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Denver Broncos 39 - San Diego Chargers 38 - How The (AFC)West Was Won

Category Broncos Chargers
Score 39 38
Rushing Yards
145 80
Passing Yards
341 376
Total Yards 486 456
T.O.P 34:00 26:00

I don't know if the Denver Broncos will go one to win the AFC West.  I choose to take things one week at a time, one game at a time.  Football is a game that momentum can change in a flash, and in a moment everything that you knew to be true ends up being false.

We had alot of that and then some this afternoon as the two best teams in the AFC West went at it for 60 minutes of battle.  Like an old 'Rocky' movie, both teams seemed to take the best shot of the other yet kept coming back for more.  Take and delivering more punishment.  It is unfortunate that the game, like most heavyweight fights, will be strewn with controversy.

First, let's start with a couple thoughts about the 2 plays in question -- the review that wasn't and the fumble that should have been.  Phil Rivers will be charged with an INT, and based on what I saw it was the right call.  Let's remember what the call was.  Officials claimed that Chris Chambers and Champ Bailey had simultaneous possession, and that Champ ripped the ball away.  Since that was the call on the field, it is unreviewable.  Even if the review equipment had worked the play liekly would have stood as called.

On the second, well, the Broncos simply were fortunate.  Ed Hercules blew the call and knew as much.  I am sure he feels horrible about it, and it will likely cost Herc any shot of officiating any big games come January.  Secondly, I don't like blown calls like this, whether it helps or hurts me.  That said, the Chargers had THREE PLAYS to stop the Broncos from getting a touchdown AND a two-point conversion.  THREE PLAYS.  If the Chargers come up big on any of them, they win the game.  Like famous brain-cramps of the past -- Bill Buckner and Steve Bartman -- there were still plays that had to be made by both teams to affect the outcome.  The Broncos made them, the Chargers did not.

Of course, we can't go much further with mentioning the decision to go for 2.  It was a ballsy move by Shanahan, plain and simple.  It is easy to say now that we I agreed with it, but I did and the proof is in the Open Thread.  In fact, several of us were clamoring for the Broncos to go for two.  Personally, it felt to me that to lose by missing a two point conversion to win was a better way to lose than by going to OT and taking  chance on the coin toss.  Shanahan said as much after the game -

You just got a gut [feeling] sometimes.  I just felt like it was a chance for us to put it away.  I didn’t want them to catch us on the coin flip.  I wanted to do it then, and obviously, it worked out.

Think about it.  The Broncos defense had not kept the Chargers offense out of field goal range the entire 2nd half.  So, in theory, the Broncos had a 50/50 chance, at best of winning in OT.  The chance that you convert a 2-point conversion?  I'd say somewhat higher.  Plus, you save the morale of your football team.  By going for it, Shanny showed faith in his offense.  If he goes to OT, and the team loses, the loss is much more crushing, with the collapse of the defense complete.

The move was ballsy to be sure, but in my opinion 100% the right thing to do.

We'll get deeper into the stats and stuff tomorrow.  For now, Broncos fans, enjoy the win.  The Broncos are in 1st place and control their own destiny.  It doesn't get much better than that!