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Highlights, lowlights of Broncos’ 21-13 loss to Chargers

Believe it or not, there were some highlights

Denver Broncos v San Diego Chargers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Good morning, Cubs Broncos Country!

I know after a loss it’s tough to console ourselves, and no one is really in a mood to be "cheered up" and told "it’ll be OK."

But the hard truth is that it will actually be OK (14-2, baby!)

Unfortunately not for at least 10 days until the Broncos will have another chance to redeem a loss that was totally preventable had the performance and play-calling matched the potential on the field.

It wasn’t all bad, however, as a few plays/indications were positives for this team moving forward (plus Cubs won, so if you're a cursed fan like me you can focus on them for a few days until the next Broncos game).

But let’s consider both the best and worst of the game that snapped the Broncos streak of 15 divisional road game wins and ticked off Broncos fans everywhere who had grown accustomed to beating up on Philip Rivers.

Highlight: Broncos defense/ST (after 1st drive)

Other than the first drive in which Philip Rivers so nostalgically carved up our defense and drove down the field in a matter of minutes before scoring an easy TD, the Broncos defense held Rivers and Co. to just field goals the rest of the game.

And special teams made some key plays, such as Kayvon Webster downing a punt at the 1-yard-line, Shiloh Keo recovering a fumble on the punt after the safety and Jordan Taylor recovering an onside kick.

Lowlight: Quarterback

Don’t make this a quarterback controversy. It’s not. Neither of our QBs is all that good right now. Inexperience, injury, offensive line ineptitude, play-calling - choose your excuse if you’d like but be sure to apply to both. Trevor Siemian was 30 of 50 for 230 yards and 1 TD.

Last week Paxton Lynch was 23 of 35 for 223 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Both overthrew their receivers and both made some beautiful plays. Unfortunately, both also struggled to read a defense correctly and make a quick decision that would result in a first down. Or even a completed pass.

For me personally, I thought the play calling was awful. Rick Dennison acknowledged in his presser this week that he starts the game out calling the plays and Gary Kubiak takes over as the game goes on. Perhaps this is why the fourth quarter tends to be our best?

I’m all for "establishing the running game" and wearing down a defense, but five running plays in a row is ridiculous. I might as well be the play-caller if that’s what we’re going to get.

Highlight: Devontae Booker

The running game was nothing short of pathetic in the first half with 21 yards between C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. But the rookie RB sparked the run game in the second half with a 17-yard bolt followed by a 5-yard pass and topped it off with a 16-yard sprint.

Suddenly the offense came alive as the rookie - and clearly faster back - marched the team down the field. Sadly, the Broncos had to settle for a field goal attempt (which was wide right) after a holding penalty negated Anderson’s 15-yard run into red zone territory.

But the running game had made an appearance as Anderson had 10 carries for 37 yards and Booker went five for 46 (9.2 yards per carry) and improved overall game stats considerably, pushing the rushing attack yards up to a paltry but still better 84.

Lowlight: Penalties

Remarkably, the Broncos were in this game until the very end despite doing their damnedest to take away all momentum and a bunch of points via penalties.

It would be satisfying to blame the loss on some terrible ref calls (particularly the phantom holding call on Matt Paradis that brought back a fabulous rushing TD by Anderson), but in reality, the Broncos have to own these penalties and all the wrath they brought - 12 penalties for 103 yards.

Among those was a holding call that nullified one touchdown and another holding penalty that led to a safety. If you eliminated only those two penalties, the score would have been 20-19 Broncos.

Highlight: Color Rush uniforms

You know when you’re looking at the jerseys as a highlight of the game, it must have been an awful game.

And if you were a Broncos fan watching that game last night, the uniforms ended up being the best play to watch on the field.

Bright orange pants, jerseys and cleats with a sweet old-school D in the modern colors. I vote we keep these as a permanent option.

Lowlight: Fumbles, misses

Aside from the penalties, the Broncos also fumbled two passes - c/o Jordan Taylor and Demaryius Thomas - while Brandon McManus missed a 56-yard field goal.

Concentration, boys.

Highlight: Von Miller

Thank goodness he’s still on our defense because even though he’s getting held on every play, he’s still making his way to the QB while simultaneously taking down any runners that cross his path. With six tackles and a sack, Miller was a lone force out there at times stopping the Chargers.

OK, Broncos Country...I know you have many more, so let’s get the complaining out of our systems so we can be "on to Houston."

Come and get us, Brent!

Horse Tracks

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Denver Broncos come unglued in loss to San Diego Chargers on the road – The Denver Post
The Broncos fell to the Chargers 21-13, snapping their 15-game divisional road winning streak. Siemian was 30-of-49 for 230 yards, one touchdown and two sacks in the defeat.

Three Keys Unlocked: Chargers 21, Broncos 13
The Broncos had a difficult time pressuring Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and San Diego won 21-13 on Thursday Night Football.

Broncos Chargers final score: Trevor Siemian struggled as Denver drops second straight game. - Mile High Report
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Broncos' Super Bowl hangover arrives in the form of a second straight loss
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Mike McCoy ponders it all as Chargers hold on for life -
Facing another collapse by the Chargers, coach Mike McCoy might have seen his career flash before his eyes. Luckily for him, San Diego's 21-13 win means he can breathe a little easier.

Chargers' win could serve as exorcism over AFC West -
The defending Super Bowl champions finally lost a division game, ending an NFL-record 15-game division road winning streak. Gregg Rosenthal examines where both teams stand in the AFC West.

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Sales of Dallas Cowboys jerseys surpass last season's total
The Cowboys have already sold more jerseys this year than all of last year.

Chip Kelly explains why he disclosed quarterback change on Tuesday | ProFootballTalk
Say what you will about 49ers coach Chip Kelly, he's incredibly transparent. On Thursday, he explained why he chose transparency regarding the recent change in quarterback.

Week 6 NFL Predictions | FiveThirtyEight
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