Broncos Can no Longer Plausibly Say QB Brandon Allen Gives Them Best Chance to Win
Brandon Allen has now started three NFL games. The Denver Broncos had hoped that Allen could keep the quarterback seat warm long enough for the team to get to Week 16 without having to start the Drew Lock, which would have allowed the rookie to start back-to-back home games to close out the season.
Alas, Allen has gone 1-2 as a starter, which is bad enough for the team to swallow but Vic Fangio and John Elway would have likely been able to gut such a record if Allen was at least playing a respectable brand of football. Allen did just that in Week 9's win over the Cleveland Browns, which is what encouraged the Broncos initially.
But the last two games have laid bare the reality of Allen's limitations as a QB. And it's not just his inexperience. His lack of traits in Week 12's 20-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills was painfully apparent.
With the wind blowing fiercely in upstate New York, Allen's lack of arm strength was an issue for the Broncos. Any time he had to throw it vertically or outside the hash-marks, the pass fluttered short or wide of its target.
The Broncos offense has looked modestly better since Allen took over for an injured Joe Flacco. But that spark a QB change traditionally can give an NFL team lasted all of six quarters for the Broncos.
Allen's last six quarters have been atrocious. In the second half vs. the Bills, with the Broncos trying to battle back from a 6-0 halftime deficit, Allen completed just 2-of-12 passes. Let that sink in.
We're talking about Tim Tebow-level accuracy and efficiency issues with such a metric. Hardly that of an NFL starter.
Allen has now gone two full games with a sub-50 completion percentage. Completing 50% of one's passes is the minimum benchmark for a starting QB in the NFL. Allen's completion percentage in Week 11's loss to the Vikings was 43.5%. In Week 12? An abysmal and laughable 40%.
Really, NFL QBs are expected to complete six of every 10 passes they attempt, five-of-10 at bare minimum. Allen has hovered around completing 4-of-10 passes over the last two games.
His only saving grace is a 3-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio. But even that is cutting it close to the quick.
Allen had a chance to extend his NFL audition by at least another three games, but not only did he lead the Broncos to a Week 12 loss in Buffalo, he was one of his team's primary perpetrators in the loss. We're talking about a Broncos offense that did not get a first down in the final 22 minutes of play.
The Broncos went three-and-out on all but one second-half possession. If Allen could have at least kept it close in Buffalo, the Broncos' shot-callers would have likely been able to talk themselves into forestalling the Lock era 'til Week 16.
But the Broncos got blown out by a Bills team that frankly isn't that good. Buffalo has an 8-3 record now but they've played arguably the softest schedule in the NFL.
Not only did Denver get trucked in Buffalo, but Allen's play was embarrassingly bad for the team. His QB rating in Buffalo? An incompetent 32.4.
The silver lining? Allen proved he can be a spot-starter, a QB good enough to step in temporarily, give the team a spark and keep the seat warm short-term. Denver could do worse in rostering a viable backup QB.
The Broncos message to fans is that they play the guys who give the team the best chance to win on gameday. Considering Lock's inactivity and inexperience, the Broncos' brass went three weeks being able to plausibly say that Allen gave them a better chance to win, even considering that the season was already in a shambles.
If GM John Elway wants to maintain credibility in the fanbase, and maintain the 'winning is the top priority' talking point, Allen can no longer be the starting quarterback. And if the Broncos are going to start a third QB this season, there is no earthly reason why it should be anyone other than Drew Lock.