Trevor Siemian had himself a terrible game, but the Broncos defense would keep them in it until the very end. The Hail Mary failed and the Broncos dropped to 4-2 on the season suffering their second consecutive loss.
The Broncos kicked off to start the game, giving the Chargers the ball first. As is typical of the Broncos defense on opening drives in 2016, they allowed some yards. After getting to the Broncos 38 on third and 8, Phillip Rivers completed a pass to Antonio Gates for the first down.
The Chargers began making mental errors after that with a false start and an offensive pass interference call. That didn’t matter as two passes later the Chargers had a first and goal at the five yard line.
Two players later, Hunter Henry would catch a touchdown pass with Chris Harris Jr. in coverage to cap a 75 yard opening drive.
Chargers 7, Broncos 0.
The Broncos next drive started out nicely with a first down, but after C.J. Anderson was stuffed and a bad overthrow from Trevor Siemian deep, Siemian would check down 7 yards short oft he sticks to Jordan Norwood who would fight his way for a nine yard gain.
Kayvon Webster made a nice play on the ensuing punt downing the ball at the Chargers six yard line.
After a short run and an offsides penalty on Von Miller, Melvin Gordon was able to dodge a sure stop by T.J. Ward to barely get a first down. The Chargers would gain another first down two plays later.
Henry makes another nice gain on Todd Davis out to the Chargers 45-yard line.
After two running plays, on third and five, Rivers hit Travis Benjamin for a first down at the Broncos 42 yard line.
With the pressure getting there, Rivers is finding every open outlet on the field. Lately it’s been Henry with another first down into field goal range. On third and 11, Rivers dumped it off to Dexter McCluster for a 10 yard gain.
On fourth and inches, the Chargers got the first down on a spot that should have been challenged. Hopefully Gary Kubiak didn’t have a conniption seeing that.
Two plays later on third and 10, Rivers was nearly sacked and flushed out for no gain. Chargers kick the field goal.
Chargers 10, Broncos 0.
On the Broncos next drive, they converted their first third down on a quick slant to Jordan Norwood. Siemian misfired on a deep pass to Emmanuel Sanders to set up the Broncos next third down attempt.
On third and 7, would overthrow Demaryius Thomas again for another stalled drive for the Broncos. The defense only got a few minutes rest on that drive.
The ensuing punt resulted in Benjamin appearing to touch the ball and the Will Parks recovering and returning for a touchdown. The referees disagreed and said he didn’t touch the ball.
It was touched twice, but the Broncos get the ball back without the touchdown. It was a foolish mistake by the refs.
On first down from the 11, Anderson would be met as soon as he touched the ball for a four yard loss. On the next pass play, Siemian dumped the ball off to Thomas who was blown up by Melvin Ingram on the short catch. On third down from the 11 yard line, Siemian didn’t like his read and tried to run it and was stopped by Joey Bosa for no gain.
Brandon McManus kicks the field goal.
Chargers 10, Broncos 3.
The Broncos defense tried to find an answer for Rivers on the next drive, finally finding one forcing a three and out after Aqib Talib stopped Benjamin a few yards short of the sticks.
Siemian had a problem today seeing the football field. He was missing open guys and looked flustered out there. On third and forever, Siemian dumps it off to Anderson who had no chance of getting the first down.
A big punt return set the Chargers up with excellent field possession. A few plays later on the other side of the two minute warning, the Chargers on third and five were unable to convert on a pass to Antonio Gates as Darian Stewart broke the pass up.
A successful draw play on first down for the Broncos led to a 20 yard gain that was called by a holding penalty. From there, it looked like John Fox was coaching. Run, Run, Run, Punt.
For some reason the Broncos kick returners think they can run the ball out of the end zone beyond the 25 yard line, which is highly unlikely. From their own 17, Anderson would lose three yards.
Siemian dinked it off on a slant to Thomas to gain a short six yards. After a false start on Donald Stephenson, Siemian would hold the ball too long flushing him out for the nice safe incomplete pass. Broncos punt.
On the very next play, Melvin Gordon breaks through for a 45-yard gain to setup a first and goal for the Chargers. A short completion and a run for no gain, setup a third and goal from the three yard line. Webster was able to break up the pass.
Chargers 13, Broncos 3.
The Broncos got a quick first down, but an overthrow deep to Thomas setup a short pass on third down to Jordan Taylor. He would fumble and the Chargers recover. An unsportsmanlike penalty on Stephenson set the Chargers up at the Broncos 20 yard line.
