San Diego,CA- The San Diego Chargers playoff run came to an end Sunday afternoon as the Bronco’s defeated the Chargers 24-17.
The Chargers received to start the game and the absence of Jeromey Clary with a shoulder injury was evident on the Chargers first drive of the game. Johnnie Troutman who started at right guard in Clary’s place allowed Rivers to get sacked twice on the drive and struggled throughout the game.
The Broncos on their opening drive marched down the field for 86 yards for a touchdown on a two yard touchdown pass to Thomas to give the Broncos the lead 7-0. Shareece Wright had a chance to prevent the touchdown and give the Chargers the lead, as Wright had a clean chance at an interception and could’ve returned it for a pick-6 but dropped the ball at the Chargers 5 yard line.
The Chargers had a chance to get back in the game at the start of the 2nd quarter as Jahleel Addae forced a fumble by Thomas and recovered by Richard Marshall to give the Chargers the ball in field goal range. The Chargers offense would be unable to take advantage of the opportunity as the drive stalled and had to settle for a 53 yard field goal. Nick Novak’s kick would fall short as he slipped on the kick. The Broncos would take advantage of the miss as Peyton Manning connected to Wes Welker for a 3 yard touchdown to increase the Broncos lead to 14-0.
Donald Butler kept the Chargers in the game right before the half as he intercepted Manning in the EndZone to keep the score 14-0 at the half.
The Bronco’s would receive to start the half and the Chargers defense would hold the Broncos to a Matt Prater 45 yard field goal to increase the Broncos lead to 17-0.
The Chargers offense would remain silent until 12:59 in the 4th quarter as Philip Rivers connected with Keenan Allen for a 16 yard touchdown pass to cut the Broncos lead to 17-7.
Manning and the Broncos would match the Chargers score as they stormed down the field for a Moreno 3 yard touchdown to increase their lead to 24-7.
The Chargers as they have all season wouldn’t go away easily as Rivers and Allen connected again on their next drive for a 16 yard touchdown pass to cut the Broncos lead to 24-14. The Chargers then recover the onside kick to give the Chargers the chance to make it a one possession game. The Chargers were unable to score and cut the lead to three, as they settled for a 30 yard field goal to cut the Broncos lead to 24-17.
The Chargers would have the opportunity to stop the Broncos and get the ball back to tie the game, but Rivers would never get that chance as the Chargers defense would fail to stop the Broncos on 3rd and 17 and 3rd and 6 as the Manning and the Bronco’s would run the clock out to win the game 24-17.
For the Chargers it was a great season, as this team exceeded everyone’s expectations by making it to the playoffs and winning a playoff game in Mike McCoys first season and yet as with any playoff loss there will always be a “what if” feeling. If Wright would held onto the interception, if Matthews would’ve been healthy, if the Chargers would allowed Rivers to throw the ball sooner all questions that will haunt the Chargers as they head into the offseason.
The Chargers future is bright as the resurgence of Philip Rivers and the emergence of Ryan Mathews and Keenan Allen have the Chargers organization back on track.