SAN DIEGO – Maybe the Super Bowl hangover – the one the Denver Broncos said they didn’t have – was just a little late to the after-party.
Sure, NFL ratings have been down and Broncos vs. Chargers wasn’t exactly a thrilling Thursday night matchup (at least, early on). The Broncos piled up numbers after they fell behind, 21-3 in the fourth quarter. In trying to turn back time to get their running game back into shape, the Broncos couldn’t get out of their own way.
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers looks for a receiver during the second half of the team’s NFL football game against the Denver Broncos.
Cleveland quarterback Cody Kessler has recovered enough from an injury to his chest and ribs to start Sunday’s game at Tennessee, a relief to the Browns who already have started three quarterbacks and played five in five games this season. Benjamin, signed as a free agent in the offseason, had a punt bounce off his ankle and the Broncos recovered, setting up McManus’ field goal late in the second quarter.
“I’m sick to my stomach because I hate to lose”, DeCamillis said. “I was nearly like a substitute teacher”. I felt it. Not that I expected it if it didn’t go well. I have a new respect for that.
Don’t get me wrong, a win is a win. Like I mentioned once before, some of the blame goes on the players as well.
The Broncos won the toss and deferred in one other game this year: Week Four at Tampa.
But the San Diego supporters had the last laugh after the hosts claimed a 21-13 win, despite a late fightback from the Broncos. But they did manage to kill clock, keep the defense fresh and off the field, and at the very least, continue to extend the lead. DeCamillis said Friday that Sanders is okay. The Broncos made the bad offensive line work previously with future hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning making every adjustment for them and running perfectly called plays to counter most defenses. Running back Melvin Gordon protected the football on seven fourth-quarter carries, albeit on just 8 yards.
All five offensive linemen were called for penalties, eight in total, five for holding. Fumbles by receivers Jordan Taylor and Demaryius Thomas thwarted comeback attempts.
Thursday’s 21-13 loss at San Diego was set in motion by two long drives that covered 12 and 18 plays, sandwiching a brief, six-play cameo from the Denver offense. This is the second time in three years he’s missed a game after a health scare. Their next two games are at Atlanta and at Denver. He was diagnosed with a complex migraine condition and ordered to take a week off.
Okung was seen by reporters being carted from the locker room and placed into an ambulance before being transported to a nearby hospital. Siemian’s bum left shoulder, and backup quarterback Paxton Lynch’s struggle in his first start last week, has left the Broncos desperately needing to find footing on the ground. A unit that had become known for blowing leads early in the season and was allowing an average of more than 28 points per game, completely suffocated the Denver offense for the vast majority of the game.