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Broncos nearly folded, but instead gut-checked into win over Chargers

The Denver Broncos move to 6-5 with impressive 28-13 home win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Three AFC West teams are now tied for second place in the division.

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos got up early 14-0 over the Los Angeles Chargers and it looked like they could run away with the game, but Teddy Bridgewater got injured in the second quarter. With Drew Lock in, he threw a critical late first half interception that the Chargers were able to turn into a momentum-shifting touchdown before halftime.

However, the Broncos defense held the line long enough for Bridgewater to get back in the starting lineup. He would lead them to an early fourth quarter score to put Denver back up by two touchdowns, then Patrick Surtain would come up with his second interception of the game and returned it 70-yards for the touchdown to put the game out of reach for Los Angeles. The final score was 28-13.

Both teams are 6-5 and tied with the Las Vegas Raiders for second place in the AFC West, one game back from the Kansas City Chiefs. Oh, and Denver plays Kansas City next week on Sunday Night Football.

First Quarter

Denver controlled the first quarter of this game. The first drive ended in a punt due to a penalty, but they found the end zone on their second possession after this Teddy Bridgewater scamper.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos held the Chargers to zero first downs and that led to some serious ball control for Denver’s offense. The bad news is they lost Bridgewater to injury in the first quarter.

Broncos 7, Chargers 0. Full first quarter recap.

Second Quarter

Disaster struck when the Broncos lost Bridgewater, but they wouldn’t find that out until later. The lack of coaches faith in Drew Lock was quite evident early on, especially on this third down and goal from the nine yard line. Most teams would throw, but Denver elected to run. It worked out, though.

However, with two minutes to go Denver had no choice but to turn Lock loose. The result was this horrific decision and interception.

Predictably, the Chargers would come alive with that big play and close the half with a touchdown to close the lead to a single score. Add that to the fact they would get the ball to start the third quarter and you can compound Lock’s mistake in even bigger ways.

Broncos 14, Chargers 7. Full second quarter recap.

Third Quarter

The Chargers dominated time of possession in the third quarter, but the Broncos defense came up big on their first drive with a McTelvin Agim sack that then was followed by a missed field goal for Los Angeles.

Justin Simmons nearly intercepted Herbert on his first pass on the next drive, but couldn’t come up with it. Herbert then kept the drive alive at every step of the way with the third quarter ending with the Chargers inside the Broncos red zone.

Broncos 14, Chargers 7. Full third quarter recap.

Fourth Quarter

The Chargers opened the fourth quarter facing a third and nine from the Broncos 19 yard line. Herbert was pressured and completed a screen pass to Austin Ekeler who turned it upfield for a first down, but an ineligible player down field negated the play. Pat Surtain showed up on the next play to intercept a badly underthrown ball by Herbert to keep the Broncos seven-point lead.

That was the momentum shift the Broncos needed. They turned that interception into a long drive that was setup additionally by a 40-yard outside pass to Javonte Williams on third and 10.

Denver would go up 21-7 with a one yard toss from Teddy Bridgewater to Eric Saubert. Bridgewater was nearly sacked, but stiff-armed the defender to buy enough time to fire in the big time touchdown.

The Denver Broncos defense would put a capstone on this game with the rookie first round pick Pat Surtain stepping in front of a Justin Herbert pass to return it 70-yards for the touchdown and the 28-7 lead.

The Chargers would add a touchdown late on a pretty incredible catch by Jared Cook, but they used up a lot of clock and they failed to convert the two-point conversion. Denver would take over and run the ball down the Chargers defensive front to eat up the remaining clock to secure the huge divisional win.

6-5 feels pretty good!


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