SEATTLE — There were flashes.
On a summer night at CenturyLink Field in his first true road test as an NFL quarterback, Drew Lock wasn’t perfect.
He couldn’t cap the Broncos’ second consecutive come-from-behind win of the preseason. He threw his first career interception. He started the second half with a three-and-out and a safety.
But make no mistake: Lock made plays during Thursday's 22-14 preseason loss to Seattle that showed why the Broncos traded up to draft him in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft.
On his first drive, he drilled a 14-yard pass to Troy Fumagalli that stuck to the tight end’s hands as he made his cut. He sprinted for an 8-yard gain off a read-option play on fourth-and-1. He lofted a pass to Nick Williams on a play-action bootleg that set up a field goal.
Late in the fourth quarter, he continued to deliver. Lock found Trinity Benson for 26 yards down the left sideline, then hit Devontae Jackson for his first career touchdown. He completed a pass to Juwann Winfree on the ensuing two-point conversion for good measure.
After a performance against the Falcons in which Lock threw for just 34 yards and didn’t lead a scoring drive, the 17-of-28 showing for 180 yards and a touchdown was a welcome change.
“It was extremely fun, especially in a place like that,” Lock said. “My voice is a little raspy. It was loud. You’re in the huddle with the guys. It was fun. You want to come out with a win, but we’re going to be able to learn from it.”
Lock said he knows he must continue to improve in the red zone and in how he picks up blitzes. Compared to a week ago, though, Lock said he felt “entirely different.”
“I think I said it last week, it was just focusing on the little things to be able to go out there and be comfortable with everything,” Lock said. “I wanted to feel different out on the field than I did the week before. And that just went into my prep and how I got ready for this game. I think I went about it a little differently — and me and [Offensive Coordinator Rich] Scangarello, as well. It felt really good. Hopefully we can build on it.”
Head Coach Vic Fangio, who has preached patience with Lock’s development, put the rookie’s game in simple terms.
“I just thought he threw it pretty damn good,” Fangio said.
Starting quarterback Joe Flacco seemed to agree with Fangio’s assessment.
“Drew’s doing well,” Flacco said. “He’s standing in there strong. He’s getting the passes where they need to be. The second half of these games are crazy. It’s 22 guys on the football field fighting for, really, their life. It shows when you watch the second halves. I think he’s doing a great job, like I said, standing in there, getting his eyes where [they] need to go and really going the right place with the ball.”
Fangio also admitted that Lock wasn’t perfect. But as Lock aims to earn the team’s backup role, this performance seemed to portend progress — especially in a late-game situation on the road.
“I thought he was OK,” Fangio said. “Obviously, he can be better, but I thought he made progress this week, both in practice and in the game, and I think it showed at times out there. But it’s still a process for him, and I don’t know how long it’s going to take. But I think this past week and this past game were great for him. He needs to learn from everything and not consider plays failures. They’re learning experiences right now, they’re not failures.”
Lock seemed to understand his coach’s point, although it’s clear he wants success to come sooner rather than later.
“It’s just a process,” Lock said. “I’ve had a couple talks about how this could be long, could be short. [I] could figure it out in two weeks, could figure it out in three weeks, could figure it out in however long. It’s a process that depending on how hard I work and how hard I study — which is going to be really hard — then we’ll figure out how fast that process takes place.”
It’s a process that should Lock to enjoy success even as he keeps some needed perspective.
“It was cool,” Lock said of that first touchdown pass. “It was really cool. I’m sure I’ll think about it later tonight. [It’s cool] to think you threw an NFL touchdown, but it would’ve been nice to get an NFL win too at the same time.”