Nov 22, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) scrambles with the ball against the Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos QB Lock apologizes for not wearing mask

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock took to Twitter on Sunday to apologize after confirming reports that he did not wear a mask inside the team’s facility during the week.

Lock, along with fellow quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were not eligible to play in Sunday’s game in Denver against the New Orleans Saints after being labeled as high-risk close contacts.

Quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

“In a controlled and socially distanced area, we let our masking slip for a limited amount of time,” Lock said on twitter.

“An honest mistake, but one I will own. I sincerely apologize and I fully understand why these safety precautions are so important. Doing the right thing for a majority of the time is not good enough.”

Not having Lock nor Rypien or Bortles left the Broncos with no quarterbacks against the Saints. Kendall Hinton, an undrafted rookie receiver who was previously a member of the Broncos’ practice squad, was introduced as the Broncos starting QB before Sunday’s game.

Hinton, previously a quarterback and wide receiver at Wake Forest, threw for 1,504 yards in college and completed 53 percent of his passes.

“I pray for my teammates’ healthy, safety and success today,” Lock said in his statement.

“I look forward to getting back on the field next week. Go Broncos.”

Denver asked if they could activate quality control coach Rob Calabrese to play quarterback, but the request was denied by the NFL.

— Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts in the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 31-26.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Carr, surprising Raiders host Broncos

The Las Vegas Raiders begin the second half of their season Sunday afternoon against the visiting Denver Broncos with back-to-back victories and in the thick of the playoff picture.

Not bad considering the original offensive line has played a total of just 10 snaps together.

Consider that both starting tackles, Trent Brown (COVID-19) and Kolton Miller (ankle), as well as road-grading left guard Richie Incognito (Achilles), missed last Sunday’s 31-26 victory against the Chargers in Los Angeles.

Incognito remains on injured reserve, and reports this week suggested Brown might miss a month with COVID-19 complications, yet, the Raiders continue to have quality offensive line play with nine different players having started so far.

The Raiders (5-3) have still managed to win three of their last four games, including a 40-32 win at defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City, behind the standout play of quarterback Derek Carr.

Carr has completed 180 of 258 passes for 2,002 yards, 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions. His 110.0 passer rating ranks fifth in the NFL behind Aaron Rodgers (117.5), Russell Wilson (117.1), Patrick Mahomes (115.9) and Drew Brees (110.3).

But in an AFC West that features the reigning Super Bowl MVP in Mahomes and the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year honors in Justin Herbert of the Chargers, Carr has been somewhat overlooked.

Not by the Broncos, however. Denver (3-5), coming in off a 34-27 loss at Atlanta, has allowed an average of 35.7 points over its last three games and knows it needs to find a way to slow down the seven-year veteran from Fresno State.

“I’ve seen (Carr) since he came into the league,” safety Kareem Jackson said. “Obviously he’s playing at an elite level right now in his career, but even when he was a younger he was doing some great things.”

Carr had a season-high 391 yards and a touchdown in the last meeting between the teams in Week 17 last season, but Denver held on for a 16-15 victory when defensive end Shelby Harris batted down Carr’s two-point conversion pass for Hunter Renfrow with seven seconds left. It was the Raiders’ final game before departing Oakland for Sin City.

“He can make every throw, and he has some elite talent around him,” Jackson said. “He’s getting those guys in the right sets and the right plays, and they’re rolling. And he’ll run a little bit as well. He’s an elite talent and a great leader for that team, and it shows on Sunday.”

Carr won’t have to worry about Harris batting down any of his passes this time around. Harris, who sat out the loss to Falcons while in self-quarantine following close contact with someone who had contracted COVID-19, tested positive for the disease on Wednesday morning and will not play Sunday. He is third on the team with 2.5 sacks to go along with 15 tackles.

“It’s a big blow anytime you lose one of your better players,” said Denver coach Vic Fangio. “I think he’s probably having the best season of his career.”

Three other Broncos didn’t practice on Wednesday: safety Justin Simmons (not injury related), tackle Demar Dotson (groin/hand), and standout rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (shoulder). Corners A.J Bouye (concussion) and Bryce Callahan (ankle) were limited but are expected to start Sunday.

For the Raiders, Miller missed practice Wednesday and was joined on the sidelines by center Rodney Hudson (non-football), defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (ankle) and corner Trayvon Mullen (hamstring).

