Who wanted it worse?

Who wanted to lose worse, that is.

If ever there was a game that wasn’t won – merely “not lost” – it was last night’s Broncos-Chargers, week one, “Monday Night Football” mess.

Right around the middle of the third quarter, Broncos fans were quietly perusing Expedia, just – out of curiosity, of course – wondering what flights to Minnesota in early February might cost. Hey, who could blame them? Denver looked like a team that just might prove everyone wrong. Sure, it would have been too early to call them a Super Bowl contender, but damn the Broncos looked good.

Prior to the fourth quarter, Trevor Siemian looked as cool as Joe Cool. He’d tossed a pair of TDs and broke Joey Bosa’s ankles à la Michael Vick en route to another.

Prior to the fourth quarter, the No Fly Zone looked, for the most part, like the No Fly Zone of old. On the Chargers’ lone scoring drive in the first half there might have been a blown coverage, T.J. Ward might have made a tackle that Justin Simmons didn’t, but ultimately, the defense was fantastic. Holding Philip Rivers to a single touchdown and only 12 completions through three quarters is impressive.

Prior to the fourth quarter, the Broncos offensive line looked improved. As did the run game; both C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles looked formidable.

Prior to the fourth quarter, Garett Bolles looked more than adequate, especially for a rookie. Russell Okung looked like, well, like Russell Okung. Von Miller looked like Von Miller. Bennie Fowler looked like a bona fide starter. Adam Gotsis looked like well-spent second round pick. Joe Woods looked like Wade Phillips, especially on a fourth-and-one call that ended in Todd Davis obliterating Melvin Gordon three yards behind the line of scrimmage.

And Vance Joseph looked like he was about to bag his first win as an NFL head coach, with plenty of time to figure out which Denver steakhouse would be hosting the celebration.

Prior to the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, prior is the key word here.

Following the fourth quarter? That’s when things got Mile High messy – like, Beth Mowins, Rex Ryan, Sergio Dipp messy.

First there was the interception, Siemian’s first and only of the night. It wasn’t Siemian’s best decision, but it was also an unlucky break. Fans screamed for pass interference, but because the play occurred behind the line of scrimmage, the officials correctly held onto their flags.

Rivers, of course, engineered a 43-yard touchdown drive. No problem, right? With 10 minutes left, 24-14 still felt pretty safe.

Then there was the Charles fumble. (Remember when “the Charles fumble” was a good thing, Denver?) And it only took Rivers one play to score the Chargers third TD. (Now that one looked like a blown coverage… or something.)

And just about the time Denver was breathing easy once again – after a Siemian to Virgil Green 44-yard completion found the Broncos at the L.A. 16 yard line – things again started to unravel. Siemian was sacked on both second and third down, pushing the Broncos back to the L.A. 32-yard line.

Fear not. This was still a chip shot for newly-paid placekicker Brandon McManus, right? Wrong.

Feat not (again). The defense holds, giving the ball back to Siemian and Co. with 3:04 left on the clock.

But if ever there was a series that defined everything we thought we weren’t going to like about the Broncos offense, this was it. On first and second down, the Broncos ground game was unable to impose its will on the Chargers. Then, on third-and-three, the very “safe” Trevor Siemian tossed the ball out of bounds. Sure, he didn’t do anything stupid, but then again, a four-yard completion would have sealed the game or merely going down in bounds would have forced L.A. to use its final timeout.

What would Joe Cool have done? What would Russell Wilson have done?

What happened inside two minutes could be summarized this way (if we’re being both critical and fair):

The Chargers converted a fourth-and-one with 42 seconds remaining.

Denver committed a costly pass interference at their own 34-yard line with just 17 seconds remaining.

With just 14 seconds left and the Chargers out of timeouts, the No Fly Zone allowed an 8-yard completion, in which Keenan Allen inexplicably and inexcusably found his way out of bounds. That was the point at which Joe Woods did not look like Wade Phillips.

Rookie kicker Younghoe Koo made a field goal to force overtime.

But wait.

Vance Joseph did his part. It’s never a lock, but the ‘ol “ice-the-kicker timeout” worked like a charm – and that’s exactly what Joseph, who’d saved his timeouts wisely, did. Koo’s next kick was blocked.

Broncos win! Broncos win! Broncos win!

After the game, color commentator Rex Ryan said that both the Chargers and Broncos were excellent teams that should factor in down the stretch.

If you went to bed before the fourth quarter, you’d probably agree with half of what Ryan said. Indeed, the Broncos looked excellent.

If you caught the whole thing, you’re probably like me – unsure.

Are the 1-0 Broncos for real? Are the Chargers, as predicted, just not that good? Are all these new parts in Denver going to gel like they did for the first three quarters? Or is the fumbling, bumbling fourth quarter more representative of the team that’s now a full season removed from winning Super Bowl 50.

Who are these Broncos?

They’re 1-0, but after all four quarters, we really don’t know.