Oakland - In the 1780s, Italian professor Luigi Galvani attached electrodes to a dead frog, and the body began to spasm, shudder and shake.
There was ephemeral hope of new life.
The toad still was dead.
And so are the Broncos.
The Paxton Lynch-Bill Musgrave experiment exploded in the Broncos’ faces Sunday in front of the dreaded Raiders.
Back to the laboratory, Broncos.
Vance Joseph (and, clearly, Boss Elway) fired coordinator Mike McCoy last week because his Mile-Highfalutin, obfuscated offense was too difficult for Broncos quarterbacks to comprehend and execute. Brock Osweiler was demoted, and is finished again in Denver, because he was, well, Brock Osweiler.
The Broncos’ authorities wanted to test tube and pair young mysterious Lynch with Musgrave’s abridged West Coast-type offense.
In the first quarter, on third-and-13 at the Broncos’ 21, the distinguished first-round draft pick threw to veteran running back Jamaal Charles out of the shotgun formation.
The pass traveled two feet. Charles caught it for a loss of four yards.
Oh, no, Igor.
The Dubious Experiment lasted about as long as Galvani’s 237 years ago.
Lynch, who had been sidelined most of the season with a sprained shoulder, left for good or bad after suffering an ankle sprain with 4:55 remaining in the third quarter.
Musgrave and Lynch were not electric or alive.
Here are the research results:
Lynch completed 9 of 14 passes for 41 yards, 0 touchdowns and 1 interception.
In consecutive games, Broncos quarterbacks have been picked off in the end zone. Instead of touchdowns, the Broncos had 14-point turnarounds.
Lynch was sacked four times and finished with 2.9 yards per attempt and a quarterback rating of 38.4.
“I think I played pretty well,’’ Lynch said seriously. Seriously?
“I thought Paxton was doing OK,’’ Joseph said.
Really? The head coach is in way over his head. He doesn’t deserve to survive the season.
The Musgrave offense was just as offensive as the McCoy offense. The Broncos ended up with 219 total net yards, including 59 running.
The special news is that Lynch was the Broncos’ leading rusher with two scrambles for 20 yards, Devontae Booker 11, Charles 3 and Andy Janovich – who? – 4.
It’s just a small sample size, but Musgrave and Lynch flunked the test. This was Dr. Frankenbeans.
Guess who was back in the third quarter? Trevor Siemian, the starter two other quarterbacks ago.
He guided the Broncos to a pair of touchdowns –where was that before? – and had his team within range of the Raiders at 21-14 with 2:39 to go. But we’ve seen the show throughout the unfathomable seven-game defeat streak.
The Raiders got the kickoff, and Derek Carr – Musgrave’s former student – completed a 54-yard pass at the two-minute warning, then called off the Raiders to put the Broncos out of their misery in this game and into more misery for the rest of ’17.
Everyone in Broncos Country and on the roster and in the front and back offices at Dove Valley can’t wait for this chaotic catastrophe to be done. The Broncos are in precarious danger of losing the final five. You think the Jets and the Colts are awful? They’re no worse than the Broncos, who certainly are in the bottom five in the NFL.
Paxton did have a moment on Sunday in his third start in two woeful seasons. On the first play of the second quarter, at the Oakland 20, Lynch lofted a perfect pass to Booker for what was ruled a touchdown. But, after a review, the decision was changed, and the ball was placed at 1-yard line.
Booker was stopped short on first down. Then, Lynch fired toward Virgil Green, who was club-sandwiched by three linebackers in the end zone. The ball popped up and landed on the chest of the laid-out NaVorro Bowman. Surprise.
It was the Raiders’ first interception this year.
Eight plays later, the Raiders scored the game’s first touchdown. Rather than being up, the Broncos never caught up.
Another pathetic performance, and the Broncos are last alone in the AFC West.
What’s the next coordinator-quarterback combo – line coach Jeff Davidson and Siemian, tight ends coach Geep Chryst and Lynch, or maybe Brock and Brock - Olivo & Osweiler?
How about the professor and the frog?
The Broncos croaked.