Joe Flacco opened up the second quarter with a third and 11, but had the ball stripped when he was about to pass that the Los Angeles Chargers were able to recover. Garett Bolles was beat around the edge, which gave the defender a chance to bat the ball out of Flacco’s hands.
De’Vante Bausby suffered a scary neck injury on the Chargers first play from scrimmage. He wasn’t moving his arms or legs as the medical team put him on a stretcher.
De'Vante Bausby is down after this tackle on Ekeler. pic.twitter.com/9wunoBKW43— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 6, 2019
Bausby was replaced by Isaac Yiadom on defense. He was targeted on the first play, but the ball sailed incomplete. Rivers, on third and seven, went deep where the pass was incomplete. Duke Dawson Jr. was called for pass interference to get the Chargers into Denver Broncos territory for the first time in the game.
After a swing pass to Ekler for eight yards, Kareem Jackson stuffed him on an inside run for no gain to force another third down. Chargers went to an empty set on third down, and Rivers hit Elker for a four yard gain with Todd Davis in coverage.
Another short pass went for eight yards, but then DeMarcus Walker and Von Miller combined for a three yard sack on Rivers. On third and five, Rivers hit Keenan Allen for a first down at the Broncos 21-yard line with Duke Dawson Jr. in coverage.
The Chargers keep the dink and dunk game going with their running backs all day. They ended up with another third and five situation at the Broncos 16-yard line where Rivers was flushed out and forced to throw it away to bring out their field goal unit.
Dre’Mont Jones blocked the kick to keep the Chargers off the board.
Chargers' 48-yard field goal attempt no good. Was line drive that came up short.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) October 6, 2019
Broncos lost some momentum after the turnover, but still hold a 14-0 lead.
With great field position, Flacco and the Broncos got going from their own 38-yard line. Royce Freeman made a great jump cut inside to burst through for a quick six-yard gain on first down. Freeman added another two on the next play to bring up a third and two. Flacco went to Emmanuel Sanders on the third down in his first target of the day, but he was interfered with to give the Broncos the automatic first down out to the Chargers 45-yard line.
Freeman burst up the middle on first down for a nine-yard gain on first down, then Flacco hit Sanders over the top for another big catch who toe tapped it for the reception and the first down to put the Broncos in field goal range.
Nice throw to Emmanuel Sanders off play action gives the #Broncos a first down. pic.twitter.com/GBlRyOtYBM— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 6, 2019
After Phillip Lindsay gained a quick five yards on the next play to the Chargers 22-yard line, the Broncos went into the no huddle with six and a half minutes remaining in the first half. Flacco went with the naked bootleg, but everyone was covered so he threw the ball away. On third and five, Flacco hit Freeman on the outside where he was met by three defenders for no gain to bring out the field goal unit.
Broncos 17, Chargers 0.
Mike Purcell got to Rivers on the next series to rush a throwaway. On second and 10, Rivers remembered the Yiadom was out there and found Mike Williams on a slant for a 15-yard gain. Another big completion on the next play put the Chargers in Broncos territory at the 40-yard line.
A two yard gain by Melvin Gordon and an incompletion forced the Chargers into a third and long situation. Yiadom committed a holding penalty to keep the drive alive.
Really nice play by Kareem Jackson here. pic.twitter.com/7ifoWteFCB— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 6, 2019
The Broncos run defense has been sorted out after giving up nearly 300 yards last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. At the two-minute warning in the first half, the Chargers had 18 yards on 10 carries.
The pressure was also getting to Rivers in the first half, with Shelby Harris hitting his arm to force another errant pass. On third and seven from the Broncos 30-yard line, Rivers threw another incomplete pass. Yiadom was called for another holding penalty to keep the drive alive - again.
From there the Chargers were gifted too many extensions and had an opportunity to score a touchdown with seven seconds left in the half. They were down fourth and goal from the two after an outstanding open field tackle by Alexander Johnson.
On fourth and goal, Ekler had the angle, but Kareem Jackson popped the ball out for the fumble and touchback.
Broncos 17, Chargers 0.