The Broncos defense came up with a great stop to force the Chargers to kick the field goal.
Chargers 16, Broncos 3.
Siemian seemed hesitant to make any throw that might be closely contested, resulting in him holding the ball way to long. When he did throw it was inaccurate. After punting, the Chargers marched right down inside the 40-yard line in field goal range.
Talib committed a pass interference on third and eleven going for the interception to keep the Chargers drive alive. The Broncos defense finally stiffened to force the field goal on the next set of downs.
Chargers 19, Broncos 3.
Devontae Booker broke a tackle in the backfield that he would turn into a nice 17 yard gain on the first play of the next series for the Broncos. After a nice pass to Booker, he then runs again for another nice gain.
A quick pass to Norwood set the Broncos up near the Chargers 30 yard line. Anderson would take it down inside the 15, but a holding call on Matt Paradis wiped that out. On third and 11, Siemian would try to hold back on a pass and it slipped out of his hands.
A 56-yard attempt from McManus just missed the uprights.
The Chargers have held the ball for most of the game and the defense is clearly drained. Watching the game, you were getting the sense that eventually the Broncos defense would collapse.
It wouldn’t happen on the Chargers next drive, holding them to a punt.
Downing the ball at the three, the Max Garcia would promptly hold a player while in the end zone for a safety.
Chargers 21, Broncos 3.
On the free kick, the Chargers fumbled with Shiloh Keo falling on the ball breathing new life in the Broncos sideline.
Two quick throws moved the Broncos inside the Chargers 40 yard line. Siemian would run the ball for roughly nine yards, but another holding call on the Broncos moved them back to a 1st and 20.
Siemian escaped pressure on the play, but instead of trying to make a play he throws it away. Those kinds of plays in the fourth quarter down three scores will not lead to many comebacks.
Another short pass on the next play netted a hard fought 11 yard gain from Norwood, but a false start penalty made it 3rd and 14 on the next play. That was when Siemian finally made a risky throw down the middle of the field to Sanders for the first down.
Siemian would nearly be intercepted on the next play trying to hit Norwood down the seam near the goal line. Anderson would take the draw play nine yards to setup a third and one on the next play. A seven yard run would give the Broncos a first and goal at the five yard line.
On first and goal, a fade to Thomas was thrown perfectly, but a bobble by Thomas made it an incomplete pass. On second down, Siemian nearly threw another interception but it was overthrown and that was a good thing in this case. On third down, Bennie Fowler came open in the end zone for the touchdown.
Chargers 21, Broncos 10.
The Broncos defense, sniffing some offensive production came alive on the first two plays of the Chargers next drive by stuffing both run plays to setup a third and nine. Rivers would be sacked on third down by a gang of Bronco players.
A three and out was exactly what the Broncos needed.
Norwood would shimmy his way to the 37 yard line, giving Siemian and the Broncos offense excellent field possession with around six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
Two quick passes got the Broncos out past midfield. Siemain would overthrow Fowler deep down the sideline. Fowler would take a big hit on the missed opportunity. Siemain stayed aggressive with a pass down the field to John Phillips for nearly a 20 yard gain.
From the Chargers 31, Siemian would run a draw play up the middle to Anderson for an 11 yard gain. An incredible catch and run by Anderson for a touchdown would naturally be called back for offensive holding.
Back at the 30, Siemian would hold the ball too long and get blown up by Jatavis Brown for an 10 yard loss. on 2nd and 30, Thomas would catch the ball over the middle and ultimately fumble the ball that promptly landed right into a Charger defenders arms.
Another penalty on the Broncos setup the Chargers for a 3rd and 1 to close out the game. The Broncos defense refused to give up despite the offensive ineptitude by the offense.
Siemian made a few underneath throws on the next drive that Paxton Lynch was heavily criticized for by some here, eating up the clock. The drive started with over 3 minutes, but five plays later it was down to a minute fourteen.
A short pass over the middle to Green wasn’t stopped by the Chargers as he was able to get out of bounds to stop the clock. Three plays later the Broncos run the field goal unit on to get within a score of San Diego.
Chargers 21, Broncos 13.
McManus kicked it perfectly and Jordan Taylor recovered it perfectly. Two quick passes put the Broncos near midfield with 15 seconds left.
Hail Mary time.
Nope, Siemian ran it out of bounds instead. Did he know that two Hail Mary’s are better than one?
The Hail Mary failed. Broncos lose.