The Denver Broncos were in the game to the very end despite being outgained by almost double by the Los Angeles Chargers on offense. Poor clock management by the Chargers gave Case Keenum and the Broncos one last chance with no timeouts and less than two minutes left.
Keenum delivered in spades with a Brandon McManus walk-off game-winning field goal to give Denver the 23-22 road win over the Chargers. The Broncos bounce-back to a 4-6 record and the Chargers fall to 7-3.
To the start the game, the Broncos will get the ball first after losing the opening coin toss as the Chargers elected to defer.
After the touchdback, Case Keenum opened up under center with play-action and threw to a wide open Courtland Sutton. Unfortunately, the pass was very poor and overthrown. From the shotgun on second down, Keenum hit Phillip Lindsay outside for a quick eight-yards.
An offsides penalty on the Chargers negated that penalty as the Broncos took the free five-yards. On second and five, Keenum threw it high to Emmanuel Sanders for an incompletion at the sticks. Then on third down, hit a quick slant to DaeSean Hamilton for four-yards and a punt.
Philip Rivers and the Chargers came out and stumbled on their first two plays, gaining just a few yards on each. On third and six, Rivers was hit as he threw and found Keenum Allen over the middle who beat Chris Harris Jr. for a 28-yard gain and a first down.
After a five yard run on first down and another four on second down, the Chargers were in a positive down and distance on their next third down. Rivers went to shotgun and found Allen again over the middle for another first down and a seven-yard gain.
Von Miller launched outside to hit Rivers as he threw on first down, which resulted in an incompletion as the fans chanted ‘defense’ in favor of the road team.
A slant on second down was knocked loose by Justin Simmons to setup a third and long. Rivers went back to the shotgun and went to Antonio Gates who beat Su’a Cravens on the play for another first down.
From the Broncos 20-yard line, Melvin Gordon attempted to run a sweep and was blown up for a loss by Bradley Roby. A holding penalty negated the play anyway to push the Chargers back 10-yards for a 1st and 20 start.
Rivers went deep to Travis Benjamin to the end zone, but was well covered by Roby for an incompletion. On second and 20, a false start penalty push the Chargers back another five-yards.
A quick toss outside to Allen went for just four-yards for a third and very long. The Chargers could not convert that, but were able to settle for a field goal after a long opening drive.
Chargers 3, Broncos 0.
The Chargers 13-play drive ate up nearly 7 minutes, but gained just 49 yards.
On the kickoff return, Andy Janovich was called for holding to pin the Broncos offense back on their own seven-yard line to start the next drive.
Keenum snapped it quickly and found Sutton over the middle for a slant and nine-yards on first down. From there, the Broncos called their first run play handing off to Lindsay who burst through the middle for a five-yard gain.
After Keenum avoided a sack with a throw away he found Lindsay on a screen pass who ducked and weaved for a seven-yard gain on second down. On third down, Keenum went to shotgun and looked for everyone to no avail. He threw it away to bring back out the punting unit.
From their own 17-yard line, Rivers put Gordon to work on first down with an inside run that went nowhere. Cravens blasted up the middle on an inside blitz to force Rivers to get rid of the ball for an incompletion. On third and 10, Rivers went deep outside to Mike Williams who was wide open for a 28-yard gain.
Virgil Green beat Simmons down the seam for a 36-yard gain.
After an illegal motion penalty and a one yard loss from Melvin Gordon, the Chargers were faced with a second and 16. Rivers went to the shotgun and had his underneath throw to Allen broken up by Darian Stewart to setup a third and long.
Yet another false start penalty made it third and 21 for the Chargers. Rivers found Gordon underneath for 13-yards and another field goal attempt for Los Angeles.
Chargers 6, Broncos 0.
The quarter ends after a run for no gain by Royce Freeman and an offsides penalty on the Chargers. It will be second and five for the Broncos to start the second quarter.
To open the second quarter, Freeman powered his way through the middle for a seven-yard gain and a first down.
A short pass outside to Lindsay gained just two yards, then Keenum went to Sanders in the flat who broke a tackle and gained four-yards. On third and four, Keenum was put into an empty set for a predictable pressure and overthrow to Sutton and another punt.
Colby Wadman ran a fake punt to throw it to Andy Janovich for the first down trickery.
