In 14 seconds, in their season finale, the Broncos showed what they can and hope to be offensively.
In a tie game with 6:43 remaining, on third and 10 from his 8-yard-line, quarterback Drew Lock rifled a pass over the middle to rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who then streaked down the sideline outrunning the entire Raiders defense for a 92-yard touchdown pass — the longest reception of any NFL player this year.
“Once I caught the ball, I saw the open space and I just said, ‘Hey then, let’s go,'" Jeudy said. "That’s all I was thinking about, was score.”
Jeudy's touchdown wouldn't be enough, as the Raiders would score a touchdown and 2-point conversion with 27 seconds left to win the game. But for Jeudy and Lock, Sunday's performance was a glimpse into the future and the potential the two have as a tandem.
The two have had an up-and-down season, with Lock turning the ball over too much and Jeudy dropping passes. Jeudy, the 15th overall pick in 2020, had a career-high five drops last week against the Chargers, while Lock threw his league-leading 15th interception.
Sunday, the two were nearly flawless. Lock didn't turn the ball over for the second time this season, throwing for 339 yards and two touchdowns. And Jeudy had a career-high 140 receiving yards on five receptions.
“I’m very happy for Jerry that he bounced back the way he did. I knew he would. I thought last week’s game could have been a defining moment for him that he needed to come back from and he obviously did," coach Vic Fangio said. “Drew, I thought, played well. He was (25 of 41), we had over 300 yards, no picks. We didn’t turn the ball over. I thought overall, Drew played good football.”
Both showed why the Broncos have continued to put their faith in them, despite miscues. And now that they've put together a game like Sunday's, their relationship will likely only get stronger with a full offseason together.
“I feel like each and every day we built a lot of chemistry throughout the whole season," said Jeudy, who finished with 856 yards and three touchdowns. "It’s going to mean a lot. You get a lot of repetition with each other during the offseason so you can build that chemistry up and just keep working until the season begins.”
In Lock's mind, for that success to happen and chemistry to continue, the Broncos will need to keep offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who Lock credits for helping him grow this season. Heading into next season he knows that with Shurmur leading the way that he, Jeudy and the rest of the Broncos young offensive core have a chance to be special.
"There is optimism without a doubt in my eyes, and I think the optimism is in the growth that can be done in this offseason," Lock said. "It's going to be a legit offseason. Multiple games under my belt to go back and look at and study and — same thing, hopefully coming in with the same offensive coordinator for the second time ever in my football playing career. I'd love that and look forward to that.”