The Los Angeles Chargers were responding well to the Denver Broncos jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter with a drive to start the second. The drive began to slow a bit just inside field goal range. On third and six, Justin Herbert found his receiver outside who was able to break a tackle for the first down.
Three plays later, the Chargers were again facing a third down, that time four. They just got the spot to give them a first down. Austin Ekeler would cash in from there with a touchdown run to cut the Broncos lead back to three points after a 15-play, 82-yard drive.
Broncos 10, Chargers 7.
Russell Wilson rolled out on first down and didn’t like what he saw. His scrambled picked up a yard. An inside run from Melvin Gordon gained four. On third and five, the chunk play was there but Calvin Anderson was completely annihilated for the blown up play.
That quick three and out gave the ball right back to the Chargers offense to bring out a gassed Broncos defense. Rookie Matt Henningson broke through the line for a sack to force the Chargers into a third and long. However, Damarri Mathis was targeted again and was called for a 36-yard defensive pass interference. It looked like Mathis arrived with the ball, but a bad call or not there would be no reversing it.
Despite a holding call on the Chargers next play, Herbert found Dylan Parham for a 17-yard gain. Mathis was fired up and came up to stuff a run for a one yard gain.
On third down, Mathis was again targeted and the refs again called him for pass interference. That one was even more ticky tack than the last one. With the two minute warning, the Chargers were in field goal range thanks to the referees.
The refs called this pass interference… #Chargers | #BoltUp | #BroncosCountry | #Broncos— Boolin Sports (@BoolinSports) October 18, 2022
Then whenever the Broncos defense looked like they would be on the verge of getting a stop on their own, the Chargers would convert. They converted seven consecutive third downs in the first half since punting in the first quarter.
Nathaniel Hackett began calling timeouts after a stop on first down inside the 15-yard line. Baron Browning exploded off the edge for a sack to setup a third and 17.
@baronbrwnng | #BudLightCelly pic.twitter.com/9a53lWpcBF— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) October 18, 2022
Browning would then deflect the third down pass to force a field goal attempt.
Broncos 10, Chargers 10.
With under a minute to go, Russell Wilson went for it all with KJ Hamler two plays in their drive for a 47-yard gain into Chargers territory to the 26-yard line.
GO LONG!!!!— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) October 18, 2022
: ESPN | @Kj_hamler
A quick toss to Jerry Jeudy for 11-yards and the Broncos were in the red zone with 22 seconds left in the half. The Broncos would have a goal to go opportunity, but with three straight incompletions in the end zone brought Brandon McManus out for the lead change.
Broncos 13, Chargers 10.