Fullback Alec Ingold, who watched the second half of Sunday’s win over the Chargers in the hospital getting his ribs X-rayed, did practice but was limited while rookie cornerback Damon Arnette, placed on injured reserve on Oct. 2 with a thumb injury, also practiced.

“He’s been out a long time,” Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden said of Arnette, a first-round pick out of Ohio State. “No guarantee he’ll play, or start, or be a factor in the game yet. He’s got to determine that himself and show us (in practice) tomorrow and Friday.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts in the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 31-26.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Carr, surprising Raiders host Broncos

The Las Vegas Raiders begin the second half of their season Sunday afternoon against the visiting Denver Broncos with back-to-back victories and in the thick of the playoff picture.

Not bad considering the original offensive line has played a total of just 10 snaps together.

Consider that both starting tackles, Trent Brown (COVID-19) and Kolton Miller (ankle), as well as road-grading left guard Richie Incognito (Achilles), missed last Sunday’s 31-26 victory against the Chargers in Los Angeles.

Incognito remains on injured reserve, and reports this week suggested Brown might miss a month with COVID-19 complications, yet, the Raiders continue to have quality offensive line play with nine different players having started so far.

The Raiders (5-3) have still managed to win three of their last four games, including a 40-32 win at defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City, behind the standout play of quarterback Derek Carr.

Carr has completed 180 of 258 passes for 2,002 yards, 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions. His 110.0 passer rating ranks fifth in the NFL behind Aaron Rodgers (117.5), Russell Wilson (117.1), Patrick Mahomes (115.9) and Drew Brees (110.3).

But in an AFC West that features the reigning Super Bowl MVP in Mahomes and the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year honors in Justin Herbert of the Chargers, Carr has been somewhat overlooked.

Not by the Broncos, however. Denver (3-5), coming in off a 34-27 loss at Atlanta, has allowed an average of 35.7 points over its last three games and knows it needs to find a way to slow down the seven-year veteran from Fresno State.

“I’ve seen (Carr) since he came into the league,” safety Kareem Jackson said. “Obviously he’s playing at an elite level right now in his career, but even when he was a younger he was doing some great things.”

Carr had a season-high 391 yards and a touchdown in the last meeting between the teams in Week 17 last season, but Denver held on for a 16-15 victory when defensive end Shelby Harris batted down Carr’s two-point conversion pass for Hunter Renfrow with seven seconds left. It was the Raiders’ final game before departing Oakland for Sin City.

“He can make every throw, and he has some elite talent around him,” Jackson said. “He’s getting those guys in the right sets and the right plays, and they’re rolling. And he’ll run a little bit as well. He’s an elite talent and a great leader for that team, and it shows on Sunday.”

Carr won’t have to worry about Harris batting down any of his passes this time around. Harris, who sat out the loss to Falcons while in self-quarantine following close contact with someone who had contracted COVID-19, tested positive for the disease on Wednesday morning and will not play Sunday. He is third on the team with 2.5 sacks to go along with 15 tackles.

“It’s a big blow anytime you lose one of your better players,” said Denver coach Vic Fangio. “I think he’s probably having the best season of his career.”

Three other Broncos didn’t practice on Wednesday: safety Justin Simmons (not injury related), tackle Demar Dotson (groin/hand), and standout rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (shoulder). Corners A.J Bouye (concussion) and Bryce Callahan (ankle) were limited but are expected to start Sunday.

For the Raiders, Miller missed practice Wednesday and was joined on the sidelines by center Rodney Hudson (non-football), defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (ankle) and corner Trayvon Mullen (hamstring).

Fullback Alec Ingold, who watched the second half of Sunday’s win over the Chargers in the hospital getting his ribs X-rayed, did practice but was limited while rookie cornerback Damon Arnette, placed on injured reserve on Oct. 2 with a thumb injury, also practiced.

“He’s been out a long time,” Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden said of Arnette, a first-round pick out of Ohio State. “No guarantee he’ll play, or start, or be a factor in the game yet. He’s got to determine that himself and show us (in practice) tomorrow and Friday.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts in the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 31-26.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Carr, surprising Raiders host Broncos

The Las Vegas Raiders begin the second half of their season Sunday afternoon against the visiting Denver Broncos with back-to-back victories and in the thick of the playoff picture.

Not bad considering the original offensive line has played a total of just 10 snaps together.

Consider that both starting tackles, Trent Brown (COVID-19) and Kolton Miller (ankle), as well as road-grading left guard Richie Incognito (Achilles), missed last Sunday’s 31-26 victory against the Chargers in Los Angeles.

