How can a pre-season game be meaningless and consequential at the same time? That question was answered during the Denver Broncos-Chicago Bears square-off on Saturday, August 18, thanks to quarterback Paxton Lynch and the explosion of frustration from Twitter Nation that greeted his miserable and embarrassing performance.
Once thought to be the future leader of the Broncos, Lynch had been demoted to third-string signal caller in the days leading up to the contest, owing to his enormous ineptitude against the Minnesota Vikings in the campaign's first warm-up, especially in comparison with the verve exhibited by Chad Kelly, who'd previously occupied the bottom of the depth chart.
This humbling should have motivated Lynch to step up — but instead, he sank lower.
When Lynch entered the game, the Broncos had a comfortable 23-10 lead as the result of a bounce-back effort by newly signed starting QB Case Keenum and another solid turn by Kelly, who overflows with cockiness and confidence despite having earned the title of "Mr. Irrelevant" by being the last person selected in his draft class. (Kelly's chosen nickname, "Swag," is even worse, but it's appropriate, too.) But by the time Paxton trudged off the field, Denver was on the losing end of a 24-23 final score.
Yes, Lynch's statistics — five of eleven passing for a measly 39 yards, plus eighteen yards on a couple of runs — were anemic in the extreme. But the bigger problem is his lack of growth. After three years in the league and enough tutelage to make Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society seem like a slacker, he looks as if he has no idea what he's doing on the field. His hopelessness is like the football equivalent of a black hole, sucking every positive displayed by the rest of the squad into the limitless void of space.
Our headline after John Elway chose the man from Memphis as Peyton Manning's heir apparent in April 2016 read "Meet Paxton Lynch: Broncos' Star QB of the Future or the Next Tim Tebow?" The results have obviously been closer to the latter than the former — yet a direct comparison is an insult to Timmy, who at least struck some sparks while on Denver's roster. Lynch, on the other hand, has demonstrated only incompetence.
Earlier this year, Lynch was our pick for the worst first-round draft pick in the history of the Broncos franchise, and what's happened since then has only reinforced this impression among fans with Twitter accounts. As you can see by our selections for the twenty most memorable tweets, on view below, the demand that he be cut from the roster was frequently expressed in bold print and sometimes in all caps — and, yes, Tebow's name was evoked.
Continue to see what we mean.
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