The Denver Broncos won the opening coin toss and elected to defer possession to the second half to give Easton Stick and the Los Angeles Chargers the ball to begin the game. After a quick three-and-out, the Chargers would punt the ball away to give Jarrett Stidham his first start of the 2023 season.
After getting an early first down, the Broncos opening drive stalled behind three incomplete passes by Stidham — with two being pretty bad overthrows.
Another three-and-out by the Chargers got the ball back to the Broncos very quickly. Stidham opened up with a swing pass to Jaleel McLaughlin who turned it up field for a first down. After a short run, Stidham then looked for Brandon Johnson for a six yard gain to bring up a third and two. Samaje Perine powered up the middle for a five yard gain across midfield for another Broncos’ first down.
McLaughlin then took a swing toss outside for a 10-yard gain to get the Broncos into field goal range. Javonte Williams then broke tackle after tackle for a 17-yard gain into the red zone for one of his best runs of the season.
A third down completion to Jerry Jeudy ended up just short of the first down marker, which brought out Wil Lutz for the early Broncos’ lead.
Broncos 3, Chargers 0.
The score woke up the Chargers offense and they quickly charged out across midfield on their next possession. However, as soon as they crossed midfield the Broncos defense stiffened to force a punt on fourth and 5.
The first quarter would end with the Broncos leaning into the run game with McLaughlin being the most explosive runner on the field so far. They would convert on a third and one for a new set of downs to end the quarter.