If so, you're not alone, pal. The now 5-8 Broncos have had a more down-than-up 2020-2021 season thus far, with positive developments such as the squad's W over the improving Miami Dolphins outweighed by the opening-week choke job against the Tennessee Titans, the no-actual-quarterbacks-available debacle versus the New Orleans Saints, and last week's non-upset of the world-champion Kansas City Chiefs, which had social media users calling for the firing of John Elway, Vic Fangio, Pat Shurmur and pretty much everyone else on the payroll.
Underpinning all of these responses is the continuing question of whether Drew Lock is the Broncos' long-term answer at quarterback — and the draftee from the University of Missouri offered some reasons for optimism against Carolina. Not only did he complete the vast majority of his passes (21 of 27) rather than bumping along near the 50 percent line, as usual, but a number of his long balls were caught by people wearing the same color jersey as the QB. He tossed four touchdown passes, all to young wide receivers — one each to Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy, a pair to K.J. Hamler — who've been desperately waiting for much of the campaign to prove how good they are.
Of course, Lock almost gave up a fumble at the six (Jeudy tackled Carolina's Efe Obada at the three), and his inability to eat clock in the second half gave the Panthers an opportunity to make the contest close after falling behind 25-10 — an odd score, given two inexplicable extra-point misses by Brandon McManus, who admitted on Twitter that he sucked yesterday, and Fangio's mondo-stupid decision to take a McManus make off the board in order to go for a two-point conversion that failed. But compared to his past performances, the QB showed that he's far from talent-free — and plenty of fans who've been doubting him suddenly seem to believe this is the Lock we'll see every week from now on.
Slow your roll. The Panthers are a mediocre unit at best, especially without hometown hero Christian McCaffrey, who sat out yet another game with a lingering injury, and Lock has followed flashes of brilliance with sputters of incompetence before. But history didn't put a damper on the post-game enthusiasm that suffused Broncos Country.
See what we mean by counting down our picks for the most memorable tweets about the game.
Weird almost like he needs time to grow as a player and is going to have ups and downs and needs to go through some growing pains. True Broncos fans are behind Drew Lock as future QB. https://t.co/ZE3jRYuKKy— ThePonchoPunch (@ThePonchoPunch) December 13, 2020
I might be drunk. But you telling me the Broncos got a chance at the playoffs if we win out. Plus MIA losing out, LAV losing 2 of 3, BAL losing 3 of 4, and NE losing 3 of 4? Sounds like pretty good odds to me #GoBroncos— Apocryphon (@_Tr0picz) December 14, 2020
It’s not saying this game proves he’s the guy for the future- but it proves that he does have a ton of potential still. These last three games have been encouraging, if he keeps it up for the last three he’ll have made his case for the team to commit— Ben Griego (@BenGriego) December 14, 2020
Woah there buddy your team is hopeless with no future we have a young but inconsistent offense not to mention half the team is on IR we might be in the playoffs next season while the panthers mediocre. and we actually have a defense— Drew_Lock3 (@drew_lock3) December 14, 2020
He’s never has a fully healthy time. I fully think he can be yalls future. Now if he has a healthy roster and plays the same next year then we can pull the plug. But I don’t watch al the Broncos games so you just might know better that’s just how I see it— WHO DAT NATION (10-3) (@drewismydad) December 14, 2020
Deep Thoughts- The @Broncos are NOW playing with house money!! Next 3 games they should lay it on the line! Get the young guns “Real Game experience” -Nothing to lose...play for next season. Let Drew get reps and get timing down with his young receivers and TE. Future is Now!— Maximo Vela (@LJMaximo) December 14, 2020
This offseason looking nice to fill our team needs and get younger We are looking at 75m in cap space and 2 1st rounders, 2 2nd rounders, 3 3rd rounders, and 2 4th rounders. Future looks bright... #BroncosCountry— Denver Broncos (@MGL_Broncos) December 14, 2020
why? the Broncos franchise represents everything you’d want and sets the standard for success. Past, present and future all shine bright. Carry on kid— Hittingpaydirt (@hittingpaydirt) December 14, 2020
Never said he was peyton or brady, I said to let him develop you goof. But like I said, I'll be saying told you so in there future so keep crying for your new qb I'll be patient— Blake (@blake_buckley58) December 13, 2020
As a Broncos fan, that has to get you excited about his future. Without the mistakes, you see results like today.— Phil Milani (@philmilani) December 13, 2020
He said being patient has been "the toughest thing to learn"
Broncos fan mad over a good performance from the qb that can help them be good in the future. I’m confused.— Victor Bernardi (@TheMrBernardi) December 13, 2020
Broncos WR Corp has a future!! Sutton back next year. Jeudy, Patrick Hamler! Might not have the media love yet but this is a tough group.— Eric Larsen (@elars777) December 13, 2020
BOW DOWN TO THE FUTURE OF FOOTBALL pic.twitter.com/Wbr9xvhiCq— tristan (@tristan__yt) December 13, 2020
Future HOF drew lock?— Stafford to Denver (@WallPoggers) December 13, 2020
Drew lock might be the future for the Broncos, just have to build around him. He could be a top ten QB in 1-2 years— Yannick KR Jones, MD (@Dryannickjones) December 13, 2020
Lol I better not see any Broncos fans act like Drew is a demi god now. We’re all very happy and proud but let’s not let one game get in the way of our evaluation.— Nick (@MileHigh_Nick) December 13, 2020
That being said, this type of game is very exciting for the future of the Denver Broncos
Lock to Hamler and this is what we expected from Drew. This is the QB we think we have and it gets you really excited for the future #Broncos— Geoff Koop (@GKoop93) December 13, 2020
Ok. But this is Fangio second year. And he has not proven to learn anything but who to blame. Elway's last 4 years has been totally messy. But ok give them all another year. But I guarantee you they will not make playoffs. So you will be wasting a year to put in real change— clarence braud (@cbraud123) December 14, 2020
Honestly Broncos vs. Bills on primetime next Saturday is a huge game.— Nick (@MileHigh_Nick) December 14, 2020
Bills vying for playoffs. Broncos trying to prove themselves as legit.
Could be a huge stepping stone for our young guys against an eh defense.
Monday Twitter is the best Twitter. Broncos fans trying to squint hard enough to convince themselves that Lock is the long term answer at QB, Raiders fans realizing they aren’t going to make the playoffs and the lone Chargers fan trying to get attention. It’s a beautiful thing.— Nick Valencia (@NickVKSU) December 14, 2020