What a difference a win can make.
Last week at this time, Broncos fans still reeling from the team's humiliating loss to the Las Vegas Raiders were ready to toss alleged quarterback-of-the-future Drew Lock onto the ash heap of NFL history. But now, following an unlikely 20-13 triumph over the seemingly resurgent Miami Dolphins on November 22, many of those same folks are singing Lock's praises (or at least not calling for him to be drawn and quartered) and suggesting that a trip to the playoffs remains in the realm of possibility despite Denver's south-of-mediocre 4-6 record.
The debate on Twitter has been both bizarre and schizophrenic — but amusing nonetheless.
The Dolphins came into the contest on a high, thanks to three consecutive victories under first-year QB Tua Tagovailoa, with a tie for the AFC East lead just a W away — and early on, Lock seemed eager to do his part to help Miami achieve that goal. He threw an interception on just his second pass, giving the Dolphins a short field — and a Tua toss to DeVante Parker later, Denver was in a 7-0 hole.
The fans attending the game in person (they'll be the last this season, owing to spiking COVID-19 numbers) couldn't have been blamed for expecting the worst. But a funny thing happened on the way to disaster: The Broncos' defense, which has had a better season than most casual fans realize, made the highly touted Tagovailoa look like a standard-issue rookie rather than a phenom. Meanwhile, a mixture of effective Lock passes and strong running from Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon gave the Broncos life — and a 13-10 lead going into intermission.
Denver extended that margin to 20-10 in the second half, resulting in Tagovailoa being benched in favor of veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who promptly led his squad to a field goal that reduced their deficit to a single possession. At that point, Lock and company responded rather than folded, and could have guaranteed a victory had Gordon not done what he does all too often — fumbled at the worst possible time, giving Fitzpatrick another chance to tie. Only a Justin Simmons interception in the end zone prevented that from happening.
This narrow escape didn't harsh the vibe of the Broncos' most faithful, as witnessed by post-game tweets suggesting that a trip to the post-season isn't out of the question, despite tremendous odds to the contrary.
Continue to see some of our favorite examples, juxtaposed with some opposing views and a concluding post that will put a smile on your face whether you love Lock or loathe him.