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Momentum Turns on Bolts
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Things could not have gone any better in the first half for the Chargers. Tight end Antonio Gates was breaking out of his season-long slump with two touchdowns, the defense was holding Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos’ offense scoreless and the Chargers held a comfortable 24-0 lead.
But how it all changed.
After playing a solid first half, the Chargers turned the ball over five times in the second half, including three interceptions and two fumbles lost by quarterback Philip Rivers. As a result, Denver would score 35 unanswered points to defeat the San Diego Chargers 35-24 and grab first place in the AFC West.
“We beat ourselves,” running back Ryan Mathews said. “We came into the half with our spirits up and everything. They’re a good second-half team and we got beat. I don’t really know what to tell you. We have one of the best quarterbacks in the league and we know we can always come back. We know what we need to do and I think we just beat ourselves tonight.”
Free safety Eric Weddle believes Manning and the Broncos’ ability to come back in the second half, as evident throughout the season, is the large reason why Denver was able to come away with the victory.
“The second half, we didn’t play well,” Weddle said. “We just didn’t play as sound and as smart as we did in the first half and it showed. Peyton made some unbelievable throws in the second half. You’ve got to give him credit, give the offense credit. You can’t play two quarters of ball. We knew they were going to come out in the second half, as they’ve done in every game. It’s just unfortunate. It’s a long season. We’ve got a good group. All you can do is learn from it and get better.”
After completing only 11-of-16 passes for 142 yards and one interception in the first half, Manning was able to bounce back in the second half and throw for 167 yards and three touchdowns on 13-of-14 passing, as he finished the game 24-of-30 passing for 309 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. On the defensive side of the ball, cornerbacks Tony Carter and Chris Harris each scored a touchdown for Denver, as the Chargers were held scoreless in the second half.
“That’s what it came down to, they made more big plays than we did,” strong safety Atari Bigby said. “Anytime that happens, you end up on the short end of the stick.” Read