Let’s get this out of the way first: No one had a good night for the Denver Broncos on Thursday in San Diego. Suffering their first road divisional loss since 2010, it was a meltdown on many fronts. The defense struggled again early. The offense never really got going. Special teams made a few big plays, but missed on their fair share as well. Blame can be shared all around for the Denver Broncos falling out of first place in the AFC West for the first time in as long as many young Broncos fans can remember. But this is the NFL, and much of that blame will fall on the quarterback. As such, the chorus of people calling for rookie Paxton Lynch to play instead of Trevor Siemian is growing louder.

Siemian was pedestrian at best in San Diego, completing 30 of 50 passes for 230 yards and a woeful 4.6 yards per attempt average. While his 77.9 passer rating was just a shade above terrible, his QBR (which calculates how effectively a QB contributes to scoring and a win) was a measly 23.3.

At halftime, Denver claimed just 60 yards of total offense and there was a point in the game in which Chargers kicker Josh Lambo had more field goals (4) than the Denver Broncos had first downs (3). Denver would end the night with 16 – the same number as San Diego – but the offense failed to launch, really, until late in the fourth quarter. Perhaps no moment was more indicative of Siemian’s failure to launch than a failed pass attempt with time winding down in the third quarter. On third-and-11 from the Charger’s 38, Siemian tried to pull back the pass (or make one of the worst pump fakes ever) and allowed the ball to slip from his hands completely for an incompletion.

Calls had been coming for the Broncos to turn the offense over to Lynch since training camp, so the fact that they were happening again in this game should come as no surprise. But after the incompletion that then resulted in a missed 56-yard field goal, those cries began to grow much louder. When Siemian, who missed last week’s game with a sprained AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder, failed to get the ball into the end zone on a Hail Mary play that started at the San Diego 45-yard line, those calls began to seem justified – if only for that singular play.

There’s no denying that Lynch (who is healthy) has a cannon for an arm and could have reached the end zone on the final play of the game. But what remains in question is whether or not Lynch understands the NFL game enough, and can slow down his mental clock enough, to be more effective than Siemian. Lynch, a rookie, struggled in his first start in Week 5 in relief of Siemian, posting an abysmal 11.7 QBR in a home loss to the Falcons.

Neither Siemian nor Lynch has looked like a short-term answer over the past two weeks. Now, Denver must decide if they’d rather let Lynch learn on the job at risk of more woeful games like he played against Atlanta, or if they can hope Siemian can regain his four-touchdown form against the Bengals in Week 3 and shake off the middling play he’s displayed through large stretches of the rest of the season, including Thursday night in San Diego.

As far as the pro-Lynch crowd, here’s what those in the were saying as the drama unfolded at Qualcomm…

Here’s what the fans had to say, which wasn’t much different…