Incognito remains on injured reserve, and reports this week suggested Brown might miss a month with COVID-19 complications, yet, the Raiders continue to have quality offensive line play with nine different players having started so far.

The Raiders (5-3) have still managed to win three of their last four games, including a 40-32 win at defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City, behind the standout play of quarterback Derek Carr.

Carr has completed 180 of 258 passes for 2,002 yards, 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions. His 110.0 passer rating ranks fifth in the NFL behind Aaron Rodgers (117.5), Russell Wilson (117.1), Patrick Mahomes (115.9) and Drew Brees (110.3).

But in an AFC West that features the reigning Super Bowl MVP in Mahomes and the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year honors in Justin Herbert of the Chargers, Carr has been somewhat overlooked.

Not by the Broncos, however. Denver (3-5), coming in off a 34-27 loss at Atlanta, has allowed an average of 35.7 points over its last three games and knows it needs to find a way to slow down the seven-year veteran from Fresno State.

“I’ve seen (Carr) since he came into the league,” safety Kareem Jackson said. “Obviously he’s playing at an elite level right now in his career, but even when he was a younger he was doing some great things.”

Carr had a season-high 391 yards and a touchdown in the last meeting between the teams in Week 17 last season, but Denver held on for a 16-15 victory when defensive end Shelby Harris batted down Carr’s two-point conversion pass for Hunter Renfrow with seven seconds left. It was the Raiders’ final game before departing Oakland for Sin City.

“He can make every throw, and he has some elite talent around him,” Jackson said. “He’s getting those guys in the right sets and the right plays, and they’re rolling. And he’ll run a little bit as well. He’s an elite talent and a great leader for that team, and it shows on Sunday.”

Carr won’t have to worry about Harris batting down any of his passes this time around. Harris, who sat out the loss to Falcons while in self-quarantine following close contact with someone who had contracted COVID-19, tested positive for the disease on Wednesday morning and will not play Sunday. He is third on the team with 2.5 sacks to go along with 15 tackles.

“It’s a big blow anytime you lose one of your better players,” said Denver coach Vic Fangio. “I think he’s probably having the best season of his career.”

Three other Broncos didn’t practice on Wednesday: safety Justin Simmons (not injury related), tackle Demar Dotson (groin/hand), and standout rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (shoulder). Corners A.J Bouye (concussion) and Bryce Callahan (ankle) were limited but are expected to start Sunday.

For the Raiders, Miller missed practice Wednesday and was joined on the sidelines by center Rodney Hudson (non-football), defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (ankle) and corner Trayvon Mullen (hamstring).

Fullback Alec Ingold, who watched the second half of Sunday’s win over the Chargers in the hospital getting his ribs X-rayed, did practice but was limited while rookie cornerback Damon Arnette, placed on injured reserve on Oct. 2 with a thumb injury, also practiced.

“He’s been out a long time,” Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden said of Arnette, a first-round pick out of Ohio State. “No guarantee he’ll play, or start, or be a factor in the game yet. He’s got to determine that himself and show us (in practice) tomorrow and Friday.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) looks to pass under pressure from Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (99) in the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos, Falcons familiar with close games

Two teams that know all about close results and comebacks will meet Sunday afternoon when the Denver Broncos visit the Atlanta Falcons.

Their backgrounds in those types of games have varied dramatically.

One of the teams figures to at least show a continued upward trend when they face off.

The Broncos (3-4) rallied to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30 on the last play this past Sunday.

The Falcons have been involved in a few notable collapses, coming out on the wrong end of games with significant comebacks. Two weeks ago in their most recent home game, they lost on the final play to the Detroit Lions, 23-22.

There’s certainly a contrast between quarterbacks in terms of experience. Denver’s Drew Lock is emerging into a productive player, while Atlanta continues to rely on veteran Matt Ryan.

“They’ve got a bunch of young guys that are talented,” Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris said.

The Broncos came from 21 points down to beat the Chargers. It might be a horrible flashback for the Falcons when they study the Broncos, given Atlanta’s results from earlier this season.

The Broncos aren’t immune to frustration. Lock said he got up in front of the offense at halftime of the Chargers’ game with a message, much of it pointed toward himself.

“We just need to man-up, and when the plays come our way, we need to make them,” he said.

In the second-year quarterback’s mind, it could be a turning point to an inconsistent season. The Broncos have won three of their past four games, with a blowout setback to Kansas City the other game during that stretch.