Lindsay then burst an open hole for a 41-yard touchdown run to give the Broncos the lead.
Broncos 7, Chargers 6.
The Chargers looked to be reeling on their next drive, but a clutch catch by Antonio Gates opened things up down field.
However, on the next play, Adam Gotsis was able to get a shoestring sack on Rivers. A delay of game penalty set the Chargers back five yards, then Rivers struggled with the snap only to throw it up to Williams where Chris Harris Jr. was able to step in front for the interception.
An end around to Sanders got the Broncos next drive off to a good start with a quick seven-yards. A personal foul on the Chargers for a late hit out of bounds gifted the Broncos another 15.
The drive for the Broncos would stall from there, but faced with a fourth and one from the Chargers 16-yard line they pushed Lindsay up the middle for no gain. Instead of the Broncos leading 10-6, they got nothing.
The Chargers turned the Broncos head-scratcher into a scoring drive that was powered by Melvin Gordon who has a 32-yard screen pass that put them into field goal range.
Tramaine Brock then got into the mix with a blown coverage on a 29-yard reception to give the Chargers a first and goal at the Broncos four-yard line.
Todd Davis tipped a Rivers pass up in the end zone that was nearly intercepted by Will Parks on a pass to a fairly wide open Antonio Gates. It wouldn’t matter as Rivers would find Allen wide open in the end zone for the touchdown and the lead.
Chargers 13, Broncos 7.
It could be 13-10 right now. Instead, its 13-7. pic.twitter.com/DNVtNG1tns— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 18, 2018
With great field position to start their next drive, the Broncos put Keenum into the shotgun immediately. His first throw was low to Lindsay who was going to get blown up anyway. They kept him in shotgun for the predictable near interception on second down.
To hear Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts talk about how on film Keenum seemed to perform so much better under center only annoys me even more. If they can see it on film, why does he continue to operate mostly out of shotgun when passing?— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 18, 2018
Then on third down, they went back to the Lindsay well to bail them out again. His 10-yard gain kept the drive alive at the two-minute warning.
Keenum, from the shotgun, danced around then scrambled outside to throw the ball away. A penalty on the Broncos pushed them back anyway. A quick pass over the middle to Jeff Heuerman got those five yards back as the clock ticked under 1:40.
On second down, Keenum found Heuerman again for six-yards to setup a third and short. From there, Keenum went outside to Tim Patrick and the pass was errant to force another punt.
Keenum wasn't even under pressure, just a blatant miss on 3rd down. Also had a receiver open at the top of the screen... That $18 million looking worse by the day. #DENvsLAC pic.twitter.com/s1fapiRrTt— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 18, 2018
Von Miller for his 10th sack of the season with one on Rivers late in the second quarter. Bradley Chubb was drawn offsides on the next play with 19 seconds left in the half. Rivers aired it out to Benjamin, but it was well covered by Stewart who broke up the pass with 12 seconds left to end the half.
On the final play, Chubb got his 9th sack of the season to send both teams to the locker room.
The Chargers receive the ball first to start the second half.
It didn’t take long for the Chargers to move the ball to midfield to start the second half. Once there, they faced a third and one that Gordon was able to convert to keep the drive alive.
An end around to Austin Ekler led to another big gain for the Chargers down to the Broncos 28-yard line and a 17-yard gain that put the Chargers over 300 total yards in the game.
Gordon broke a tackle attempt by Josey Jewell for a catch and run into the Broncos red zone at the 13-yard line. Shane Ray sacked Rivers on the next play, but Chris Harris Jr. was called for defensive holding on Allen to give the Chargers a first and goal from the eight yard line.
Von Miller came in hot on the next play, forcing Rivers to throw it up to Gates who was covered by Jewell for the incompletion. On second down, Rivers hit Gordon over the middle for a five-yard gain. However, an offensive holding call push the Chargers back 10-yards.
Allen caught a pass over the middle who was tackled hard by Justin Simmons. The referees decided that was a defenseless hit on a receiver for a first and goal.
How in the hell was Simmons supposed to stop himself there? pic.twitter.com/ej0rDvKNSp— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 18, 2018
Rivers found Gates in the back of the end zone who beat Jewell on the play.
The only good fortune for the Broncos came from the shanked extra point.
Chargers 19, Broncos 7.
