Leading up to this game, the analysts are at odds on the winner of this game. They all agree that the Chargers need to win this game to make a claim on being the king of the AFC. They also agree that the Broncos need to win to show that Peyton Manning makes them a competitor. These teams are both bitter rivals and it was a heck of a game to watch.
Both teams started their first drives with nothing. On the Chargers second drive, Rivers was driving the team but the Denver defense came up big and the Chargers settled for a field goal. The score was 3-0. The Chargers kicked off the ball and Denver fumbled for the Chargers to recover the ball. Phillip Rivers got a pass to tight end Antonio Gates and the Chargers got their first touchdown. The score was 10-0.
The Broncos had the ball at 8:41 in the second quarter off of an interception throw by Rivers when Manning connected with wide receiver Eric Decker for 55 yards. Cornerback Quentin Jammer was schooled by Decker and it was a costly mistake. Until, Jammer stepped up in the red zone and took an interception all the way for a touchdown. The score was 17-0 and the Broncos were just looking bad.
Chargers got the ball with 4:20 left in the second quarter and Rivers ticked down the clock to 0:24 as he connected with Antonio Gates for the offense’s second touchdown of the night. At the end of the half, the Chargers are stopping Manning and containing the Broncos defense. If the Broncos even want to have a chance to come back then they will need to make some serious adjustments on both sides of the ball.
The Broncos received the ball to start the second half. They started at the 15 yard line and drove all the way down the field of Manning to connect with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The score was 24-7.
The next drive by the Chargers was building as if Rivers was ready to answer Manning for the touchdown. On a controversial call, Rivers is moving his arm forward for the pass but defensive end Elvis Dumervil comes in and bats the ball out before it can move. Cornerback Tony Carter came in and scooped up the fumble to take it to the endzone for a touchdown. Suddenly, the score is 24-14 and the Broncos have taken control.
The Chargers got the ball knowing it was important to score. Sadly, they went three and out then the Broncos started their next drive. The Broncos ran down the last remaining 2 minutes of the 3rd quarter and we moved into the 4th quarter. With 13:33 in the 4th quarter, Manning connected with Eric Decker for a touchdown. Now the score was 24-21 and the Broncos have come back with a force.
The Chargers knew they had to score on their next drive to extend their lead. They could not find the plays to move the ball and Rivers took a shot deep. Eddie Royal was open but Rivers underthrew the ball and Tony Carter came in with an interception. With 11:11 left in the game, the Broncos have full control of the game and are ready to take the lead.
Peyton Manning’s coming on the field with the full mindset to put the dagger in San Diego’s heart. Manning is changing every play as he gets to the line and the crowd is not loud enough to shake the offense up. Manning pulled off the comeback and connected with Brandon Stokley for a touchdown. The Broncos came out of the locker room in the second half and the whole team came out guns blazing to take the lead. 28-24 with 9:03 remaining and the Broncos have the lead.
Phillip Rivers is coming on the field and knows the stakes. He understands what the offense needs to do here. The offense cannot get it done as they drive and cornerback Chris Harris comes up with an interception. Rivers threw an awful pass expecting Eddie Royal to meet with the ball. Royal had a terrible cut and Harris got in front of him for the payoff. There is 6:06 remaining in the game.
Manning is coming on the field to close this game out. He nearly pulled it off but because of a couple penalties, the Chargers got the ball back with 4:00 remaining. The Chargers were moving and doing everything they could to get back in the game. But Rivers choked and threw an interception which Chris Harris returned for a touchdown. With 2:05 left, the game is over. The final score is 35-24.
I am flabbergasted and befuddled by the way the Chargers played in that game. Their defense let Manning tear them apart and Rivers didn’t give his team a shot with 3 interceptions in the game. Peyton Manning will one day be a hall of famer. Not because he’s been an MVP, not because of Super Bowl wins, but because he is a damn good football player. His presence on the field alone changes the landscape of the game and that is why he is the player of the game. He was nearly perfect in 2nd half and that’s a textbook example of how to lead a comeback.