The San Diego Chargers opening possession was helped along by a holding call that was picked up because "it occurred within a yard of the line of scrimmage", but the Denver Broncos defense would stand tall to hold on the next set of downs to force another punt.
The big problem is that Gary Kubiak doesn't think Michael Schofield needs any extra help.
Yes. Kubiak actually heard someone from CBS say, "Hey, maybe give Schofield some help," and Kubiak was like "Nah" https://t.co/9Q42mdzN9J— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) January 3, 2016
With that mentality, I entered the first Broncos drive with low expectations. I was not disappointed, except this time it was C.J. Anderson with the gaff, fumbling to put the Chargers into scoring position.
The Chargers would open things up with a 19 yard run by Donald Brown to put the Chargers inside the 15 yard line. Von Miller did what he could with a sack of Philip Rivers on first down. That good play was wiped out by a defensive holding call, which put the Chargers into another first down.
After two runs for barely any gain, the Chargers needed to convert a third and eight. Rivers hits Antonio Gates on a perfect pass in the end zone for a touchdown.
Five turnovers and finally the Chargers take the lead to go up 13-7 over the Broncos.
Rivers to Gates, Chargers go up 13-7. #Broncos Defense never had a chance— Arran Andersen (@arranandersen) January 3, 2016
In the strangest twist of fate, Anderson's fumble apparently leads to Peyton Manning returning to the game.
It was a spark the team was looking for as the Broncos shredded the Chargers defense to get down inside the red zone using the no huddle offense. C.J. Anderson then takes a handoff after Manning changes the play to account for a blitz for an incredible 19 yard touchdown run.
The touchdown call was reversed, and the next one, but Anderson would run it in on the next play anyway. Broncos back up 14-13.
The Chargers began to find some success on offense, but on third and seven Philip Rivers would get them just barely into field goal range. However, they decide to go for it on fourth down and four during the final minute of the third quarter.
Kayvon Webster breaks up the pass to get the ball back to the Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense. What a stand by the Broncos defense.
The quarter ends with a nine yard run by Ronnie Hillman.