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Chargers Can't Catch Up, Fall to Broncos 28-20
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The Broncos won the opening toss and opted to defer, giving Philip Rivers and the offense the ball first. It looked like the team went three-and-out, but Eric Weddle took the direct snap on a fake punt for a first down. A few plays later, Ryan Mathews’ 39-yard run was called back on a holding call against John Phillips. The penalty eventually led to a Mike Scifres punt. Three plays later, Peyton Manning found Julius Thomas down the right sideline for a 74-yard catch and run for a touchdown, giving the visitors a 7-0 lead. The Chargers responded with a long drive of their own, highlighted by a 25-yard pass to Ladarius Green. However, the Chargers failed to pick up a 3rd-and-1 as the quarter came to an end.
The second quarter kicked off with a 26-yard Nick Novak field goal to put the Bolts on the board, trailing 7-3. After the Broncos picked up a first down, Larry English sacked Manning to force a punt. Unfortunately, San Diego went three-and-out, punting the ball back to Denver. But once again, the Chargers defense was up to the task, forcing a three-and-out. On the first play from scrimmage, Mathews ran for 35 yards down to the Broncos 24. However, the Bolts couldn’t get any closer and settled for a Novak 40-yard field goal, making it a one point game, 7-6. The Broncos came right back with their second touchdown scoring drive of the game, capped by an 11-yard Manning TD strike to Demaryius Thomas. Down 14-6, the Chargers offense took the field with the ball at their own
Denver started the second half much in the same way they ended the first half – with a Demaryius Thomas touchdown. This time he caught a quick hit and ran 34 yards for the 28-6 advantage. San Diego was unable to muster any offense back with the ball, going three-and-out. Two
Rivers made a handful of unreal throws, including one to Gates and one to Royal, to put the Chargers at the
The Chargers were down 14-6 when Nick Novak trotted onto the field for a 37-yard field goal. His attempt went wide left, marking his first missed field goal of the season not counting the pair that were blocked. With 1:38 remaining in the first half, Peyton Manning marched downfield and extended the lead to 21-6 on a seven-yard strike to Demaryius Thomas. Then, it was déjà vu all over again to start the second half when Demaryius Thomas took a slip-screen to the left 34-yards for a 28-6 lead that was too much for the Chargers to overcome.
It was Over When…
With 1:39 remaining in the game and the Chargers down eight points without any timeouts left, Knowshon Moreno ran for seven yards and a first down. With San Diego unable to stop the clock, Peyton Manning took a pair of kneel downs to escape with the win.
Play of the Game
Tourek Williams gave the Bolts a spark with his first career sack. Showing off the speed that led the Chargers to draft him in April, the sixth-round pick blew past the Broncos’ left tackle, Chris Clark, and chased down Peyton Manning as he rolled to his right. The quarterback never saw him as he chopped down on the ball, forcing a fumble that Donald Butler recovered at the Broncos’ 11 yard line.
Stat of the Game
San Diego dominated time of possession 38:03 to 21:57.
“Give Denver a lot of credit. That’s a very good football team. They made a lot of plays during the game. Unfortunately offensively early on there we weren’t able to get touchdowns. We had the three field goal attempts there. Against a good team like this you have to finish drives with touchdowns in the red area. That’s something we did not do a good job of early in the game.” – Head Coach Mike McCoy
“We just have to go out there and win. We play the games one at a time, and when you lose, it’s tough. These last two weeks have been hard. We have to handle the situation well, and we will.” – Quarterback Philip Rivers
“What we did in the beginning of the game was definitely unacceptable for us as a defense. We’re better than that, and it showed in the second half. We know for a fact you can’t play like that against Peyton Manning. You can’t give him a 22 point lead before you’re able to stop them. We definitely will take what we did in the second half and build off of it. There’s not much more we can say about it.” - Defensive End Corey Liuget
“It is special to get my first sack, and for it to be against a guy like (Manning). But it doesn’t really matter because we didn’t win. That would have really made it special.” – Outside Linebacker Tourek Williams
Odds and Ends
The Bolts outgained the Broncos 131 to 84 on the ground.
Denver edged San Diego in total first downs, 22 to 20.
Philip Rivers completed 19 of 29 attempts for 218 yards and one touchdown for a 99.5 passer rating.
Ryan Mathews led all rushers with 14 attempts for 59 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and one touchdown. He had a season-long 35 yard run in the second quarter.
Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead tied for a team-high four receptions, with Gates leading the way with 62 yards.
Donald Butler and Eric Weddle each had seven tackles, tops on the team.
Inactives for the Chargers include: Brad Sorensen, Lavelle Hawkins, Brandon Taylor, Mike Remmers, Nick Becton, Steve Schilling and Jarret Johnson.