Paxton Lynch struggles, gets hurt, ends his day crying on the bench

Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch waited a long time for his chance. It couldn’t have gone worse, and it ended with him on tears on the bench.

With 4:55 left in the third quarter, Lynch suffered what the team said was an ankle injury. It was a non-contact injury. At that moment, Lynch had 41 yards on 9-of-14 passing … against the worst defense in the NFL, in more than two-and-a-half quarters of football. Denver trailed 21-0. Lynch was replaced by Trevor Siemian, and CBS’ cameras found him crying on the bench.

Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch, left, is sacked by the Raiders. (AP)
Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch is sacked by the Raiders. (AP)

Lynch lost a training camp competition to Trevor Siemian in August. He suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out the first half of the season. He was given his first start of the season Sunday and it lasted less than three horrible quarters.

The Broncos had to try Lynch, the 2016 first-round pick. At 3-7, their season is practically done and they need to figure out if Lynch can be their answer at quarterback going forward. It seemed like they should give Lynch the final six games of the season to figure it out. Broncos general manager John Elway might not need six games to make a decision. There’s no reason to believe Lynch can be their long-term starter.

Lynch was awful on Sunday. He took too many sacks. He rarely tried anything downfield, and when he did it wasn’t close. He looked like he has looked for both of his NFL preseasons and the little regular-season game action he has gotten. This is the reason that he couldn’t beat out Siemian for two straight training camps.

There’s always some danger in writing off a player too soon, especially one that had the first-round pedigree of Lynch. For the next few years whenever a young quarterback struggles we’ll all hear about how Jared Goff struggled his rookie season and look how he turned out. That’s not unfair. But you’d like to see some signs of life from Lynch before assuming he could have that kind of turnaround with more game experience. When you average fewer than three yards per attempt against an inept Raiders defense, it’s a terrible sign.

When Lynch was found breaking down on the bench, it was understandable. His chance had come and gone and he was back on the shelf with an injury. There’s no telling when, or if, he might get another chance.

The Broncos might try Lynch again, if he’s healthy, because it’s not like their season is going anywhere. But the reality is staring Elway in the face: He doesn’t have a quarterback, and it’s not going to be easy to find one.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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