The San Diego Chargers came into Mile High stadium with first place in the AFC West on the line. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos stood in their way. The Broncos played fast, quick, and physical but it was mistakes by the Chargers that put the nail in the coffin.
The Chargers were able to play a perfect 1st quarter on defense. They were shutting down the Broncos when it mattered yet were not getting to Peyton Manning. Manning got to the defense as the 2nd quarter started as he hit Emanuel Sanders for 38 yards to get them into Chargers territory. That pass led to Manning finding Sanders in the end zone.
The Chargers would reply midway through the 2nd quarter and ran the clock all the way down to 3:11 which ended in a touchdown to Keenan Allen. The key to the game was the kickoff after the touchdown. Nick Novak gets a 69 yard kickoff and the ball is then fumbled on the run back. It gets recovered by Ladarius Green at the Denver 28 yard line. It gets reviewed and looked like he had fumbled right before his elbow hit the ground. Yet the referees called the elbow down and the Broncos get the ball.
The Broncos then used that lucky break to drive down the field for another touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders. Shareece Wright was picked on all first half by Manning and Sanders paid dividends on the matchup. Jason Verrett aggravated his shoulder injury on the long pass to Sanders which hurt the Chargers depth in the secondary.
The 3rd quarter begins and fans expect the Chargers to come out to tie the football game. On the 3rd play of the drive Keenan Allen gets tripped up which forces Phillip Rivers to throw an interception. This leads to the Broncos having great field position and moving their lead to 21-7 on an Emmanuel Sanders touchdown.
The Chargers came back on their next drive with nothing to show which gave the ball back to Denver. Ronnie Hillman took over and drove the Broncos down the field. It took a fullback sneak by Juwan Thompson to put the Broncos up 28-7.
With everything against the Chargers, they moved down the field in 5 minutes to get back in the game. It took an orchestrated drive by Phillip Rivers which ended in a touchdown to Antonio Gates to breathe life into the team. The lead was cut to 28-14.
Once again the Chargers could not stop the run and Ronnie Hillman moved the Broncos into the 4th quarter. On the 2 yard line, Manning throws an interception to Eric Weddle and it looked like the Chargers would have a way to come back. But the play was called back as Marcus Gilchrist made a lead block for Weddle which was called as holding. The interception was nullified and Thompson ran in the ball to push the Broncos to 35-14.
Phillip Rivers comes roaring back with a quick 4 minute drive. Touchdown was right to Antonio Gates and suddenly it’s 35-21. If the Chargers could get 1 turnover, they could be back in the game.
The first play for the Broncos was a pass to Emmanuel Sanders but Eric Weddle comes running in to force a fumble. Ricardo Matthews could not get down on the ball and Wes Welker slipped in to get the ball. That was the dagger that beat the Chargers, Rivers throws a 2nd interception trying to get to Malcolm Floyd deep, and the Broncos escape with a 35-21 win.
The Chargers are going into their bye week and it can not come at a better time. They need to get healthier and strategize to get out of a 2 game losing streak. They will return on November 2nd.