In predictable fashion, Pat Shurmur called a quick outside pass for three yards to Noah Fant on first down then followed that up with an inside handoff to Melvin Gordon. The latter netted 10 yards and a first down against the leagues worst run defense.
On the 2nd play of the game the Broncos go with Melvin Gordon, who rips off a nice gain pic.twitter.com/c2scNSaQRp— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 28, 2021
Gordon was injured on the play and went to the medical tent. He was immediately ruled questionable to return with a hip injury.
Javonte Williams came in after that and got a short gain on first down, then after an incompletion Teddy Bridgewater found Jerry Jeudy just shy of the sticks who juked the first defender as he turned it upfield for a 13 yard gain and a first down. Williams then rumbled through four or five would-be tacklers as he powered his way through to a 12 yard gain to the Chargers 35-yard line.
Bridgewater escaped a sack and almost connected with Albert Okwuegbunam on the sideline, but the coverage was tight. On second down, Williams was stuffed after a two yard gain. A holding penalty on Cam Fleming knocked Denver back out of field goal range to face a third and 18 that would lead to a predictable opening drive punt. They have punted on nine opening drives this season.
A fantastic punt by Sam Martin was downed at the one-yard line. The Broncos’ defense was fired up for the opportunity and forced Justin Herbert and the Chargers’ offense into a quick three and out. Denver would get the ball back at the 50-yard line.
Broncos D hangs tough on 3rd and 2.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 28, 2021
Bradley Chubb gets away with a little love tap on Justin Herbert. pic.twitter.com/kneuYRMMiX
Melvin Gordon returned to the lineup after getting injured on the first series. Bridgewater dropped back to pass on first down and found Tim Patrick wide open across the middle of the field for an 19-yard gain. Gordon then plowed up the middle for a four yard gain on the next play to setup a second and six. Another short run by Gordon had a defensive penalty included that gave Denver a first down at the Chargers 20-yard line.
On first down, Gordon was nearly tackled in the backfield but broke a tackle to find a way to gave four yards. He added another two on the next play to bring up a third and four for the Broncos from the 14 yard line. Bridgewater found Courtland Sutton for the first time to convert setting up Denver with a first and goal at the nine yard line.
A pitch outside to Williams went nowhere losing two yards, but Bridgewater scrambled on the next play all the way into the end zone diving for the pilon and the touchdown.
Teddy Bridgewater scampers for 6 and it's a Broncos touchdown! pic.twitter.com/Vb1IOc0wou— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 28, 2021
Broncos 7, Chargers 0.
Herbert opened up with the first plas going after rookie Pat Surtain, but it was incomplete. Herbert rolled out on second down, but was forced upfield and gained seven yards. He had a man open on third down, but Baron Browning leaped to bat the pass down for another three and out.
Denver opened up their next drive from their own 25-yard line. A quick outside toss to Patrick for seven on first down was followed by a play action pass to Albert O who turned it upfield for a first down. Disaster struck from there as Bridgewater was smashed blindside by Derwin James for the strip-sack.
Derwin James blindsides Teddy Bridgewater pic.twitter.com/kidUWnhDmy— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 28, 2021
Fortunately, the play was overturned on review and they called it an incomplete pass. Bridgewater was injured on the play, so Drew Lock came in to the cheers of Broncos fans in the stadium.
Lock completed his first pass to get Denver over the 50 yard line. He was then strip-sacked, but Patrick picked up the fumble and got the first down. Denver went back to the run game after that with Williams bouncing outside for a big gain into field goal range to end the first quarter.