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Broncos dominate defensively and do just enough offensively to beat Chargers

The Denver Broncos move back to .500 with a home win over the Los Angeles Chargers. They have a chance for their first winning season since 2016 with a win next week.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With the Denver Broncos making a quarterback change, there was some doubt it would turn into a win over the Los Angeles Chargers. While the offense kind of sputtered all day, it did seem to be a bit more efficient at times. The defense dominated Easton Stick and the Chargers offense, though, and that was the real reason behind the Broncos win here.

At 8-8, the Broncos now have a chance to secure their first winning season since 2016 on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders next week. Their playoff hopes were dashed by other team’s winning this week, but a winning season would certainly show us that they are progressing in the right direction with or without Wilson in 2024.

Broncos vs. Chargers final score

TEAM 1st 2nd 3rd 4th FINAL
TEAM 1st 2nd 3rd 4th FINAL
Los Angeles Chargers 0 3 3 3 9
Denver Broncos 3 10 0 3 16

First Quarter

The Broncos defense forced the Chargers into back-to-back three-and-outs to start the game and Jarrett Stidham was able to lead Denver’s offense into a scoring drive on their second possession to give the Broncos a 3-0 lead.

Other than that, the first quarter was rather uneventful as the Broncos took possession on their third drive late in the first quarter and were driving after converting a third and short to end the quarter, but they would go nowhere after that and punt anyway.

Broncos 3, Chargers 0. Full first quarter recap.

Second Quarter

Denver’s offense just seemed to look better with Stidham, although they missed on several opportunities anyway. That all changed midway through the second quarter with the score all tied up at three where Jarrett Stidham on third down found Lil’Jordan Humphrey who rumbled and stumbled his way to a 54-yard touchdown score to give Denver a touchdown lead.

They would add another field goal later in the quarter and Wil Lutz would also miss a long 48-yard field goal to end the half. That missed field goal was setup by a 41-yard catch and run by Jerry Jeudy with 16 seconds left in the half.

Broncos 13, Chargers 3. Full second quarter recap.

Third Quarter

The third quarter was largely uneventful. While the Broncos didn’t suffer any three-and-outs that were quite typical of the offense under Russell Wilson, they still ended up punting the ball away with both of their third quarter possession. Meanwhile, the Chargers were able to put together a scoring drive of their own to cut Denver’s lead to a touchdown.

Broncos 13, Chargers 6. Full third quarter recap.

Fourth Quarter

The first play of the fourth quarter ended up being a huge one for Denver with a forced fumble on Austin Ekeler to give Denver prime field position for a scoring opportunity.

The Broncos offense could do nothing with the advantage there and were put into a fourth and short. Instead of going for another long field goal attempt, the Broncos elected to go for it on fourth and two. Stidham on play action went deep to Jerry Jeudy in the end zone who was interfered with to give Denver the first and goal from the one yard line.

Back-to-back false starts by the offense line pretty much killed the touchdown opportunity for the Broncos after that. A nice slant from Stidham to Brandon Johnson who made a sliding catch to the one yard line for a third and goal from the one. Javonte Williams was immediately stuffed at the one.

Broncos 16, Chargers 6.

The Chargers needed to find a spark on offense and after converting a fourth down near midfield, they got the boost they needed midway through the fourth quarter. They would convert on third down for the first time on that drive, but would again face another third down and needing seven yards. Easton Stick did complete a pass outside, but the running back was quickly tackled to bring up a fourth and five.

Cameron Dicker would whiff on the 50-yard field goal attempt to keep the 10-point lead in tact for Denver with the game entering the last half of the fourth quarter.

The Broncos were able to run a good chunk of the clock down before punting it back to the Chargers with less than three minutes left in the game. The Chargers would add a field goal with just over a minute to go, but the onside kick didn’t work out and Denver would secure the win.

Broncos 16, Chargers 9.


How would you grade the Broncos performance against the Chargers in Week 17?

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