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Game balls from Broncos’ 31-30 comeback over the Chargers

The Denver Broncos completed one of the great second half comeback wins in franchise history against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 8.

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos put together one of the greatest second half comebacks in franchise history. They were down 24-3 midway through the third quarter before scoring four touchdowns in five possessions to win 31-30 on the game’s final play.

Ironically, some of the greatest Broncos comebacks have come at the hands of the Los Angeles Chargers. In 2012, Peyton Manning and company were down 24-0 at halftime and proceed to score five touchdowns in the second half to win easily. In 2005, the Broncos were down 14-3 at halftime and booed off the field. They came back to win 20-17 and went on to win 13 games that year.

This may or may not catapult these Broncos to a playoff run, but it was a much needed offensive boost to a team that has been struggling mightily to put points on the board after Drew Lock came back from injury. And with a comeback like this, there will be far more game ball worthy performances than there will be Mile High Report staffers to give them out.

Drew Lock

What a tale of two halves. There was a point some were wondering if Vic Fangio would make the switch to Brett Rypien in the third quarter. And then something clicked. Perhaps it was was when Jerry Jeudy laid into Lock, as Taylor will mention later, or Phillip Lindsay’s 55-yard touchdown run. Whatever is the reason, that’s the Lock we all hope to see going forward. Lock is the first Broncos quarterback since Peyton Manning to throw three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Lock led a game-winning drive as time expired. Perhaps more important, he has his confidence back. - Ian St. Clair

Phillip Lindsay

Few of us believed the Denver Broncos were going to come back to win the game when they were down 24-3 midway through the third quarter. Little did we know all they needed was a spark on offense to get it the comeback started. Phillip Lindsay provided that spark that catapulted the offense to a furious four touchdown quarter and a half that ended in a Broncos 31-30 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. That’s why my game ball goes to the best running back on the team. - Tim Lynch

Bryce Callahan

Most of Bryce Callahan’s numbers were not that impressive. He had three solo tackles and one pass defended, but his interception in the endzone was a thing a beauty and it saved the game. The Broncos had just turned the ball over on their own 24 already down 24-10. Callahan’s amazing one-handed interception in the endzone saved a FG at minimum and most likely a TD given how well the Chargers were moving the ball in the second half. - Joe Mahoney

KJ Hamler

He didn’t play a great game, but the rookie came up huge when it counted most. Hamler’s butt cheek touchdown to cap off the Broncos game winning drive was a great way for him to get his first NFL touchdown. Three catches on three targets for 13 yards won’t usually get you a gameball, but a game winner for a touchdown will every time. - Adam Malnati

Albert Okwuegbunam

I said on Thursday that it was only a matter of time before Albert Okwuegbunam found the end zone. The rookie deserves a gameball for a heckuva catch on his first NFL touchdown - which also happened to be the spark that got Drew Lock going in the 4th quarter. - Jeff Essary

Jerry Jeudy & DaeSean Hamilton

I’m going to cheat a bit and do a split: Jerry Jeudy & DaeSean Hamilton. Hamilton reeled in a well placed pass from Lock and turned it up field for what may be the Broncos’ cleanest receiving TD of the year so far. Big plays like that are the best and fastest way to earn forgiveness for big drops. Kudos to the 3rd year WR on the huge role he played in a very explosive drive.

And something many fans may have missed: After Lock threw incomplete to open the 4th quarter, the Broncos faced a disheartening 3rd & 16. Jerry Jeudy chose that moment to come up and speak to Lock. I’d love to know what he said, because it hit exactly the right button for Denver’s young QB. Lock responded with a 43 yard completion to Jeudy the very next play, beginning a run of 14 of 17 passing for 155 yards and 3 TDs in one of the more remarkable 4th quarter showings in recent memory. I love seeing Jeudy step up like that. He’s had some rookie hiccups, but if he continues to be as impactful personally as he’s capable of being on the field, he’ll be one of the top WRs to ever play in Denver. - Taylor Kothe

Melvin Gordon

That’s right. He gets a game ball. I know the hate is strong for Gordon by some in Broncos Country after a big contract and several fumbles. The contract isn’t his fault and the fumbles are an issue. But they weren’t yesterday. And though his stats were meager and his former team kept him from getting the best of them most of the day - Gordon got one that they surely regret. And it was one of the best plays of the game. Third-and-5 with 31 seconds to go, Lock’s pass was high and bit outside, but Gordon reeled it in and had the awareness to even extend the ball for the first down. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Vic Fangio

As has been the case all season, Fangio’s defense provided some semblance of stability for the young offense to try to find their footing.

On the surface most of the numbers look ugly: the Chargers gained 210 yards rushing and Herbert made history as the first quarterback to ever throw for 1500 yards and score 15 touchdowns. In spite of all of that, the Broncos forced the Chargers into 16 different third downs and had two critical interceptions. The last one knocked LA out of an easy scoring drive following Lock’s own pick.

The Broncos’ head coach deserves a ton of kudos for finding ways to to put his players in positions to make their chances count in tight situations down Ed Donatell and Mike Munchak. I’m sure we won’t give him enough credit for how he managed the two minute drive with a struggling quarterback, but he’s earned praise there as well. - Joe Rowles

Who gets your game ball from the Broncos 31-30 win over the Chargers?