DENVER -- Even before Vic Fangio opened his mouth Monday, his appearance articulated Sunday's performance. He had a sly grin and a bandaged nose that looked like he had been stitched up by the Fight Doctor Ferdie Pacheco.
The Broncos played in Fangio's image against the Chargers, crawling off the mat and throwing punches until they pulled off the fourth largest comeback in team history. Trailing 24-3 with 7:55 left in the third quarter, Fangio and the offense found a way to stop the bleeding.
"The nose is feeling fine. It's one of the problems when you have a big nose, it's a big target. It's doing good. It was on the interception that we threw. A player ran into me and it kind of squished that (protective) shield right down onto my glasses and nose. I got a pretty good cut," Fangio said Monday. "You boxing fans know, you bleed pretty good from that. I had to get ready because we were on defense and that was the critical drive where Bryce (Callahan) got the interception there. So it was a little hectic there."
It was a wild ending to a game that went from paint-by-numbers to Picasso. While several plays were necessary to pull off the improbable upset -- that's why the entire team received game balls -- the offensive revival proved central to the team's first home win of the season. Drew Lock went from Oh No to Oh My. Fangio said Monday he never considered benching Lock, but the boos raining down on him spoke to the second-year pro's struggles.
In the first three quarters, Lock went 12 for 23 for 93 yards. The game plan was designed to prevent mistakes and it prevented him from making plays. In the fourth quarter, dormant Drew began spewing lava, completing 14 of 18 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns. He delivered the tying score to K.J. Hamler, drawing out the defense to allow for Hamler to change direction and make the catch as he fell in the end zone.
It started with a defining moment at halftime as Lock addressed the offense following a first half with two first downs.
"There’s always yelling when you have a half like that, there was yelling after the Chiefs game -- much deserved and needed yelling after that Chiefs game. It was kind of déjà vu coming into that locker room again -- all the yelling and screaming, offense isn’t playing well, blah blah blah. I just got up in front of the offense and said, ‘Listen, it’s so easy for us to come in here and scream and yell and get mad and talk about what we’re doing bad," Lock said. "But we just need to man up and when the plays come our way, we need to make them, myself included. I’m not yelling at y'all, I’m honestly talking to myself right now -- screaming at myself,’ and that’s exactly what we went out and did. It was awesome to be the quarterback of this team today."
It raises the question: should the Broncos tweak the offense to Lock's strengths? He clearly benefited from going uptempo.
"It's definitely something we will consider," Fangio said. "It's always something we consider."
The Broncos found their way because they finally didn't need Siri to find the first down marker. They went 1-for-7 on third down in the first half and 4-for-6 after intermission. The Broncos ranked 29th in third down percentage entering Sunday's game.
The success down the stretch is something Fangio hopes can carry over to Sunday's game in Atlanta.
"I think the big thing that gets lost is the third-and-8 conversion (Lock to DaeSean Hamilton for 18 yards two plays before Phillip Lindsay's 55-yard touchdown run). Third down has not been a friend of ours," Fangio said. "We converted a third-and-16. The ability to convert third downs is something I hope we can rally on."
The NFL trading deadline is 2 p.m. Tuesday. The Broncos are not expected to make any moves, but the clock is still ticking. "I haven't had any discussions with (general manager) John (Elway) on that, which means that there hasn't been any talks seriously enough on that to bring it to me," Fangio said. ...
The Broncos remain in intensive protocol as a COVID-19 precaution. The team has been hit hard over the last 16 days. Two coaches remain sidelined -- defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and offensive line coach Mike Munchak (running backs coach Curtis Modkins returned) -- starting right guard Graham Glasgow is out, and multiple employees have tested positive. ...
Receiver Tim Patrick hopes to return this week after missing Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. ...
Reserve lineman Patrick Morris hurt his arm as a Chargers player wrestled him to the ground on the game-winning point after Hamler's touchdown. ...
Cornerback Bryce Callahan triggered the comeback with his interception, a diving one-handed grab off his helmet. "His quality of play has been really, really good (this season). And we move him around. He's played nickel, has moved to left and right corner. He's catching punts. I told him that interception was probably the best play in his career and I have seen every play."