ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The setting: 2:10 remaining in the game, trailing by seven, a telescope needed to see the end zone.
With energy better after the first day in pads rivaled a family picnic, the quarterbacks delivered efficient performances for two hours. Teddy Bridgewater connected on a 50-yard scoring strike down the seam to tight end Noah Fant, who ran past Justin Strnad. Drew Lock threw a dime on a back shoulder route to DeVontres Dukes that extended a drive.
It was a strong day. Then in a blink it wasn't, spoiled by a pair of passes that left them red faced in the red zone.
It started with Lock. He connected with a series of receivers, pushing the Broncos down the field on six straight completions. Then came the moment to create separation, to distance himself from his past -- the player who tied for the league lead in picks and posted the worst completion percentage last season -- and create an open mind about his future.
Lock felt pressure up the middle, then got caught in between. He should have run. He should have passed. You can't be half pregnant. When Lock finally made a decision, it proved too late as he fired an interception to Justin Simmons.
"First off, take care of the ball. Don't make that decision down there. I was halfway between running and throwing. Don't go half and half," Lock said. "I think I need to start watching Justin Simmons tape in my free time. It's a good defense we are going against every day."
With Lock's golden moment dimmed, Bridgewater took over. He, too, marched the offense down the field, mixing in short and medium routes, with five consecutive completions. Needing a score, Bridgewater goofed. On a sluggo route -- slant and go -- Bridgewater guessed inside and the receiver, um, did not. Cornerback Rojesterman Farris, signed this week, read Bridgewater's eyes and snared the floater to end practice.
"There was a little miscommunication. We weren't on same page," said Bridgewater. "It's something we can fix easily."
Part of the issue remains the competition. It can produce unintended side effects. Both quarterbacks end up working with randon receiver groups, so chemistry is not microwaved. It's why I asked coach Vic Fangio about letting one starter take all the first reps one day, then switch the next day. He appeared open to it.
For their part, Lock and Bridgewater remain positive, optimistic, not willing to dip into controversy or the politics of a derby.
"We are just competing. This team will go as I go or as Drew goes," said Bridgewater of how he's handled the competition. "It's about getting this team in the end zone. I am not a decision maker. The neat thing about our QB room is that each guy is rooting for each other."
Added Lock, "You might be in a little better rhythm (if one QB gets all the first reps). It's my first competition I have been in. I am no expert at this. Whatever the coaches want, I am fine with it."
In the Courtyard
Courtland Sutton is unique. He's open when covered. He's a Pro Bowler. He is a playmaker. For the first time since his ACL surgery, we saw glimpses of that player on Wednesday. Sutton caught five passes, and showed more burst and speed. The hope is that Sutton and Bradley Chubb (ankle) play in one preseason game. What unfolded Wednesday was a good sign for Sutton to be a factor on Sept. 12, even if we should temper expectations.
My QB scorecard for those who care about such things: Bridgewater (3), Lock (2), Draw (2). ...
With Graham Glasgow getting a vet day along with Von Miller, Netane Muti started at right guard. He opened eyes in his one start last year at Carolina. ...
Calvin Anderson received reps with the ones at right tackle, following two days for Bobby Massie. ...
Running back Mike Boone shows eye-opening quickness. He should be an intriguing change-of-pace weapon. ...
Receiver K.J. Hamler returned from COVID-19 protocols after missing one day in contact tracing. ...
The Broncos signed CB Saivon Smith and waived injured offensive tackle Cody Conway, who injured his right knee in Tuesday's practice. ...
Players sitting out with injury: NT Mike Purcell (ankle), ILB Josey Jewell (groin), DT Deyon Sizer (hamstring), ILB Baron Browing (leg), S Jamar Johnson (second of three days in COVID-19 return-to-play protocol), CB Mac McCain (hamstring).