The Los Angeles Chargers improved to 12-4 on the regular season after beating the Denver Broncos, 23-9.
Offense: Mike Williams – Mike Williams capped off an impressive 2018 campaign with another great showing on Sunday. Williams had his 11th total touchdown on the season in the win. In addition, he led the wideouts in receptions (five) and had a game-high 65 receiving yards.
Defense: Adrian Phillips – AP is another guy who has made plays all season long and it showed against the Broncos. He paced the defense with 12 total tackles and two passes defensed. But it was his forced fumble in the third quarter that swung the momentum for the Bolts. Joey Bosa recovered the ball, and it ultimately led to a score on the offense's next series.
Unsung Hero: Brandon Facyson – 2018 may be Brandon Facyson's rookie season, but his last game was a memorable one thanks to a play he made in the fourth quarter. On a kickoff by the Chargers, River Cracraft corralled the ball, but Desmond King came in punch the ball loose. Facyson, with complete concentration, came in to recover the fumble in bounds. It was the first fumble recovery of his pro career.
Stat of the Game:
The Chargers end the regular season with a 12-4 record for only the third time in franchise history. The last time they were 12-4 came in 2004. This also marks the sixth season in which the Bolts reached at least 12 wins.
Play of the Game:
The Broncos scored in the fourth quarter bringing the game to 14-9. However, they opted to go for two. Case Keenum threw in the direction of Courtland Sutton however, Casey Hayward picked Keenum off. Hayward wrestled with the receiver, but kept his balance and took off down the right sideline. He went 102 yards into the end zone to give a two-point advantage to the Chargers and a 16-9 lead.
The Chargers had a 7-3 lead in the third quarter and with just over six minutes left, Case Keenum connected with wide receiver Tim Patrick. However, as Patrick was being tackled, Adrian Phillips came in to rip the ball loose. Joey Bosa then pounced on it to give possession to the offense. Four plays later, Philip Rivers found Mike Williams for a score and a 14-3 lead.
It Was Over When:
With just over six minutes to go in the game, the Bolts faced a 1st-and-goal from the one. Rivers handed off to Austin Ekeler who barreled in for the touchdown. The score gave the Bolts a 23-9 lead and a win in Denver.
"It was a good way to end the 2018 season, 12-4. I had intentions for us to win them all but I believe the four we lost made us a better football team, especially going into this tournament next week."– Head Coach Anthony Lynn
"(Defense) had some big-time plays, big-time stops in key moments. I think it's just the collective group effort for so many guys. There's not one strength here or there or just a couple of big-time players. It's a collective, group effort that finds a way to get it done. They play well together. They expect to get stops. Every time they go out there, they expect to get a stop. I think just like we expect to score. We know that's not going to happen every time. But I think when you have that expectation that we've set for ourselves, then you can make those kind of plays when you need to." – QB Philip Rivers
"It felt awesome. I was a high school running back so I got to score a lot in high school. I got one (touchdown) in college. The one in the NFL had eluded me so far. I almost had one last year, but I missed it. I give all of the credit to Des (Desmond King). He did a good job of getting that ball (out). He was able to punch it out and I was able to do the easy part. I just picked it up and fell into the end zone" – LB Kyle Emanuel on his touchdown
"We love coming into your place, whichever team you may be, and doing our thing. We come into your place ready to play. Our motto around here is 'any squad, any place', that's what we say around here. Playing at Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Seattle at the beginning of the season was big for us. We've played in all of those hostile environments, and it helped us."– S Derwin James
Odds and Ends
The Broncos outgained the Chargers in total yardage, 370-276. They had a 288-160 edge through the air, while the Bolts had a 116-82 advantage on the ground.
Philip Rivers started at QB for the 208th consecutive game, tying Peyton Manning for the third-longest starting streak by a QB in NFL history.
The Bolts defense opened the scoring with an 18-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Kyle Emanuel. It marked the second fumble recovery of his career and was the first fumble return for a score by a Charger since Melvin Ingram III had a 39-yarder against Buffalo last season.
With 66 yards from scrimmage, Melvin Gordon passed Ryan Mathews for the fourth-most in team history by a running back.
Joey Bosa's posted a four-yard sack late in the first half to force a Denver field goal. The takedown brought Bosa's career total to 28.5 to pass DE Chris Mims for the second-most by a Chargers defender through his first three career seasons, trailing only LB Shawne Merriman (39.5).
Darius Philon served as today's honorary captain.
Inactives for the Chargers included Jeff Richards, Troymaine Pope, Detrez Newsome, Cole Toner, Dylan Cantrell, Anthony Lanier and T.Y. McGill.
Browse through the top game action photos from Week 17 as the Bolts take on the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.