The Denver Broncos entered San Diego with a 5-5 record, sole possession of second place in the AFC West and more than just a glimmer of hope at moving closer to the AFC Playoffs. The only thing standing in the Broncos way was the favorite 4-6 San Diego Chargers.
Entering the game, the Philip Rivers led Chargers had gone 9-2 against the Broncos over Rivers' career as a starter. The Tim Tebow led Broncos were 4-1 in Tebow's starts this season and riding one of the hotter win streaks in the NFL.
Denver won the coin toss and based on head coach John Fox's own superstition elected to defer to the second half. Rivers, along with San Diego running backs Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert led a 45- yard drive which ended in a 53-yard field goal by Chargers' kicker Nick Novak.On the ensuing kickoff cornerback Cassius Vaughn was injured, a broken fibula (which forced him to injured reserve today). For the Broncos it seemed like more of the same with running back Willis McGahee having seven rushes for 27-yards and Tim Tebow going 03- and running twice for 12-yards in the first quarter.
San Diego began a drive late in the first quarter that overlapped into the second quarter and led to a 53-yard drive culminating in a six-yard pass from Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates extending the Chargers lead to 10-0.
The Chargers and Broncos both changed possession twice with the only highlight being Denver's Elvis Dumervil sacking Rivers.
It wasn't until just under two minutes left in the first half that the Broncos were able to get things together. Following a 46-yard punt return by Eddie Royal, Tebow ran for three yards before completing his second pass of the day to tight end Daniel Fells only to have Fells fumble on the San Diego's 24. The Denver luck came through though as tackle Orlando Franklin came up with the fumble after it looked to have passed through no less than five Charger's players hands. Tebow completed the series by hitting Eric Decker in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass.
Though the Broncos began the second half with the ball and a three point defecit, they were unable to capitalize and the Chargers took advantage on their next drive as Novak connected on a 25-yard field goal making the score 13-7, San Diego.
Denver did not make many waves in the third quarter until McGahee started off a possession by running for 21-yard burst up the middle, the drive ultimately ended in a 41-yard Matt Prater field goal and Denver edged closer to the Chargers at 10-13.
On the Chargers following possession Dumervil and Von Miller combined for a Rivers sack and were able to get the offense the ball back with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
Tebow again connected with Decker for the third time in the game with a 39-yard pass that was upheld after review. A 23-yard pass from Tebow to tight end Dante Rosario gave the Broncos enough field position for Prater to hit a 24-yard field goal, tying the game at 13 all and giving San Diego just under a minute forty to score.
The Chargers comeback attempt was ultimately squashed as Dumervil again reintroduced Rivers to the turf and San Diego head coach Norv Turner made a decision to end the teams misery and head to overtime.
In overtime the teams turned the possession over to each other twice before the Chargers attempted a 53-yard field goal attempt. Novak's first attempt was blocked, but a timeout called by John Fox allowed Novak to retry. On his second attempt Novak went wide right.
The Broncos began with excellent field position, but only 2:31 left on the clock. Following a first down incompletiton Tebow ran for twelve-yards and then four-yards before the two minute warning stopped the clock. McGahee busted a 24-yard bull rush coming out of the two minute warning and set up Prater with beautiful field position for his 37-yard field goal attempt and game winning field goal.