The Denver Broncos would get the offense going to start the game as Peyton Manning would hit Julius Thomas on his first pass for 22 yards. That would eventually set-up a 7-play, 67 yard drive in just 2:54 as Manning would find Andre Caldwell in the corner of the end zone on a 15-yard pass, giving Denver the early 7-0 lead.
Ryan Mathews would start San Diego’s first drive with a great run of 18-yards, gashing the injured Denver defense. The Broncos would be flagged on the next play as the referee’s would catch them with 12-men on the field. We had a Von Miller sighting early, as he would tackle Mathews for a 1-yard loss. Also, Miller would get a great edge rush, leading to a sack from the rookie Sylvester Williams. San Diego’s 10-play, 60 yard drive would set up a Nick Novak 38-yard field goal.
On Denver’s next possession, they would get a break on 3rd-and-4, as Richard Marshall would be called for defensive holding on Andre Caldwell, resulting in an automatic first down. Peyton Manning would continue to pick apart San Diego’s defense, as he found wide-out Eric Decker on a 21-yard pass. Denver would then be set-back on a penalty, resulting in a long 3rd-and-16. Manning would connect with Julius Thomas on a crossing-route for 11-yards, setting up a 32-yard attempt that was up and good from Matt Prater. Denver would take the early 10-3 lead over the Chargers.
On San Diego’s next possession, Phillip Rivers would take off and scramble for 11-yards on second down. Rivers would then find tailback Danny Woodhead on a dump pass for 13-yards. The Denver defense looked shaky as Ryan Mathews would continue to run all over them, gashing them for another 10-yards. Denver would continue to hurt themselves with penalties, as Chris Harris Jr. would be called for defensive holding on a questionable call on Antonio Gates. The Denver defense looked to have a huge stop on 3rd-and-1 as they stopped Mathews, but his second effort led to a big first-down. Phillip Rivers would continue to pick apart the defense by finding Keenan Allen across the middle on a crossing-route, hurdling over Webster for a touchdown. San Diego would tie up the ball-game at 10 on the extra-point by Novak.
Denver’s next possession would result in a punt, as Manning was sacked on a 3rd-and-2 by Marcus Gilchrist. Chris Harris Jr. would nearly pick off Phillip Rivers in the end-zone as he couldn’t get high enough. San Diego would make Denver pay as Rivers found Keenan Allen yet again as he continued to pick on the rookie Kayvon Webster. Chargers would take the lead 17-10. Denver wouldn’t be able to get the offense going yet again as they would have three-straight 3-and-outs.
The Chargers were out playing Denver in every way possible. Their next drive would be an important one in the game, trying to take a two-score lead over the favored Broncos. Phillip Rivers would continue to convert on third-downs as he found Vincent Brown on the perfect throw. San Diego would run a stretch play for Ryan Mathews and he would take it to the house on a 23-yard run, putting San Diego up 24-10. Denver’s struggles continued as they couldn’t move the ball getting their fourth straight 3-and-out.
Denver would stop San Diego on a 3rd-and-4 but would be called for a neutral zone infraction on the punt as Nate Irving jumped across the line. San Diego would continue to run out the clock leaving Peyton Manning to watch from the sideline. Robert Ayers would tackle Woodhead for a loss, but San Diego head coach Mike McCoy would challenge the play believing Denver had too many men on the field, and he was right. A big 3rd-and-7 sack by former Charger Sean Phillips gave the Broncos the ball right back.
Denver would go for it after reaching fourth down, needing six yards for the first. Manning would connect with Caldwell for the touchdown which would be his second of the game. Denver cut the San Diego lead to seven, 24-17. San Diego however, would get another field goal out of Nick Novak, taking the 27-17 lead. Denver would march down the field as San Diego softened up their defense leading to a Matt Prater field goal; giving Denver a chance on the onside kick, trailing by seven. Prater’s attempt wouldn’t go past ten yards as San Diego would recover, pulling out the win, 27-20.