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Lock to start Sunday against Dolphins

Broncos QB overcame strained oblique in ribs area. Despite recent struggles, Lock has outperformed the Bill's Josh Allen through 12 starts.
Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) works in the pocket against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Atlanta.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Drew Lock recovered nicely from his injured side this week and will be the Broncos’ starting quarterback Sunday against the Dolphins, a team source told 9NEWS.

Now Lock has to start playing better.

A second-round draft pick out of Missouri last year who posted a 4-1 record in the final five games of his rookie season, Lock has slumped since returning from a strained shoulder injury, throwing 10 interceptions in his last five games. Then again, Lock has also thrown six touchdowns and rushed for a score in the fourth quarters of the last three games.

That swing is not atypical of young quarterbacks. Check out how Lock has fared through his first 12 NFL starts compared to the first 12 starts of Buffalo's Josh Allen, who is now an MVP candidate:

QB .... W-L ...... C ....... A ... PCT .......... Y ... TD ... INT ... RTG

Lock ... 6-6 ... 231 ... 394 ... 58.6 ... 2,517 ... 14 ..... 13 .... 75.7

Allen ... 6-6 ... 187 ... 342 ... 54.7 ... 2,254 ... 11 ..... 14 .... 68.8

At similar stages, Lock has performed better than Allen in every category. Allen, mind you, was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 draft. Lock went No. 42 overall in 2019. 

So perhaps patience is needed, even after Lock threw four interceptions last Sunday in a 37-12 loss at Las Vegas. It was a game in which Lock dealt with a strained oblique and muscle bruising in his rib area. Lock said he suffered the injury while getting hit early in the second quarter. He was sacked by the Raiders’ Nicholas Morrow on the first drive of the second quarter. On the second series, Lock took a blindside shot from Arden Key.

On the next play, a third-and-15, Lock threw his best pass of the day, a 27-yard completion to Jerry Jeudy on an out pattern. He then completed a 26-yard pass down the right sideline to Tim Patrick. Lock later came up visibly wincing after converting a third-and-1 on a quarterback sneak.

RELATED: Klis' Mike Drop podcast: Lamenting another 3-6 start for the Broncos, 1-on-1 with WR Tim Patrick, Tua and the Dolphins coming to Denver

RELATED: Raiders whip Broncos 37-12 as Lock throws four interceptions

It’s that kind of physical and mental toughness that helped Lock recover this week. He was sore Monday, didn’t practice Wednesday as backup QB Brett Rypien took all the first-team reps, and split snaps with Rypien on Thursday – although Lock handled most of the red-zone plays. Lock was the primary quarterback Friday and obviously passed inspection by the Broncos’ medical team and head coach Vic Fangio.