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Broncos QB Drew Lock hoping to bounce back Sunday

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock doesn’t think NFL defenses have discovered his tendencies. “Not necessarily yet,” he told reporters Wednesday.

Lock, 24 and in his second NFL season, made the sixth start Monday night, finishing 22 of 33 for 216 yards and a touchdown in a 16-14 home loss to the Tennessee Titans. He made plays outside the pocket, showcasing mobility and accuracy in the first half, throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Noah Fant while on the run.

But he overthrew several open receivers and egregiously missed tight end Nick Vannett, who was uncovered in the end zone late in the first half on a drive that resulted in a turnover on downs.

“I feel like I was pretty good running around last year,” Lock said. “I’m not going to force a scramble. I’m not going to force a ball down the field. … This is a new offense. We’ve got a lot of new things going on.”

Lock had the lowest rate of positively graded pass plays among NFL quarterbacks in Week 1, according to Pro Football Focus, and lamented the overthrows Wednesday. He also missed wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, who was running free down the left sideline late in the fourth quarter on a third-and-eight from Tennessee’s 42-yard-line.

He finished 0 for 5 on throws of 20 or more yards, He used a golf analogy on Wednesday — comparing his missed throws to a seasoned golfer missing fairways.

“You’re used to piping it down the middle and sometimes you hit a slice. I hit three on back-to-back-to-back holes,” Lock said. “I’ll hit the driving range this week, straighten it back out and get the guys going.”

Denver plays at Pittsburgh Sunday. Fellow second-year quarterback Daniel Jones of the New York Giants struggled against the Steelers on Monday, finishing 26 of 41 for 279 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“Bottom line is we’ve got to be better than we were (Monday),” Lock said. “We’ve got to make the easy plays.”

Charger earns weekly honor

Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward on Wednesday was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. The 31-year-old recorded 12 tackles and broke up two passes in Los Angeles’ 16-13 road victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hayward is the first defensive back since 2000 to posted 10 or more solo tackles and two breakups in a season opener.

Run the rock

Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for an NFL-high 138 yards in a Week 1 victory over the Houston Texans — just like Kansas City coach Andy Reid wanted.

“We wanted to kind of get the run game going … especially with a younger back,” Reid told reporters earlier this week. “I think that was important to get him used to the speed of the game. But at the same time, you want production.”

Miller to IR

The Broncos on Tuesday placed All-Pro linebacker Von Miller on injured reserve. Miller injured his ankle during practice Sept. 8 and had surgery Sept. 11. Denver coach Vic Fangio said last week that Miller could miss the rest of the season, but didn’t definitively rule him out. “It’s too early to say for sure,” Fangio said.

Cornerback De’Vante Bausby, who was on Denver’s practice squad, is assuming Miller’s spot on the active roster. The 27-year-old has played in 15 NFL games, including five with the Broncos in 2019.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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