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Chargers Fall in Regular-Season Finale


The Chargers wrapped up the regular season Sunday in Denver.

Here's a game recap from Week 18:

First Quarter

Derwin James, Jr., Keenan Allen and Sebastian Joseph-Day were the Chargers captains. The Broncos won the toss and elected to defer. Denver's opening kickoff was a touchback, and the teams shared a moment of support for Bills safety Damar Hamlin before the first play from scrimmage.

The Chargers offense — with their starters on the field — then carved through the Denver defense for an opening touchdown drive. The unit marched 75 yards in just eight plays, with Justin Herbert hitting Keenan Allen for a 14-yard score. Allen, who had 44 receiving yards on the drive, moved into third place all-time in franchise history for receiving yards.

The Broncos tied the game with a. touchdown on their opening series that featured a pair of defensive penalties from the Bolts. Both teams punted on their second possessions, with the Chargers beginning their third drive at their own 47-yard line. The teams were tied at 7 at the end of the first quarter as the Bolts held the ball in Broncos territory.

Second Quarter

The Chargers re-took the lead early in the second quarter on another Herbert touchdown pass, this time to Gerald Everett. The Bolts went 53 yards in 12 plays as the Chargers went ahead 14-7 with just under 11 minutes left to go before halftime.

The Chargers defense then forced a punt after Joey Bosa recorded his first-career sack of Russell Wilson. That sack put Bosa over 60.0 for his career. But the Bolts couldn't add to their lead as they fumbled near midfield and the Broncos recovered. Denver turned the takeaway into points with a field goal as the Bolts led 14-10 ahead of the 2-minute warning. The Chargers punted the ball away with just over 90 seconds left in the second quarter as the Broncos started at their own 20-yard line. But the defense forced a quick three-and-out as the Bolts offense took the field with 68 seconds left. The unit drove into field goal range before Cameron Dicker hit a 48-yard try with 26 seconds to go. The Broncos scored a late touchdown and the game was tied at 17 at the half.

Third Quarter

The Broncos began the second half with the ball and found the end zone on their opening drive to take a 24-17 lead. The Chargers offense was forced to punt on its first drive of the second half, but the Bolts defense then evened the takeaway battle with a clutch play. Kyle Van Noy got an arm on Russell Wilson's pass and ended up deflecting the ball to Sebastian Joseph-Day, who rumbled into Broncos territory for his first-career interception. The Chargers turned that interception into points as Dicker hit a 36-yard field goal that cut Denver's lead to 24-20. The Broncos ensuing drive ended with a punt after Wilson was sacked by Van Noy, which extended his sack streak to five games to close out the regular season. The Bolts got a big play to get into the red zone, but another fumble gave the ball back to the Broncos at their own 11-yard line.

Fourth Quarter

The Broncos extended their lead a few minutes into the fourth quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass. But Denver turned the ball over again later with a muffed punt that was recovered by Alohi Gilman. The Bolts found the end zone after the turnover as Chase Daniel found Allen for a 3-yard score. Daniel hit Joshua Palmer for the 2-point play as the Chargers cut the lead to 31-28 with just over six minutes to play. The score didn't change as the Chargers finished the regular season with a 10-7 record. The Bolts will play at the Jaguars in the Wild Card round of the postseason.

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