The Broncos are technically still in the playoff picture at 7-7, but they desperately need a divisional win over the Raiders this Sunday. When they take the field in Las Vegas, however, they'll be without their starting quarterback. Coach Vic Fangio on Wednesday ruled Teddy Bridgewater out for Week 16 after the veteran suffered a concussion in the team's loss to Cincinnati. That puts third-year backup Drew Lock on track to start this week, giving the former second-rounder his first official QB1 action of 2021.
Bridgewater was carted off the field Sunday and then transported to the hospital following a hard hit to the head. He's since been released but remains in concussion protocol. Lock, meanwhile, took 32 snaps in relief of Bridgewater against the Bengals, finishing 6 of 12 for 88 yards and one touchdown, while also losing a fumble on a botched red-zone option.
Bridgewater was acquired via trade from the Panthers during the offseason chiefly to offset Lock's tendency for turnovers. And while the former has been more careful with the football this year, even teasing a Pro Bowl pace during Denver's 3-0 start, he's had far more mixed results as of late, with the Broncos going 2-3 since Week 10.
Lock, on the other hand, told reporters Wednesday that he's excited at the opportunity to reclaim the starting job, at least for this week, especially after seeing a stark reduction in first-team reps compared to 2020. The former second-rounder flashed play-making abilities at the tail end of his 2019 rookie season but struggled mightily with giveaways in his first full run as the starter, totaling 15 interceptions and eight fumbles in 13 starts for Denver a year ago.