The San Diego Chargers built a 13 point half time lead and had to hold on to defeat the Denver Broncos 29-24 to improve their record to 4-1. San Diego went into the second half leading 23-10, but seemed to lack a sense of urgency and almost allowed the Broncos to come back and win the game. San Diego who now has week off before playing the New York Jets in New York did not look very good and this type of performance will not be good enough to beat the Jets.
San Diego marched down the field on their first possession with Ryan Mathews running the ball, but once again the drive stalled in the red zone. Nick Novak came on and kicked a 24 yard field goal to give San Diego a 3-0 lead. The next time San Diego had the ball disaster struck. Philip Rivers pass went through the hands of wide receiver Patrick Crayton’s hands and right into the waiting arms of Denver cornerback Cassius Vaughn and he returned it 55 yards for a touchdown to give the Broncos a 7-3 lead. That was Rivers seventh interception of the year. San Diego is having no problems moving the ball in the first quarter, but when they get in scoring position things fall apart. San Diego went on a 10 play, 66 yard drive before settling for another Nick Novak field goal to close out the first quarter and Denver led 7-6.
Denver was the first team to score in the second quarter as they went on an 11 play, 63 yard drive before settling for a 35 yard field goal to increase their lead to 10-6, but that would be the last time Denver would score in the second quarter. San Diego finally scored a touchdown in the red zone, Philip Rivers ran it in from the two yard line and San Diego led 13-10. San Diego once again was able to move the ball on the Denver defense on their next possession, but once again settled for a field goal and led the game 16-10. San Diego closed out the scoring in the first half on a 42 yard touchdown pass to Malcom Floyd and they led at half time 23-10. San Diego took control of the game and it looked like it would be an easy win, but I guess that is why you have to play with urgency for all four quarters.
The Tim Tebow era started at the beginning of the third quarter as he replaced an ineffective Kyle Orton. There was no scoring in the third quarter as the teams could not put together any sustained drives.
San Diego increased their lead in the fourth quarter to 26-10 on a Nick Novak 51 yard field goal, which was Novak’s career longest field goal. Tim Tebow started to move the ball on the San Diego defense in the fourth quarter mostly using his legs. Tebow ran for a 12 yard touchdown and they were successful on a two-point conversion and just like that the Chargers lead shrunk to just eight points, 26-18. Philip Rivers fumbled the ball on the Chargers next drive and it was recovered by Denver and the Chargers once comfortable lead was in jeopardy. Denver wasted no time scoring another touchdown as Knowshon Moreno took a screen pass and turned it into a 28 yard touchdown, this time they failed on the two-point conversion and Denver trailed 26-24. San Diego was able to get another Nick Novak field and knock down a pass by Tim Tebow in the end zone on the final play of the game to preserve the victory. The easy part of the Chargers schedule is over now and San Diego has a record of 4-1, if they continue to have lackluster performances they won’t have a winning record for long.
Game notes: Ryan Mathews had a career high 125 yards rushing. … Antonio Gates missed another game.
About the Author
Written by Kevin Kelly