, man, we've got to win the game."

Lock's 309 passing yards were the third most by a Broncos rookie, and his 81.5 percent completion percentage was the highest by any Broncos quarterback since Peyton Manning in 2014.

But it wasn't quite as simple as it looked, according to the rookie quarterback.

"Nah, I wouldn't say it was easy," Lock said. "I would say we had [the] offense and defense show up today, that's for sure. I think our defense did an awesome job with Deshaun [Watson] and those receivers and that prolific offense that they have to be able to stop. … And then [it was impressive] for us to come in and play a defense that's flying around the field, hitting people, stopping the run.

"For us to do what we did, I think it speaks a lot for what this offense could be."

As Miller made clear Sunday, it also speaks to what Lock could be.

A rock star? Buzz Lightyear?

Either sounds good when accompanied by a win.

Related Content