Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) walks to the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) walks to the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
View All (5)

DENVER (AP) — Drew Lock's debut as a backup didn't go much better than his final days as a starter.

It was another tough one for the Denver Broncos quarterback. He heard about it, too, with boos from the stands reminiscent of his last two years as the starter when his inaccuracy and penchant for turnovers soured much of the fanbase.

Thrust into the game after halftime Sunday when Teddy Bridgewater was ruled out due to a concussion, Lock couldn't ignite a stagnant offense in a 23-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens that knocked the Broncos (3-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Lock said he's still learning the ropes as a backup, a role he rarely played even while at Missouri. He was hurt his rookie year before earning the starting job late in the season following a neck injury to Joe Flacco.

“Sure, there’s not very many reps for me in a week when you’re the backup and that’s what my job is, that’s what I got to be good at right now,” said Lock, who finished 12 of 21 for 113 yards and an interception in the end zone. “I wasn’t the best at it today.”

Lock could be leading the offense again next weekend in Pittsburgh. Bridgewater, who won the Broncos' quarterback clash in training camp, needs to go through the concussion protocols before he's cleared. The earliest he could possibly return to practice would be Friday.

“I don’t know how it is,” coach Vic Fangio said of Bridgewater's head injury. “He said he’s getting better as the day goes on. We’ll see.”

Lock orchestrated five drives in the second half. The upshot: Four punts and an interception after Bridgewater's seven drives resulted in six punts and a touchdown.

Really, though, Bridgewater didn't have the offense clicking, either, outside of a drive that gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on tight end Noah Fant's 3-yard TD catch.

“We just weren’t good enough today,” Fangio said. “We really couldn’t get anything going. We weren’t getting it going with Teddy either, after the touchdown drive so I think it’s more of a collective thing offensively than a quarterback thing.”

The 28-year-old Bridgewater was shaken up just before halftime on a hit up the middle from Ravens rookie linebacker Odafe Oweh. Bridgewater was 7 of 16 for 65 yards and one score before his departure.

This week, Lock's going to get starter's reps. He's started 18 games over the last two season, going 8-10, including 4-9 last year.

No matter if it's him or Bridgewater, he's got confidence despite the first loss of the season for the Broncos (3-1), who had feasted on three of the NFL's worst teams, the Giants, Jets and Jaguars, for their best start in five years.

“I was standing and watching us go 3-0,” said Lock, who was sacked three times. “I saw what this team is and what this team can do. I know what this team can be with either me or Teddy out there.”

Lock has capitalized on Bridgewater's leadership with the quarterbacks staying sometimes 30 minutes after practice to go through footwork drills.

“I really appreciate him doing that,” Lock said. “It means a lot.”

There are times when the two of them, along with third QB Brett Rypien, will meet to discuss what a defense might do.

“What does Teddy think about this defense? How does he see it?” Lock explained. “He’s been really important to me these last couple of weeks and I appreciate everything he’s done for me because I know, being the starting quarterback of this team is, it’s a heavy job. You have a lot to focus on. But he takes a little time each week to try to help me out.”

The Ravens pressure got to the Broncos and their patchwork O-line that included backup guards Netane Muti and rookie Quinn Meinerz.

“In my heart and in most everyone’s heart in there, most of the time it’s us that beats ourselves and not because we got beat by someone else,” Lock said. "They played well today, but we could have played a lot better, too.”


More AP NFL coverage: and