The San Diego Chargers nabbed their second win of the season by beating the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos 21-13.
Offense: Hunter Henry - The rookie tight end finished the night with six receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. He had two receptions of 20 or more yards including his longest for 27 that came on 2nd-and-14 to get down to the Denver five. Two plays later, number 86 scored his third touchdown of the season and San Diego's only offensive touchdown in Thursday's win.
Defense: Jatavis Brown - Another rookie from the 2016 draft class made a huge impact Thursday night. Brown had a team-high 14 total tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. The latter two plays came back-to-back late in the fourth quarter. After a holding penalty backed the Broncos up to 1st-and-20 from the San Diego 30, Brown sacked QB Trevor Siemian for a loss of 10. On the next play, Brown converged on Demaryius Thomas to force a fumble which was recovered by the Bolts.
Unsung Hero: Tenny Palepoi. Palepoi was all over the field on Thursday night and notched three quarterback hits. His pressure rattled Siemian and drew two holding calls on the Broncos. His performance contributed to the overall success of the Bolts' defensive line which held the Broncos to a 40% third down conversion rate.
Stat of the Game:
Philip Rivers passed Dan Fouts for most career passing yards in franchise history early in the second quarter. Number 17 drifted away from the pass rush and hit Hunter Henry, who rumbled for 12 yards and a new set of downs.
Play of the Game:
Though he was just signed two weeks ago off a practice squad, ILB Korey Toomer made his presence known in the third quarter. On second down, Siemian tossed a pass to Jordan Taylor. However, Toomer came in to force a fumble on the wide receiver which number 56 then recovered. The play ended up in points for the Bolts as four plays later, Josh Lambo kicked a 31-yard field goal to put his team up by 13.
It could have been a disaster. Instead, the defense came up clutch. After Travis Benjamin's muffed punt gave Denver the ball at San Diego's 11-yard line, Denzel Perryman brought C.J. Anderson down behind the sticks for a loss of four yards. Melvin Ingram followed with a crushing hit on a three-yard gain, and on third down, Joey Bosa tripped Trevor Siemian up for just a one-yard pickup. Limiting the damage to a field goal in that type of sudden change opportunity for Denver was pivotal.
It Was Over When:
Although they successfully executed an onside kick with 27 seconds left in the game, the Broncos couldn't convert a 4th-and-1, and the incomplete pass sealed the victory for the Bolts.
"I'm really proud of our defense. We really stepped up when all eyes were on us. That was kind of the message this week, that all eyes were on us and we just had to truly believe that we were going to get the win." – DE Joey Bosa
"I need a pacemaker after that one; it feels good to win. This is what we've been working for since camp…. The best part about football is winning and when that gets taken away from you for so many weeks, you get a little bit discouraged…. But this one feels good and I feel like we can keep getting better when we go on the road." T Joe Barksdale
Odds and Ends
The Broncos outgained the Chargers in total yardage 304-265. While Denver held a 220-166 advantage through the air, the Bolts had a 99-84 edge on the ground.
Hunter Henry led all pass-catchers with six receptions for 83 yards.
Melvin Gordon's 48-yard run was the longest of his career.
Jatavis Brown's 14 total tackles led all defenders.
Casey Hayward served as an honorary captain.
Inactives for the Chargers included DE Darius Philon, CB Brandon Flowers, S Jahleel Addae, CB Pierre Desir, C Max Tuerk, T Tyreek Burwell and TE Asante Cleveland.