Needing a monster drive to keep the game competitive, the Broncos offense came out with an immediately three and out.
This tweet didn't age well. https://t.co/o5UKU9szJW— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 18, 2018
With a time of possession advantage bordering on absurd, the Chargers offense was not having much trouble moving the ball midway through the third quarter. At midfield, Keenan Allen shoved Chris Harris Jr’s head up and out of his way, but referees saw defensive pass interference to keep the drive going.
Rivers was pressured on the drive and threw it right to Von Miller who rumbled down the field for a 42-yard interception return.
From the Chargers 18-yard line, Keenum pitched it outside to Lindsay who ran it for eight-yards on first down. Then Freeman powered inside for a first down to the Chargers 3-yard line. Freeman would bull his way into the end zone on the next play for the touchdown.
Chargers 19, Broncos 14.
The Broncos defense, motivated by the game-changing play, forced a three and out on Rivers and the Chargers on the next series.
Lindsay got through the line on first down for a short gain, but a Chargers defender had a bad face mask penalty on tight end Matt LaCosse to add 15-yards on the play. A short pass to Emmanuel Sanders for no gain ended the quarter with the Broncos just shy of midfield.
The Broncos started the fourth quarter with a second and ten from their own 46-yard line.
On their first play in the quarter, Keenum threw a perfect pass to Sutton who ran 39-yards down to the Chargers 15-yard line.
After a three-yard gain by Lindsay, Freeman added another four-yards. On third and three, tossed quickly outside to Lindsay who dodged his way to a first and goal at the Chargers 2-yard line.
Lindsay, from the wild cat, cut inside for the touchdown and the lead. The Broncos ran the same type of wild cat play, but with Keenum. It came up just short.
Broncos 20, Chargers 19.
Keenum looked like he had crossed the plane of the goal, but no review was requested by Vance Joseph for some reason.
is anyone in the NFL worse at challenges than Vance Joseph?— Jon Heath (@ByJonHeath) November 18, 2018
Rivers got the short screen passes going early in the Chargers next drive as Austin Ekeler continued to rip the defense up as they quickly moved down to the Broncos 21-yard line.
Ekeler was stuffed for no gain from there and another false start penalty by the Chargers pushed them back to a 2nd and 15. Gordon was stuffed for a loss on the next play by Gotsis to setup a third and very long for the Chargers.
From the shotgun, Rivers floated a screen pass to Gordon who was able to break some tackles for a 14-yard gain to setup a fourth and one. Rivers attempted to draw the Broncos offsides, but couldn’t and the field goal unit was brought out.
Chargers 22, Broncos 20.
On the Broncos first play, Keenum hit Emmanuel Sanders in stride that was immediately knocked free for a fumble that was recovered by the Chargers.
Upon review, the call was overturned to an incomplete pass to Sanders. That call kept the Broncos hopes alive.
Sanders redeemed himself on the very next play with a 15-yard reception over the middle. After a run for no gain by Lindsay, he flew through the hole for a six-yard gain to setup a third and four.
Keenum, from the shotgun, went deep to Sanders that was easily intercepted by Adrian Phillips. However, the Chargers defender covering Sanders was holding that resulted in a five-yard penalty and a first down.
From the Chargers 48-yard line, Lindsay powered his way through the middle of the line for three yards on first down. On second down, Keenum faked it to Freeman and then was nearly sacked. Somehow, Keenum got the ball out for the throwaway.
On third and seven, Keenum was again in the shotgun as he looked for Heuerman, but the pass was well behind and incomplete at the first down marker. Despite being wide open, Keenum missed his target.
From their own 20-yard line, the Chargers give the ball to Gordon on first down as they look to wind down the clock. After a short pass to Green, Rivers and the Chargers were faced with a third and six with 3:33 left in the game.
With Simmons in coverage on Gates, Rivers floats a pass to the wide open tight end for what should have been the game-clinching first down. However, the Chargers were ineffective at running the clock down, which gave the Broncos offense one last chance with no timeouts with 1:51 left in the game.
From their own 8-yard line, Keenum hit Heuerman on a short pass for five-yards. Keenum then hit Sanders over the middle who maintained his balance for a monster 38-yard gain to midfield.
