Broncos' offense shows rare life under Drew Lock, aka Buzz Lightyear

HOUSTON -- Maybe not "Infinity and Beyond," but Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock's historic Sunday kept the Denver Broncos' slim hopes alive to finish the season at the .500 mark after an 0-4 start.

With Lock behind center for just his second career start -- his first start on the road -- the Broncos' offense rumbled to life Sunday as Denver scored more than 24 points for the first time in more than 400 days with a 38-24 victory over the Houston Texans.

"We were ready to rock and roll from the get-go," Lock said. " … We were fired up and ready to go, it was exciting to be a part of."

"It was incredible," said linebacker Von Miller. "F---ing guy's a rock star -- they got to censor that -- he's on his way, I love that guy, it's going to be incredible."

Lock, whose large wristband with the playcalls typed on it has inspired his offensive linemen to call him Buzz Lightyear, finished 22-of-27 for 309 yards and three touchdowns. The second-round pick by the Broncos (42nd overall) in last April's draft has now thrown five touchdown passes combined in his first two starts as the Broncos have won both games and are now 5-8, 5-4 since their 0-4 start.

At one point the rookie even broke out a Buzz Lightyear touchdown celebration as if he had a laser in the wristband.

"It was definitely fun with the Buzz Lightyear this week," Lock said. " ... The offensive line was like you should shoot the laser after you score a touchdown. I was like all right, I'll do it, we'll do it … I think it was our walk-through Saturday, I think it was [center] Connor McGovern who said something about shooting the laser."

Asked if he liked the original Toy Story movie – it was released in 1995, or the year before Lock was born – the 23-year-old said: "I love that movie, all four of them, first one's the best, four was kind of said."

Lock didn't throw his third incompletion until almost halftime and the Broncos led 38-3 early in the third quarter. Overall, Denver's point total was the team's highest since a 45-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 18, 2018. Sunday's win was the first time the Broncos had a defensive touchdown in any game since that win over the Cardinals.

He is the fourth Broncos rookie quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards in a game. The guy who drafted him -- John Elway -- has the team's single-game rookie passing record with 345 yards against the Baltimore Colts in 1983.

Lock also became the first rookie in NFL history to have at least 300 yards passing and three touchdowns in his first road start.

The Broncos used a variety of personnel groupings, including plenty of two-tight end and two-back looks to keep the Texans' pass rush away from Lock, who did his part with plenty of quick decisions. The Broncos scored on their first five possessions of the game, including their opening possession as well as their first possession of the second half.

"Great jump from Week1 to Week 2," Fangio said. "... [He] threw the ball much, much, better."

Lock had 96 yards passing by the end of the first quarter, 235 yards passing by halftime. Rookie tight end Noah Fant, who later left the game with a foot injury, also had his second 100-yard receiving game of the season, including a 14-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.

Lock completed passes to nine different receivers in the first half and did not throw his third incompletion in the game until there was 1:56 remaining in the first half. His only major mistake was a throw into double coverage late in the third quarter as Texans safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. intercepted Lock with 2 minutes, 37 seconds left in the third quarter.

Overall, Lock stayed composed against a defensive coaching staff that has manhandled rookie quarterbacks in the past. Coming into the day, Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's teams were 11-1 against rookie quarterbacks.

Or as Broncos safety Kareem Jackson, who played nine seasons in Houston before signing with the Broncos last March, put. "He did a hell of a job."