The worst part of all this is how well the defense played (if you ignore the first drive of the game, and the rest of the quarter). After Atlanta seemingly exploited the Broncos defense (sort of), the Chargers took advantage of an obviously fatigued group. Some of that fatigue was self-inflicted from a long first drive, but it doesn’t help that the offense has become worse than anemic.
I spent most of the game screaming for Trevor Siemian to be taken out. The offensive line was pushed around, and he was incapable of exploiting the injury-riddled Chargers secondary. I was coming around on Siemian, and still am, but he looked bad. The offensive line played worse against Atlanta, but the struggles continued in San Diego, and were a major factor in the Broncos loss.
Now, there are reports that Siemian was playing injured. If that is true, why would the Broncos send him onto the field? This was the perfect opportunity to give him the extra week to heal, and look at how Paxton Lynch responds to adversity. What is going on at Dove Valley?
There is a lot of uncertainty with this team. The quarterback situation is murky. The offensive line is bad. The play calling has been suspect all season. The head coach is having health issues that could be impacting his play calling. And strangely, the defense has been unreliable at the start of games. In Elway We Trust is a fun thing to say, and he has been the best NFL executive since taking the job, but the warts are pretty visible.
At this point, one of the most visible warts is quarterback play. The issue isn’t Siemain or Lynch, it is Siemian and Lynch. Neither player seems to really be ready for the spotlight. I won’t give Siemian any excuses. If he was able to get out there and play, then we shouldn’t blame anything on his injury. In throwing the ball 50 times, he was 1 of 9 on passes that went more than 10 yards.
Against a Chargers secondary ravaged with injuries his limitations were on full display. The hail Mary at the end of the game was a perfect example of why some people are calling for Lynch to start. It came nowhere near the end zone. He could not make the throw. The simple fact is that he did not have the ability to do what was necessary to give the team a chance at the end.
That doesn’t excuse Lynch’s poor play against Atlanta. Instead it just pulls focus onto the major issue facing the team. Lynch was running for his life against Atlanta, but at least he seems to have the athletic ability to do that. He needs to learn decision making in those situations. Not going to happen from the sidelines.
The Broncos coaching staff needs to go with the quarterback that gives them the best chance to win. At this point, I’m not sure there is a definitive answer which QB that is. Whether you want Lynch or Siemian, both guys are going to struggle. The whole offense is having an identity crisis. That all starts with the quarterback. If Denver doesn’t want to lose control of the division, they better get this figured out quick.