One hundred and fifty-four.
The difference in passing yards between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens in Week 4. And ultimately the difference in the game.
Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson terrorized Vic Fangio’s vaunted defense as he threw for 316 yards — surpassing the triple century mark for just the third time in his career.
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Relentless Ravens Feast on Broncos
Broncos Country were worried about Jackson’s leg, so too their defense. In reality, his arm did the damage, while the Broncos’ quarterbacks struggled to come close.
Denver’s backup quarterback Drew Lock was charged with leading the Broncos to a 4-0 start after premier signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater was ruled out with concussion at the half. Yet the Mizzou product did little to trouble the scorers. In fact, he didn’t at all. Denver were outscored 6-0 in the second half after trailing 17-7 at the main break. Head coach Vic Fangio wasn’t too kind to his backup, nor the rest of his squad when reflecting on the 23-7 drubbing.
“Well I think his performance was just like the rest of the offense,” Fangio said post-game. “We just weren’t good enough today after the one touchdown we got, and we really could get anything going. We weren’t getting it going with Teddy (Bridgewater) either after the touchdown drive so I think it’s more of a collective thing offensively than a quarterback thing. ”
Lock completed 12 of 21 passes for 113 yards and threw a late, inconsequential interception. The third-year quarterback was far from the main problem but he did contribute to the team’s first loss of the season. Of the quarterback’s five drives, four ended in punts, the other being the pick thrown to Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett. So, what is the most challenging aspect of being a backup quarterback thrown into the fire?
“A lack of reps is definitely No. 1, but I say, when it comes to some of the minor details throughout the week,” Lock said post-game.
“I didn’t run into any of these problems when I went out there this week—probably because I recognize that this is the biggest thing—but some of the motions, some of the snap points that we want to have where my call is similar to how we used to call it last year, but the snap points are just a little different.
“If you don’t snap it correctly or at the right time, the play is busted. How are we going to pick up some of these pressures when you’re not taking those live reps and seeing all of the looks and cuts coming off a clicker or watching Teddy do it. So like I said, live reps is No. 1, but I think focusing on the minor details as a backup, just if you do end up getting in there and making the production clean, so to say. ”
Whether Bridgewater will be ready to resume as the starting quarterback is unknown, not only to Broncos Country, but to Lock himself.
“I’m not sure how the protocols are, but I’m going to go about it like I’m going to start this weekend,” he said. “It will be a good chance to go back to Pittsburgh and kind of put some of that to bed from last year. It would be exciting for me to take reps, get with these guys, get in the swing of things and see what we can do to a good Pittsburgh Steeler team. ”
The Steelers also suffered a crushing loss but seem on a downward trajectory with an aging Big Ben Roethlisberger under centre. Though for the Broncos, Week 4’s loss was a crushing blow to the bubbling euphoria surging through Denver as the team sat at 3-0. Lock isn’t finding it too difficult to accept the loss and feeling typically confident of the Broncos’ chances in the near future.
“I was standing there watching us go 3-0, and I saw what this team is and I saw what this team can do, Lock said.
“I know what this team can be with either me or Teddy [Bridgewater] up there. Personally, it’s not hard to focus on, yeah we’re 3-1—let’s win three of the four games in these quarters that we have coming up and that’s a pretty good season that you’ve got going. But we’re obviously shooting for 4-0 in these next couple quarters of games coming up. ”
Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic