Drew Lock's ride is getting rocky: 'I can play a whole lot better'

DENVER -- Make no mistake, Drew Lock knows. He knows he has completed a wobbly 53% of his passes and thrown four interceptions over the past two games.

And after Sunday's 43-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, he knows he just might be pressing too much.

"Yeah, that could be a little bit," Lock said. "I mean, since I've been here, when I was on the sideline [injured in 2019], you saw a lot of people angry, mad, unhappy with the way we started in the beginning of that season, and see how happy and excited and looking forward to it everybody was at the end of last season when we started winning. Coming into this year, you just want it so bad for the guys around you. I mean, obviously, I want it for myself, but it ends up being you want it more for the guys around you than yourself -- that's probably the worst part."

Lock needs that unshakable self-awareness he has routinely shown after games to show up more behind center. Since his efficient evening of work in the season opener -- 22-of-33 passing for 216 yards and a touchdown with no sacks and no turnovers in a last-second loss to the Tennessee Titans -- the potholes have come fast and furious on his developmental path. Lock was 1-of-5 passing when he suffered a shoulder injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2.

He then missed three games and didn't lead the offense to a touchdown in his return, and despite his two interceptions, the Broncos escaped with a win at New England.

Sunday?

"It was up and down, up and down," Broncos coach Vic Fangio said of Lock's day against the Chiefs. "... Thought we had some good throws, some good moments in the passing game, but we didn't have enough. ... We needed to mix in some plays in the passing game there and they didn't seem to be coming."

Lock repeatedly passed up potential completions in the short and intermediate areas Sunday to force the ball down the field. The Chiefs were more than happy to accept that favor.

Toss in four turnovers -- Lock's two interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown, and two fumbles traced to Melvin Gordon III, including one on an ill-fated flea-flicker -- and a kickoff return for a touchdown, and Lock's bumpy ride has gotten bumpier.

"Yes, 100 percent," Lock said when asked if he needed to simply take the short throws more often when available. "... I can make the plays when they're there. I just have got to make a little better judgment when to make that play or you know what, they got us and, you know, eventually we'll stop having this conversation. It needs to happen faster [rather] than later and it will.

"I can play a whole lot better, and I'm going to. That's the thing -- I'm going to. This week wasn't the best for me."

No, it wasn't, but there's hope on the horizon for the 2-4 Broncos. Their next four opponents are 9-16 combined and two of them -- the Chargers and the Dolphins -- will start rookies at quarterback. And the Broncos, with plenty of defensive players such as Shelby Harris and linebacker Bradley Chubb showing plenty of anger Sunday at the way things went against the Chiefs, look to be facing a make-or-break moment.

"They have the credibility and the right to do it in this locker room," Lock said. "Shelby Harris, Bradley Chubb, they have a right to express their feelings, without a doubt. They have the right to tell someone straight to their face you need to pick your s--- up. And if they were to come up and tell me that, I wouldn't mind."