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Broncos vs Chargers: 8 winners, 3 losers from Denver’s last-second 23-22 win

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For the first time since Dec. 2015, the Broncos won a road game in the AFC West to bring that winning feeling.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

So that’s what it’s like to see a team overcome adversity.

Most of us thought we had a better chance spotting Bigfoot, but, somehow, it happened.

Vance Joseph and the Denver Broncos brought back that winning feeling with their pulsating 23-22 last-second win over the Los Angeles Chargers (7-3). In the process, the Broncos (4-6) won their first road game in the AFC West since Dec. 2015, and won their first game in LA since 1987.

Winners

Broncos Country

Hat tip to the orange-clad fans in the stands on Sunday. You guys played a big role in your team picking up the win.

Phillip Lindsay

The Broncos’ undrafted rookie running back is always a blast to watch. In a season that is anything but, Lindsay is one of the few bright spots and reason to feel some hope. His two touchdowns are the latest additions to an impressive rookie season. For the game, Lindsay finished with 11 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns, as well as four catches for 27 yards. The coolest thing Lindsay did? He brought back the Mile High Salute after his second touchdown. Is there any doubt he should be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year?

Bradley Chubb

Speaking of special rookie seasons, Denver’s pass rusher is now on track to break the NFL record for sacks by a rookie. The record is 14 set by Jevon Kearse in 1999. After a sack of Philip Rivers, Chubb sits at nine on the season and is six away from the record. For the game, Chubb had seven tackles, four solo, two for loss, one sack and two quarterback hits. Also, Dan Fouts had the line of the game in the first quarter when he said, “Chubb was in (Rivers’) face.”

Royce Freeman

To keep the rookie theme going, it was nice to see Freeman back on the field and respond the way he did. The one-two punch of Lindsay and Freeman, hopefully, will be dynamic for the Broncos for years to come. Freeman had seven rushes for 23 yards, including his three-yard touchdown run.

Von Miller

Denver’s outside linebacker got his 16th sack of Rivers, recorded his 100th of his NFL career, and became the third player to record 10 sacks in seven of his first eight seasons. Miller also got a huge interception that set up Freeman’s touchdown.

Brandon McManus

After missing a game-winner against the Houston Texans, the Broncos kicker redeemed himself with a 34-yard field goal to give his team the win.

Broncos offensive line

No sacks allowed and no penalties. That’s a helluva game for any offensive line, but for one that is ravaged by injuries and new starters, that’s a major win. To do it against a defense like the Chargers have, even better. Impressive showing by the guys up front.

Case Keenum

It wasn’t pretty, but Keenum once again didn’t turn the ball over and he led the Broncos on a game-winning drive. If he had done this in the six losses, who knows where this team would be right now. But two weeks in a row of no turnovers is a good sign.

Losers

Jeff Heuerman

The tight end had a huge drop late in the fourth quarter. Thankfully it didn’t cost his team, but he has to catch that pass on third-and-seven.

Broncos covering tight ends

Antonio Gates is 38 years old. But given how Denver covered him on Sunday, you might think he was 28. Man alive, the Broncos are horrid at covering tight ends, and it almost cost them this game. Gates finished with five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. As a team, the Chargers’ tight ends had seven catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.

The officiating

Pete Morelli and his crew weren’t very good on Sunday. When it comes to the NFL and officiating this season, that’s par for the course. At some point, there has to be some accountability from the league. Morelli and his unit called 21 penalties on Sunday, but some of there were just brutal.