Wow! How you feeling after that win, Broncos Country?
I can tell you how I’m feeling. It’s a lot. Elation, relief, confusion, frustration, happiness, and a dash of “what the what?”
I don’t know where to begin. The horrible first half? The despair of believing this was the worst team I have seen in Denver? I won’t lie, I actually said I hate watching this team.
Even with the Justin Simmons interception, and stellar field position after the Broncos initial three-and-out, they couldn’t capitalize on great field position. They settled for a FG, and we all settled in for an excruciatingly long first half.
It was infuriating. The offense was lethargic, with a playbook that seemed to be predicated on punting, not scoring points. It was the Melvin Gordon show. And why not? He ended the game with 8 rushes for 26 yards.
If Pat Shurmur’s goal was to make the offense look totally inept, mission accomplished.
Lock struggled. He was exactly what many fans have been screaming since the loss to the Chiefs - bad. It was one read, and out. It was a whole lot of confused looks. It was missed receivers and bad footwork. The word bust comes to mind.
But it wasn’t like the Chargers were running away with things. The Broncos lead throughout the first quarter. Then toward the end of the half, the wheels kind of came off. Two 80-yard TD drives made it 14-3, but it might as well have been 50-3 the way the Broncos’ offense was playing.
Don’t worry, the second half started out about as bad as the first half ended. The Chargers took the ball, and drove it down for a touchdown, followed by a 3 and out punt for Denver, followed by a field goal for Los Angeles.
It was over. Done. 24-3 with the way Lock and the offense was playing? The fact that the defense was gassed? If you hadn’t turned the TV off before, you were itching to get that done by this point.
And then, something happened. Phillip Lindsay happened. On the next possession he took the ball 55 yards to the house. The offense was awake after that.
Not so awake that Drew Lock wouldn’t throw an interception on the Broncos next possession. It was a bad throw, intended for Jerry Jeudy. That’s not where it ended up.
The Chargers had the chance to twist the dagger on their next possession. Instead, on a 3 and 5 throw to the end zone, Bryce Callahan returned the favor, intercepting Justin Herbert, and keeping the Broncos hopes alive.
The third quarter was over. Drew Lock took the next three and a half minutes to drive the Broncos down, and find Albert Okwuegbunam in the end zone for his first career TD. It was a big moment, and one where Albert O. made a catch on a ball that he had dropped against the Patriots earlier in the year.
After the defense held LA to a field goal, it took just two plays, for Lock to find DaeSean Hamilton, who scored on a 40-yard catch and run up the middle. By now it was 27-24, and hope was slowly creeping back into Mile High Stadium.
Exhausted from being on the field so much, the defense gave up a 5 minute drive resulting in a field goal. It could have been much worse, and there was just enough time for Lock to orchestrate a little Mile High magic.
Lock was methodical. The offense moved the ball efficiently. There were some timely mistakes by the Chargers, and one huge play by Melvin Gordon. On 3rd and 5 from the LA 29 Gordon caught a tough pass from Lock behind the line to gain. He bobbled the ball, gained control, twisted his body, and reached out for the first down.
It was a huge play that continued the drive. The Broncos kept moving, but the field was getting short. On 4th and 4 with the game on the line Lock looked for his college teammate one more time. Albert O. may not have made the grab, but with time running out the Chargers defender made a huge mistake, and Albert O. drew the pass interference.
With time gone, and only one play left, Lock and the Broncos offense got the ball on the one yard line. He took the shotgun snap, faked the handoff to Gordon, rolled to his right, waited until KJ Hamler was open, threw it, and with a butt cheek down, Hamler secured his first career TD in the NFL.
Brandon McManus tacked on the extra point for the win.
If you are like me you cheered, slumped back in your chair, shook your head, and smiled. What did we all just watch?