At worst, they should have had one more crack at it.

A conservative estimation might suggest that Denver wasted somewhere near 49 seconds in the final 1:05 of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, a team that was supposed to have zero problem with the Brandon Allen-led Broncos.

Down 4 and inside the Viking 20, Denver squandered seconds and plays. In the end, extremely poor time management cost the Broncos one last shot at the endzone from the Minnesota 4-yard line. In an attempt to win the game, Allen made two excellent throws and one that wasn’t bad, but it didn’t matter. Catches weren’t made and the young QB, whose second career start arrived on the road against one of the best teams in the NFL, wasn’t given another chance to pull off what most had previously deemed impossible. The game ended on a third-down play, and it shouldn’t have. It was a wasted opportunity, the result of wasted time.

And while Denver will spend the better part of a week dissecting the misuse of seconds that ultimately cost the Broncos their fourth win of the season, the reality is that this wasting of time should come as no surprise.

Wasting time, or so it seems, is what the Broncos do best lately.

This particular loss is on Vic Fangio. A head coach should know better when the game is on the line. Furthermore, a defensive-minded head coach with the luxury of one of the league’s best defenses and a 20-0 halftime lead should emerge victorious.

Ironically, the Broncos had a shot at winning – shattering Vegas’ 10.5-point spread in the process – in spite of Fangio and because of Allen. Never a part of the plan, Allen, it turns out, might actually be more than just serviceable. In fact, his unexpectedly solid play has almost created a new problem for the Broncos – what to do with Allen and second-round rookie quarterback Drew Lock now? We’ll get to that.

A better question is where has Allen been all along? Forgot about trying to squeeze four passing plays into 10 seconds. What about trying to fit a square peg into a round hole for eight weeks?

Why was the leash on Joe Flacco so long? It’s a crime it took until week nine to get a look at Allen, who’s been night-and-day better than Flacco. The Flacco experiment was a complete and utter failure, and it took a journeyman backup to fully reveal just how bad it was. While everyone pointed the finger at the offensive line, offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello and Von Miller, Flacco stood in the pocket like a statue, costing the Broncos wins after win. Meanwhile, week after week, neither Fangio nor John Elway made a change.

Does anyone wonder if Boring Joe would still be back there if he hadn’t hurt his neck? Would the Broncos still be wasting time? If, as they say, time is money, the Broncos have wasted both on Flacco. Not only was his play this season horrific, but the Broncos will likely be paying for his head-scratching, cap-unfriendly contract for two more seasons.

Newsflash: The 2019 Denver Broncos aren’t that bad of a football team. The fact they nearly (see should have) beat the Vikings, who many believe to be one of the best teams in the NFC, on the road, with a two-start , two-bit quarterback, should serve as evidence of that. But they’ve spent the better part of their efforts this season – and in the past – wasting time rather than making the most of it.

Why did it take three weeks to make Alexander Johnson the Broncos starting middle linebacker? Why did it take three weeks to find solutions for Adam Gotsis and Isaac Yadiom? Their replacements have been significantly better.

Why were Kevin Hogan and Brett Rypien given so many snaps during the summer and throughout training camp? Neither one was ever part of the Broncos longterm plan, were they? The Broncos still have very little idea what they have in rookie quarterback Drew Lock who suffered a thumb injury in the preseason, and who, as we’ve been told, could have used (and still could use) all the reps he can get. And because they couldn’t make up their mind sooner, it might be next summer to truly know what Lock is all about. Three weeks ago, there was an underlying assumption that Brandon Allen would come in and lose two or three games in predictable fashion. As such, it would be easy to slide Lock in to get a look at what the kid can do. That didn’t happen. Now, how does Fangio (or Elway) yank Allen? He’s been a breath of fresh air for team that was frustrated by Flacco’s lack of fire. Rest assured, more time is going to be wasted when it comes to the Broncos quarterback situation.

And while we’re on the subject of time, why was Vance Joseph given a second year to coach the Broncos when everyone – including Elway – knew he wasn’t the answer?

And while we’re on the subject of Elway, how much time does he have – could he have, should he have – to clean up the Broncos, a team on the verge of posting three consecutive losing seasons for the first time ever? How many more – Drafts? Quarterbacks? Coaches? Seasons? – will the Duke of Denver be afforded?

If the Broncos have done anything of late, they’ve wasted time. Sunday’s loss was simply another example.