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Why former Utah Ute Tim Patrick is ‘Mr. Reliable’ for the Denver Broncos

SHARE Why former Utah Ute Tim Patrick is ‘Mr. Reliable’ for the Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (81) catches a 10-yard touchdown pass as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland (21) defends in the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020.

Jeff Roberson, Associated Press

Three seasons ago, Tim Patrick went into cutdown weekend prior to the 2018 NFL regular season unsure if he’d stick with the Denver Broncos.

Fast forward two years, and sticking around isn’t an issue. Now, the former University of Utah standout is the Broncos’ leading wide receiver and has earned himself a level of confidence with Denver starting quarterback Drew Lock.

“Tim has been Tim this whole year — Mr. Reliable, Mr. Consistent,” Lock told reporters after the Broncos’ 22-16 loss to Kansas City last Sunday. “(He’s) always there for you whenever you need him.”

Tim Patrick career NFL stats
Year Games played Games started Receptions Yards Touchdowns
2018 16 4 23 315 1
2019 8 2 16 218 -
2020 11 11 40 607 5

Patrick’s emergence in 2020

It’s been a breakout season for Patrick, and that included the first two-touchdown game of his career against Kansas City.

His toe-tapping 10-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter briefly gave the Broncos a lead against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. Patrick had four catches for 44 yards in the game, including a 5-yard touchdown in the second quarter for the first multi-TD game of his young career.

“It was a run play but we knew if they went man, we’d tag the backside fade,” Patrick said of the third-quarter touchdown. “He was going to give me a chance if it was man, and that’s what happened.”

Even with Denver bolstering its receiving corps in the offseason — the team’s first two picks in the 2020 NFL draft were spent on wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler — the 6-foot-4 Patrick has stepped into the team’s WR1 role in 2020 after fellow receiver Courtland Sutton went on injured reserve in September with a torn ACL. 

Patrick leads the Broncos in receiving yards this season (607), is second in receptions (40) and has a team-high five touchdown receptions. That includes the first three 100-yard receiving games of his pro career, as Patrick has started 11 games for Denver.

Tim Patrick 2020 statistics
Week, Opponent Targets Receptions Yards Touchdowns
1, vs. Tennessee 5 4 29 -
2, at Pittsburgh 5 2 24 -
3, vs. Tampa Bay 4 4 43 1
4, at New York Jets 7 6 113 1
6, at New England 8 4 101 -
7, vs. Kansas City 4 3 44 -
9, at Atlanta 9 4 29 1
10, at Las Vegas 6 4 61 -
11, vs. Miami 8 5 119 -
12, vs. New Orleans 2 0 0 -
13, at Kansas City 4 4 44 2

What’s next for Patrick

Patrick, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent and bounced around with a pair of other teams before landing with Denver, will be a restricted free agent next offseason. The timing of his breakout season, in that respect, has been ideal, allowing the 27-year-old Patrick to show just how valuable he is as a pass catcher at the pro level.

“If the ball comes my way, I make a play. Sometimes he makes me look good, sometimes I make him look good.” — Tim Patrick, on his relationship with Broncos quarterback Drew Lock

The prospects of this season for Denver have been frustrating — the Broncos have lost four of five games and are effectively out of the playoff race with a 4-8 record. The frustration of the team’s struggles were apparent in an interview with team reporter Sydney Jones following the loss to the Chiefs, when Patrick said there are no positives to a game they could have won and the Broncos “should just keep that rage and take it into next week.”

Up next for Denver is a second straight road game, at Carolina on Sunday, as the Broncos kick off the final quarter of their 2020 season.

One thing is apparent, though, even as the Broncos try to find their footing: the connection between Lock and Patrick is strong. How that impacts Patrick just months before he hits free agency is something to keep in mind.

“We just make it simple: (Lock) throws the ball, I catch it,” Patrick said. “It’s as simple as that. If the ball comes my way, I make a play. Sometimes he makes me look good, sometimes I make him look good.”