Two plays later, Keenum hit Patrick at the sidelines for another first down. Somehow, Patrick was called for pass interference despite being tackled while catching the ball. Keenum finished things off with a short pass to LaCosse for nine-yards, then to Sutton for a monster gain where they spiked the ball with three seconds left.
The Broncos will be without Brandon Marshall, Dymonte Thomas, Max Garcia, Shamarko Thomas, Alexander Johnson, DeMarcus Walker, and Nico Falah in this game. While the Chargers will be without Trevor Williams, Detrez Newsome, Chris Landrum, Cole Toner, Trent Scott, Forrest Lamp, and Justin Jones.
The Denver Broncos (3-6) have not had a very pleasant two months of football, losing six of their last seven games. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers (7-2) have won six straight games and are charging right into playoff contention.
To win this game, the Broncos must get pressure on Philip Rivers throughout the game while getting consistent production out of Case Keenum on the offensive side of the ball. Both could be problematic as the Broncos offensive line has been devastated by injury and Rivers tends to get the ball out pretty quickly to negate significant pass rush.
More than likely the Broncos will need to play flawlessly and that is something they just haven’t been able to do outside of the game they played against the Arizona Cardinals a few weeks ago. I personally expect a closer game than people expect, with the final coming down to one significant drive. Whichever team has that late drive will emerge victorious.
Here is how to watch.
When: Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 2:05 p.m. Mile High time
Where: ROKiT Field at StubHub Center in Carson, California
Channel: CBS / Channel 20
Announcers: Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst), and Evan Washburn (sideline reporting)
Radio: KOA - 850 AM | 94.1 FM & The Fox - 103.5 FM | Spanish Radio KNVR 1150 AM
Denver Broncos injury report
|Domata Peko Sr.||NT||NIR||NOT LISTED||DNP||FULL|
|Max Garcia||G||Knee||NOT LISTED||NOT LISTED||DNP||OUT|
Los Angeles Chargers injury report
|Keenan Allen||WR||Hip/Finger||NOT LISTED||LIMITED|
|Geremy Davis||WR||Hamstring||NOT LISTED||LIMITED||FULL|
|Mike Williams||WR||Groin||NOT LISTED||LIMITED||FULL|
The line has held steady all week at around a touchdown in favor of the Chargers over the Broncos. Given the home team gets spotted a field goal, that means oddsmakers see the Chargers are far superior to the visiting Broncos in this game.
The Broncos have mostly dominated the series with the Chargers over time, owning a 64-51-1 record against their AFC West rival. However, on the road is a different story as the Broncos sport just a 24-34 record against the Chargers.
Ian St. Clair and Adam Malnati focused in on the front office leadership (or lack thereof) on MHR Radio this week.
Mile High Report has added a new podcast to the schedule with Kevin Gillikin joining the team bringing his Germany-based Broncos & Bratwurst show. He breaks down the team in his most recent episode.
Social Media Information
MHR Facebook Page: Mile High Report: A Denver Broncos Blog
MHR Twitter: Follow @MileHighReport
MHR Instagram: Follow @MileHighReport
Denver Broncos Fan Group: Denver Broncos Football
Broncos Regular Season Schedule 2018
|1||Sep 9||vs Seattle Seahawks||W 27-24||FOX|
|2||Sep 16||vs Oakland Raiders||W 20-19||CBS|
|3||Sep 23||at Baltimore Ravens||L 27-14||CBS|
|4||Oct 1||vs Kansas City Chiefs (MNF)||L 27-23||ESPN|
|5||Oct. 7||at New York Jets||L 34-16||CBS|
|6||Oct 14||vs Los Angeles Rams||L 23-20||FOX|
|7||Oct 18||at Arizona Cardinals (TNF)||W 45-10||FOX|
|8||Oct 28||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 30-23||CBS|
|9||Nov 4||vs Houston Texans||L 19-17||CBS|
|11||Nov 18||at Los Angeles Chargers||W 23-22||CBS|
|12||Nov 25||vs Pittsburgh Steelers||W 24-17||CBS|
|13||Dec 2||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 24-10||CBS|
|14||Dec 9||at San Francisco 49ers||L 20-14||CBS|
|15||Dec 15||vs Cleveland Browns||L 17-16||NFLN|
|16||Dec 24||at Oakland Raiders (MNF)||L 27-14||ESPN|
|17||Dec 30||vs Los Angeles Chargers||2:25 PM||CBS|