Broncos 7, Chargers 7.
Trevor Siemian and the Broncos were unable to turn the tide of momentum and ended their next series with a quick three and out.
However, Cody Latimer made a huge special teams play to knock the Chargers back inside their own 20 with a solid open field tackle on the returner.
As Vance Joseph said last month of Cody Latimer: "He can be an All-Pro gunner." Plays like that are why.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) September 12, 2017
That didn’t slow down Rivers and the Chargers offense, however. After converting their first third down, Rivers was pressured by just about everyone and he had to throw the ball to no one to save the sack.
Then Isaiah McKenzie got his first real chance to return a punt. 31 yards later, the Broncos had excellent field position to start their next drive.
Jamaal Charles received his first carry as a Bronco on first down, taking the ball three yards. Siemian then had his pass batted down on second down. He slide away from pressure on third down to fire a strike to A.J. Derby for the first down, putting the Broncos across midfield.
C.J. Anderson broke free for a big 18-yard gain, making Jason Verrett whiff badly on a would-be tackle.
Siemian took off on the next play for an eight yard gain, then Charles pushed forward for the first down on the next carry. Then on first down, Siemian fired another bullet to Derby at the first down marker. Derby turned up field and almost scored to put the Broncos in a first and goal at the one yard line.
Anderson was stuffed at the goal line on the next play, but then Siemian rolled out on second and goal making Joey Bosa whiff on a tackle. Siemian walked right into the end zone for the score.
Broncos 14, Chargers 7.
At this point, Siemian was 9/16 for 75 yards with 1 TD pass and a rushing touchdown. Not a bad way to start the 2017 season.
Von Miller continued to see himself triple-teamed. It’s going to be a long eight games until Shane Ray returns for him. The Broncos defense just doesn’t look as stout as in years past as the Chargers quickly found themselves back in Denver territory as the first half came winding down to an end.
However, on third down just outside of field goal range, Shaquil Barrett and Von Miller both showed up to pressure Rivers into a throw away and a punt.
Isaiah McKenzie did something really dangerous on the punt return - stealing away the downed punt inside the five yard line from a Charger defender and then ran it back.
.@_CRADICULOUS just snatched the ball from Trevor Williams on a punt return. Williams attempted to down the ball. Not sure that was great or— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) September 12, 2017
The Broncos were quite content to run the clock down for the first half after that.