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Second Quarter Dominance Key in Victory
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The top offense in the league, the Denver Broncos accumulated negative yards in the quarter, gaining minus-one in the frame. Defensive Coordinator John Pagano’s unit forced a trio of three-and-outs, and as a result Peyton Manning and the offense was out on the field for only 3:58 of the frame. Overall, the Bolts displayed the complementary style of football they often talk about by scoring 14 points to take a 17-10 lead heading into half time.
Jeromey Clary watched as the defense came up big time and time again, giving the ball back to the offense. He hammered home the importance of that second quarter and the job the unit did.
“That was complementary football at its best,” he said. “The defense had some big stops. We had the run game going and ran some different runs in the second quarter and they worked pretty well. Ryan (Mathews) had a couple that he broke off, and then Keenan Allen made plays.”
That is quite the understatement as Allen caught his only two passes of the game in the second quarter, and they both went for touchdowns. His first score was an incredibly athletic feat that saw him evade defenders, leap five yards over one and then outmuscled one final Bronco on his way to the team’s first touchdown of the game.
“Philip (Rivers) gave me the ball pretty quick so I was able to get my head around it,” he said, replaying the play in his mind. “I saw green grass and the touchdown and two defenders in front of me. It was all a mindset. I wasn’t going to be denied.”
Following the touchdown, Seyi Ajirotutu had a spectacular special teams tackle when he took out the dynamic Trindon Holliday at the 10-yard line. That gave the Chargers the edge in field position, and it paid off big time. After two three-and-outs by the defense, highlighted by a monster 12-yard sack of Manning, Allen scored his second touchdown of the quarter with 1:05 remaining in the half. This season, that much time on the clock has proven to be an eternity for Manning, but the Chargers once again forced a three-and-out, punting the ball back to the Bolts.
With 10 seconds remaining in the half, Rivers took a knee sending his team to the locker room up 17-10 in a quarter they entered trailing 10-3. It was only 15 minutes out of 60, but its impact resonated for the remainder of the game.