We all knew it was going to be a tough game. We knew the Denver Broncos were upset after losing to the San Diego Chargers a few Thursdays ago on national television.
The Broncos came out on Sunday wanting to pressure Philip Rivers and that is exactly what they did. He was harassed all day long by the Broncos defensive line and was the victim of numerous miscommunications with his own line. Joe Barksdale in particular had a horrible game.
The Chargers had their chances and opportunities, but again, questionable play calling and the failure to make a play when it matters was the determining factor in a 27-19 loss. Philip Rivers was picked three times despite being the first QB to throw two touchdowns on the Broncos this season. He went 20-47 for 267 yards on the day. Rivers had his moments in the game, but the pressure from the Broncos defense was just too much to overcome.
Melvin Gordon ran like a madman against the Broncos, and continues to look like a whole new man this 2016 season. He is blocking, making circus catches out of the backfield, and also bowling over would-be tacklers at the line of scrimmage. In a depressing Chargers’ season so far, he has been a highlight. He continued to roll on Sunday against a tough Denver defense, running for 111 yards on 23 carries. He also caught four balls for 44 yards. The second-year back out of Wisconsin is having an all-pro year. The critics have all pretty much been silenced.
On defense, the emergence of Joey Bosa continues to happen. The national media is picking up on his production as well now, as Bosa was once again a force on Sunday. He hit Trevor Siemian continually and the Broncos productive o-line had tons of issues trying to stop his bull rush. Chargers fans are starting to get very excited by the ability of Bosa. He looks to be someone really special.
It was a tough loss for the Chargers, but the anger comes more from missed opportunity that anything else. Quite honestly, beating Denver, the defending Super Bowl Champions at home, is no easy task. The Chargers performed well for the most part, they just failed to get over the hump when it came to those mental errors.
Missed field goals, missed extra points, failed two-point conversions, and interceptions are not the recipe for success against a tough division rival, but yet the team still had a chance to win the game when it was all said and done. If this Chargers team could ever get out of their own way, they could be a tough team down the stretch to deal with. Only time will tell if they are capable of growing from their countless errors, though.
Derek Watt got things started for the Chargers with a 53-yard catch, which caught the Broncos completely off guard. I really thought the team would utilize him more during the game, but Watt was not seen again. The Broncos had no answer to the fullback swinging out into the open field and he really impressed with his foot speed for being a fullback. The drive was capped off by a seven-yard TD pass to Antonio Gates. That put the Chargers up 7-3 and it looked like it was going to be a good day for Chargers fans.
Bradley Roby picked Philip Rivers at the nine-minute mark of the second quarter. The defensive back returned the ball all the way for a score to put Denver up 10-7. On the play, Melvin Gordon was blocked out of bounce, as a receiver, and pushed the Broncos’ defensive coordinator down on the sidelines. Ex-Chargers coach Wade Phillips was injured on the play and there was brief delay as he was carted off the field. He looks to be all right, but it was a scary situation. That play seemed to energize the Broncos defense, as they were naturally upset. Josh Lambo missed a 45-yard field goal with 59 seconds left in the half as the Bolts got the ball back. 10-7 Denver at the half.
The Broncos came out in the third quarter and looked to put the game away. Devontae Booker had a three-yard TD run which put the Broncos up 17-7. The Chargers responded,as Philip Rivers hit Travis Benjamin in the end zone on a deflected pass, a great TD catch by Benjamin who had been noticeably silent before that moment. 17-13 Denver at the end of the third quarter, and this game had the feeling that it was far from over. You just knew the Chargers would make it exciting.
Both teams exchanged turnovers in this quarter and really played sloppy football. Juwan Thompson scored on a one-yard run to put the Broncos up 24-13. All looked lost at that point, but a 24-yard interception return from Casey Hayward brought life back into the Chargers. 24-19 was the score after the TD, and the Chargers decided to try to go for two points. A controversial pass interference call against Antonio Gates negated a Melvin Gordon two-point conversion catch. The Chargers were penalized, and instead of kicking the extra point, they attempted to go for it. It was a bad move, as the Broncos defense got in Rivers face once again and took away any chance of a completion. The score remained 24-19 late in the fourth quarter. After a 22-yard field goal by Brandon McManus the game was at 27-19, and the Chargers needed to score desperately. The team drove all the way to the Denver two-yard line, but failed to get in the end zone, turning it over on downs. The game was miraculously not over as the Chargers had enough time to get the ball back with one last attempt. The team failed to get anything going in the remaining seconds of the game and turned it over on downs at midfield to end the game. 27-19 was the final score in another game the Chargers could have won.
Joey Bosa- Two tackles on the game were what his stats read, but if you watched the game, you saw he was constantly in the backfield harassing Siemian. He looks to keep it going next week, at home, against the Titans. #ShrugLife is becoming a real thing in San Diego. If you don’t know what that is, look it up.
Melvin Gordon- 23 carries and 111 yards on the ground, against one of the toughest defenses in the league, is why this young man gets another game ball. He is a solid contributor in all aspects of the offense and is enjoying a breakout season.
The Tennessee Titans come to town. They are 4-4 and are very average, just like their record indicates. They have a below-average defense that the Chargers should be able to put points against in bunches. DeMarco Murray is enjoying a great year, but if the Chargers can stop him and force Marcus Mariota to beat them, they could be all right. The young quarterback just doesn’t have the receivers to beat the Chargers at this point in his career. Stay tuned Chargers fans.