“We’ve had three full games with this offense with normal personnel,” Lock said. “Maybe we’re just starting to click. … People just love to make opinions and jump too quick, and I hope we can keep proving them wrong.”

Atlanta (2-6) recovered for a 25-17 victory Oct. 29 at Carolina, winning for the second time in three games under Morris. They’ve had extra time to prepare for Denver’s visit while the Broncos have had a staggered practice schedule.

Still, the Falcons have been hampered by not finishing enough drives and settling for field goals.

“We have to score touchdowns, not dependent on who we’re playing but for our sake,” receiver Julio Jones said. “We have to score touchdowns.”

Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley has missed practice this week, and his status for Sunday looks shaky because of a foot injury. Ridley’s injury might not be as serious as initial reports suggested.

“We’ll see how he can progress throughout the week,” Morris said. “It’s on the up and up.”

The Broncos didn’t practice Wednesday based on concerns about recent increases in coronavirus cases. Offensive tackle Darrin Paulo, a practice-squad player, was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list, a day after team president Joe Ellis and general manager John Elway tested positive for the virus.

“We just felt it was the best thing to do,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said of taking a day off from practice. “There is always concern. The thing I feel good about, none of the positive tests we’ve had have originated from this building.”

The Broncos also called off a practice last week. As of Wednesday, the plan was to have a regular practice Thursday.

“We’re of the mind set that we would have to do some improvising and adjusting,” Fangio said. “This is all new for everybody, and we’re adjusting.”

Despite the revised workout schedule, it’s anticipated that cornerback A.J. Bouye could miss the next game after suffering a concussion against the Chargers.

It’s confirmed that Denver will be without tight end Jake Butt, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury and this week went on the injured reserve list.

Morris said Atlanta wants to become more consistent and physical in its rushing attack. He said the Falcons have failed in that category against other AFC opponents.

“We’ve got to add to our physical component,” he said.

Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, who is from Georgia, returns to his home area for this game. Chubb has 5.5 sacks this season, including at least one in each of the past four games.

The Falcons have been dealing with questions about defensive end Takk McKinley, who is injured but has been outspoken about the trade deadline. Morris said it’s a maturity issue and shouldn’t be a distraction for the team.

“When he’s playing football and playing at a high level, he’s a great person to have around,” Morris said.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. (26) breaks up a pass intended for Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Lock rallies Broncos over Chargers in final second

Drew Lock passed for 248 yards and three touchdowns, the last one to K.J.Hamler coming as time expired Sunday as the host Denver Broncos rallied to beat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30.

DaeSean Hamilton had four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown, Albert Okwuegbunam had another TD reception, and Phillip Lindsay ran for 83 yards and a score for Denver (3-4). Lock was 26-for-41 passing, as the Broncos came back from a 24-3 third-quarter deficit.

Justin Herbert finished 29-for-43 passing for 278 yards and three touchdowns for the Chargers (2-5), with Mike Williams catching five passes for 99 yards and a score and Keenan Allen eight receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Justin Jackson rushed for 89 of L.A.’s 210 yards on the ground, Gabe Nabers also had a TD catch, and Michael Badgley kicked three field goals for the Chargers, who held leads of 24-3, 27-17, and 30-24 before Denver’s final drive.

After the Chargers got Badgley’s 33-yard third field goal with 2:30 remaining for the six-point lead, Lock drove Denver 81 yards to win it.

With 7 seconds remaining, and the Broncos at the L.A. 18-yard line, Chargers defensive back Brandon Facyson was called for pass interference in the back of the end zone, giving the Denver the ball at the 1-yard line. That left 1 second on the clock and Lock found Hamler to give the Broncos to victory.

Denver’s comeback started with Lindsay’s 55-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, making it 24-10. Two possessions later Lock found Okwuegbunam in the back of the end zone to get Denver within 24-17 with 11:42 left in the game.

Badgley hit a 47-yard field goal to make it a 10-point game with 8:02 left but just 32 seconds later, Lock connected with Hamilton on a 40-yard TD pass to pull the Broncos within 27-24.

It all was so different in the first half.

The Chargers struck twice in the final two minutes of the second quarter to pull ahead. Allen had a nine-yard TD catch with 1:48 left in the half, and after a Denver three-and-out Herbert hit Nabers for a two-yard touchdown and a 14-3 halftime lead.

