ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– Drew Lock will start in his first game on the road against the Houston Texans on Sunday. He’ll look to become the first rookie quarterback to beat the Texans since Jacoby Brissett did so with the New England Patriots in 2016. With that in mind, here are four things to watch for in the game.
Improving Broncos Passing Attack
With Drew Lock firmly placed as the Broncos starting quarterback, he will look to jumpstart a passing game that’s struggled this season. Denver has the 31st ranked passing game (187.4 yards per game) and is tied for the fewest touchdown passes in the NFL with 11.
Denver has thrown for more than 200 yards in a game four times and more than 300 yards only once this year. According to NFL.com, since 2018, only the Washington Redskins have fewer games of 300 or more passing yards than the Broncos three in the last two seasons.
Broncos 2nd Half Offense
Despite the Broncos 23-20 win over the Chargers last week, the offense barely had an impact in the second half. Denver gained 36 yards and Lock threw for 11 yards after the break.
The Broncos have thrown three touchdown passes in the second half this year, all of them came in the fourth quarter. In a weird twist, the Broncos haven’t thrown a touchdown pass in the third quarter or rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter all season.
The last time Denver have scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter was in the 26-24 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth game of the year.
Getting to Deshaun Watson
One of the best ways to slow down Houston Texans and star quarterback Deshaun Watson is to get him to the ground before he throws the football. Watson has been sacked 35 times, which is the fifth most in the NFL.
In the last three games, Watson has been sacked ten times. In the last three games the Broncos have sacked the quarterback nine times, including three last week against the Chargers.
If the Broncos don’t get to Watson, then it could spell trouble for the good guys. Watson has accounted for 29 touchdowns this year, ten more than the entire Broncos offense.
Become Road Warriors
The Denver Broncos haven’t fared well away from Empower Field at Mile High in the last three seasons. Since 2017, Denver is 5-17 on the road, including 1-5 this year.
The last time the Broncos had a winning road record was in 2016, when the team was 4-4 away from home.