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'He's a game-changer': Broncos' offense continues to improve with Drew Lock at QB

DENVER — Add a come-from-behind victory to Drew Lock's quickly growing NFL resume.

In his fourth start, Lock overcame a 10-point first-quarter deficit and then led the team back again as they trailed 17-13 entering the fourth quarter.

A pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns — the Broncos' first in the final frame in 11 weeks — secured the 27-17 win for Denver and improved Lock's record to 3-1 as a starter.

"I thought Drew played well," Head Coach Vic Fangio said. "It's the first time he's had a comeback victory. He's had a lot of stuff happen here the last two weeks — playing in the poor conditions against a really good team on the road, now getting down 10-nothing, not moving it very well offensively, having a punt return against you which can kind of deflate you. I thought it was a good game for Drew."

The rookie responded quite well after the Broncos started the game with two three-and-outs and a penalty-plagued drive. Denver scored on each of its next five possessions as they rattled off a 27-7 run to take control of the game.

Lock still made plays in the passing game — he completed four passes of at least 15 yards — but he was also content to take high-percentage passes and avoid critical errors.

"We thought originally this defense was going to come out and play a lot of man and we were going to take big shots," Lock said. "They played a lot more zone than we thought, so we set guys up in the zone and picked them apart and took it down the field a bit. That's in my game, too. I'm happy you could see that a little bit. I can definitely be a gunslinger, but at the same time, I'll ding it down if I have to."

Points are points, no matter how you get them. And with Lock, the Broncos have gotten quite a few.

Since Lock assumed the starting role ahead of Week 13, the Broncos have found success that has eluded the team for much of the season.

Consider this: In 11 games without Lock under center, Denver earned just four wins and averaged just 15.9 points per game.

Before Lock took over, the Broncos ranked 27th in total offense, 29th in scoring offense and 29th in passing offense. They allowed the 25th most sacks in the league, had the third-worst third-down offense and were 27th in the red zone.

The above stats illustrate an uncomfortable reality for a Broncos offense that struggled as Denver lost five one-possession games and broke the 23-point mark in just three games.

Lock, though, has given the Broncos' offense a jolt.

In four starts, Lock has led Denver to at least 23 points in three of the games. He has completed 64.8 percent of his passes and been sacked three times. His completion percentage would rank 13th in the NFL among qualifying quarterbacks, and his sack rate would rank first.

He has also thrown six touchdowns after the Broncos had nine passing touchdowns in their first 11 games.

The team's third-down conversion rate (44.9 percent) and scoring offense (22.8 ppg) took jumps too; they would rank fifth and 17th, respectively.

Those numbers include a Week 15 game in the snow in Kansas City in which the Broncos mustered just three points in a loss. Exclude that performance, and the offense's numbers look even better.

It's early in Lock's career, but these results have his teammates believing in what could be next.

"He's going out there and he's proving himself," running back Phillip Lindsay said. "He's calm, cool and collected, and he understands what he needs to work on and what he's good at. The thing is, he can move out the pocket and he's a game-changer. He can make plays. We've got to ride around him, and help him out by getting open.

"All I can say for Drew is, he's doing a hell of a job and he's going to only get better."

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