Paxton Lynch generated no points and one restrictive boot.
Trevor Siemian threw two touchdown passes in his only two, fourth quarter drives to almost lead the Denver Broncos on an improbable comeback.
All those signs point to Siemian regaining his job as starting quarterback when the Broncos play the Miami Dolphins next Sunday.
“I’m not sure,’’ said Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. “We’ll watch the tape and see where we are. We’ll see where Paxton is with his injury and obviously, we’ll do what’s best for our football team next week.”
Sounds like Siemian.
The Broncos were down, 21-0, when they nearly got back in the game the moment Paxton Lynch went down with an ankle injury and Siemian came in for the first time since he was benched after a 29-19 loss October 30 at Kansas City.
The Broncos were not only scoreless with Lynch, they amassed just 65 yards in total offense when Siemian took over with 2:31 remaining in the third quarter.
Lynch showed promise, but what his raw talent needs is more seasoning in the minor leagues. Problem is, the NFL doesn’t have a farm system.
Siemian showed 3 ½ games of rust during his first, three-and-out series, but he found his rhythm in the fourth quarter, when he completed 10 of 18 passes for 148 yards, including touchdown throws of 25 yards to Cody Latimer (on a fourth-and-7 play) and 22 yards to Bennie Fowler III.
But the Broncos failed to execute an onside kick after Siemian’s first touchdown pass, and the defense gambled with a zero blitz (no safeties back) on a third-and-8 with 2:24 remaining and got burned with Derek Carr's 54-yard lob-and-run connection with Cordarralle Patterson.
Until the Carr-Patterson play, the sense from the Broncos’ sideline was just give Siemian one more chance, and they'd eventually pull it out.
“Give Trevor one more and you never know what might have happened,’’ said Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, who went past the 600-reception career milestone in the game. “Tip your hat to Trev, he gave us a spark.’’
A flicker is what the Broncos desperately need after suffering their seventh consecutive loss to drop to 3-8. If only the defense could have stopped the Raiders on third-and-8 and given Siemian the ball one more time.
“Trev gave us a chance,’’ said Broncos center Matt Paradis. “Marched down the field twice there. It was fun. We got the defense gassed. We were moving the rock.
“But that’s what happens when we don’t do (anything) the first while (three quarters) and our defense gets tired. You can’t expect them to make all the plays for us.’’
They could have made one more. If the Carr pass to Patterson was incomplete, the Broncos would have got the ball back at about their 40-yard line with 2:15 remaining.
The way Siemian was playing, the Broncos thought sure they were headed for overtime.
“Yeah, I think that’s easy to say, right?’’ Siemian said. “We wanted the ball one more time. It just makes you think that first time we got it when we went three-and-out, if we got it rolling then but it’s tough to live in a world of what if’s, so it’s not enough.”