Denver Broncos Steal a Victory from the Chargers in Los Angelesby Aaron Hubert October 7, 2019 0 comments
The Denver Broncos did it, they finally did it. It took more than one month of the NFL season to figure out how to win; but they got their coveted first win of the season, beating the Los Angels Chargers 20-13.
By no means was it a pretty game, and it required some huge plays to pull out, but it proved this team could win sloppy games and perfection wasn’t a requirement for Denver to come out on top.
The defense forced its first three takeaways of the season with an interception by Justin Simmons on an overthrow, a fumble recovery off an Austin Ekeler fumble, and a goal-line interception by A.J. Johnson
The defense couldn’t get home on a sack this game, recording only one QB Hit the entire game. With Bradley Chubb tearing his ACL last week, Malik Reed started at his Right Outside Linebacker spot.
Kareem Jackson was a monster this game, consistently showing up on tape making the big plays in the run game, leading the team in total tackles.
Devante Bausby was carried off on a stretcher in a freak accident collision with AJ Johnson in what appeared to be a serious neck injury after the two collided helmet to helmet and Bausby’s head and neck compressed.
The Broncos tipped a field goal attempt, recorded a 4th and goal stop, and got an interception in the endzone, preventing 17 points to win by seven. It was nice, as a fan, to see the death by inches hurt the team we played against more than the Broncos.
After scoring 17 first-half points, the Broncos tried their best to lose the game in the second half by only scoring three points. Flacco only threw for 182 yards and 70 of those came on a huge 70-yard catch and run by Courtland Sutton.
Flacco was sacked three times for 23 yards lost and took six hits. The Broncos were penalized an unreasonable 12 times for 122 yards. After Bausby went down, the Isaac Yaidom show started and he either was penalized or the ball was completed over his head.
The Denver Broncos had never started 0-5 in franchise history, and this team was determined to not be the first. They played with grit, heart and a scrappy nature to pull off a gutsy win against a division opponent, on the road in Los Angels.
Courtland Sutton ended with four catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Phillip Lindsay carried the ball 16 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. And Royce Freeman carried the ball 13 times for 61 yards.
Emmanuel Sanders was held to one reception for nine yards on one target which is the second time this season he’s been neutralized on offense. Noah Fant, who scored his first NFL touchdown last week, was also limited to one catch for six yards, on one target.
It was apparent the game plan was to get the running game started, take some shots when they were open in the passing game, and let the defense shut down the Chargers.
The Broncos gave up a huge 68-yard punt return for a touchdown, meaning the Chargers offense was held to six points and was kept out of the endzone on a week when Melvin Gordon ended his holdout and rejoined the starting lineup.
The Broncos held Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense to 4-of-13 on third-down conversions but gifted them five first downs on penalties. They also stopped the Chargers’ only attempt on fourth down on the goal line.
The Broncos played good enough to win on both sides of the ball, by collecting takeaways on defense and scoring touchdowns early on offense, but you hope they start learning how to take kill shots to finish an opponent when they are up 14-0 with the ball on the other side of the field.
The offensive trend of being silenced in the second half is frustrating. The defense is still clawing at a game with a sack and a take away in the same game. Special teams seemingly have a gaff in every game with a missed FG and allowing a Punt return touchdown this Sunday. Penalties were a big negative, that needs to be cleaned up, and the players need to show more discipline.
The leaps forward toward being a competent team and proving they can beat good teams, however, were more important. Trusting Vic Fangio and his staff, their system, their schemes, and their leadership is hard if losing is the only result, so earning this win was incredibly important for the team.
The 1992 Chargers went 11-1 in their last 12 games after starting 0-4 to make the playoffs. Could the Broncos fight back into the picture? The 2018 Colts were 1-5 at one point and made the playoffs. The Broncos play the Tennessee Titans next week 10/13 in an afternoon game coming off a loss to the Buffalo Bill’s. Could the Broncos string together a couple of wins?