Herbert then found Williams down the right sideline for a 24-yard TD and a 21-3 lead and Badgley kicked a 52-yard field goal to make it a 21-point lead midway through the third.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. (26) breaks up a pass intended for Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Lock rallies Broncos over Chargers as time expires

Drew Lock passed for 248 yards and three touchdowns, the last one to K.J.Hamler as time expired Sunday as the host Denver Broncos rallied to beat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30.

DaeSean Hamilton had four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown, Albert Okwuegbunam had another TD reception, and Phillip Lindsay ran for 83 yards and a score for Denver (3-4). Lock was 26-for-41 passing as the Broncos came back from a 24-3 third-quarter deficit.

Justin Herbert finished 29-for-43 passing for 278 yards and three touchdowns for the Chargers (2-5), with Mike Williams catching five passes for 99 yards and a score and Keenan Allen nine receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Justin Jackson rushed for 89 of L.A.’s 210 yards on the ground, Gabe Nabers also had a TD catch, and Michael Badgley kicked three field goals for the Chargers, who held leads of 24-3, 27-17 and 30-24 before Denver’s final drive.

After the Chargers got Badgley’s 33-yard third field goal with 2:30 remaining for the six-point lead, Lock drove Denver 81 yards to win it.

With seven seconds remaining and the Broncos at the L.A. 18-yard line, Chargers defensive back Brandon Facyson was called for pass interference in the back of the end zone, giving Denver the ball at the 1-yard line. That left one second on the clock, and Lock found Hamler to give the Broncos to victory.

Denver’s comeback started with Lindsay’s 55-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, making it 24-10. Two possessions later, Lock found Okwuegbunam in the back of the end zone to get Denver within 24-17 with 11:42 left in the game.

Badgley hit a 47-yard field goal to make it a 10-point game with 7:57 left, but just 27 seconds later, Lock connected with Hamilton on a 40-yard TD pass to pull the Broncos to 27-24.

It all was so different in the first half.

The Chargers struck twice in the final two minutes of the second quarter to pull ahead. Allen had a 9-yard TD catch with 1:48 left in the half, and after a Denver three-and-out, Herbert hit Nabers for a 2-yard touchdown and a 14-3 halftime lead.

Herbert then found Williams down the right sideline for a 24-yard TD and a 21-3 lead, and Badgley kicked a 52-yard field goal to make it a 21-point lead midway through the third quarter.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (25) rushes for a touchdown past Denver Broncos cornerback Michael Ojemudia (23) in the first quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs roll to convincing win over Broncos

Patrick Mahomes was 15-for-23 passing for 200 yards and a score, Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for a touchdown, and the visiting Kansas City Chiefs trounced the Denver Broncos 43-16 on Sunday.

Byron Pringle returned a kick for a touchdown, Daniel Sorensen returned an interception for another score, Tyreek Hill had six catches for 55 yards and a TD and backup quarterback Chad Henne ran for another for Kansas City, which has won 10 straight against Denver.

Running back Le’Veon Bell, signed 10 days earlier, made his Chiefs’ debut with 39 yards rushing on six carries.

Drew Lock threw for 254 yards on 24-of-40 passing and two interceptions and also ran for a touchdown, and Melvin Gordon III rushed for 68 yards and another score but fumbled twice for the Broncos (2-4).

Denver running back Phillip Lindsay rushed for 79 yards on nine carries before leaving late in the first half with a concussion suffered when he was tackled by Sorensen.

Edwards-Helaire, who rushed for 46 yards, got the Chiefs (6-1) rolling with a tackle-breaking, 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to put Kansas City ahead 7-0. The Broncos got even after recovering a fumble at the Chiefs’ 37-yard line, with Lock running it in from the 2 four plays later.

Brandon McManus missed the extra point, keeping Kansas City ahead. Harrison Butker extended the lead with a 40-yard field goal, and then the Chiefs’ defense and special teams padded the advantage.

After pinning Denver at its own 1-yard line, Sorensen jumped a pass to the flat and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-6. McManus answered with a 43-yard field goal but Pringle returned the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for another score and a 24-9 lead.

Butker kicked a pair of field goals in the third quarter to extend the lead and Mahomes connected with Hill for a 10-yard scoring pass early in the fourth quarter. Mahomes extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one TD pass to 17 games.

Gordon scored from 3 yards out to make it 37-16 but Henne, in relief of Mahomes, scored on a one-yard run with 2:58 left.

–Field Level Media