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Broncos Chargers live: Denver’s defense asserts itself in the second quarter

The Denver Broncos defense asserted itself in the second quarter, shutting down the San Diego Chargers offense and even scoring a touchdown of their own.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos offense could not get much going after their opening drive, while the San Diego Chargers couldn’t get much going against the Broncos defense after their only score in the first quarter.

They would start their second quarter drive near their own 40-yard line. On third down and seven from their own 45-yard line, Phillip Rivers would complete a pass short over the middle that was stopped well short of the first down marker.

Denver gets things going with the run game as Devontae Booker takes the first down carry six yards. A holding penalty set the offense back. Siemian couldn’t make a decision and threw the ball away as he was flushed out. On third down and 14, Siemian threw into triple coverage to Emmanuel Sanders and was nearly intercepted again.

That would be the Broncos fourth consecutive three and out.

You just had a feeling that eventually the Broncos defense wouldn’t be able to hold the line.

After a sack by Von Miller and a short run by Melvin Gordon, Rivers would be strip sacked by DeMarcus Ware that was picked up by Corey Nelson and returned for a touchdown.

The call looked like the correct one, but after review, it was called an incomplete pass. A very bad break for a call that looked like there was not enough convincing evidence to overturn.

Justin Simmons would then rough the kicker to keep the Chargers drive alive and on the Broncos side of the field. A couple of procedural penalties, forced the Chargers to start with a first and 20.

On Rivers first pass the ball was tipped and Bradley Roby caught it and returned it 52 yards for the touchdown.

Broncos 10, Chargers 7.

Celebrations were cut short as Wade Phillips collapsed on the sideline after the play. Phillips was blown up by a Chargers defender who appeared to have a chance to pull up, but didn’t. Phillips would be carried off the field by a stretcher.

Once play resumed, Rivers on third and four from his own 24 yard line went deep down the middle to a well covered Travis Benjamin. Chargers punt.

Jordan Norwood had a nice return, but would fumble on the play. Fortunately, a Broncos defender fell on it quickly.

Devontae Booker got things going for the Broncos on the next drive, getting a first down on a catch and run from Siemian. That first down was the first since the Broncos opening drive.

Siemain on the very next play hit Sanders deep down the right sideline. He was nearly overthrown, but Sanders laid himself out for the catch to set the Broncos up just outside the ten yard line.

After a short run, Siemian would throw right into the hands of Casey Hayward who would have return it for his own pick-six. Fortunately, Hayward dropped it. On third and six, Siemian was striped sacked. The Chargers recovered the fumble and ended the Broncos drive.

The Chargers quickly took the ball out near midfield with time winding down in the first half. A big third down conversion set them up just outside of field goal range at the two minute warning.

T.J. Ward would get burned in coverage on Antonio Gates to put the Chargers into field goal range. Two plays later on third down and ten, Rivers would float the ball incomplete to end the drive. Josh Lambo would miss the 45-yard field goal attempt to give the momentum back to the Broncos.

A quick pass to Sanders got the Broncos out to midfield. After a short pass to Booker, Siemian nearly threw (by my count) his sixth interception of the first half. Fortune kept smiling on the Broncos in this one. Another poor throw setup fourth down, which the Broncos went for with a deep incompletion on fourth and seven. The ball was badly overthrown.

With three timeouts and fourteen seconds, the Chargers had a chance to score some points to close the half. Derek Wolfe wouldn’t have any of that, sacking Rivers to end the half.