The Broncos started on offense, with a 35 yard completion to Jordan Taylor on 3rd and 7 setting up a 28 yard FG for Brandon McManus.
The Chargers responded in style, with a huge pass play to Derek Watt (I know) setting up a short TD pass to Antonio Gates.
Denzel Perryman had a big hit and Joey Bosa applied some good pressure, but nothing else of note really took place early in Denver, with the Broncos punting three times and the Chargers twice.
The Chargers carried on as they left off, punting the ball away after Tyrell Williams was stopped short of the marker on a 3rd and 7. Kaser's punt went into the endzone and the Broncos started on the 20. The Broncos then had 3 plays, went backwards 4 yards, and punted from their own 16. Sort of a theme to this game.
The Chargers had a scare when, on 3rd and 8, Philip Rivers arm was knocked by DeMarcus Ware as he released the ball. It was ruled a fumble on the field (and Rivers was actually the one who saved the TD by pushing the ballcarrier out of bounds), but after review, the ruling was changed to an incomplete pass (correctly, I may add). That became even more important one play later, as Justin Simmonds dove into the legs of Drew Kaser, giving the Chargers an automatic first down.
After that, Joe Barksdale somehow managed to line up off the line of scrimmage for the second time in the game to negate a Tyrell Williams first down, before Barksdale false started the very next play to back the Chargers up again. On 2nd and 20, Tyrell Williams bobbled a high pass, and Bradley Roby returned the interception 52 yards to the house, putting the Broncos up 10-7.
Unfortunately, on the return, Melvin Gordon got pushed into Broncos DC Wade Phillips, resulting in a nasty collision. After a lengthy stoppage, Phillips was stretchered and carted off.
Tyrell Williams went down on the first offensive play after a lengthy stoppage, but would later return. After Rivers couldn't hook up with Travis Benjamin on a deep ball, the Chargers had to punt - again. Kaser got great hangtime on the punt, and the Broncos fumbled the return, although they recovered the ball without too much fuss.
After a blatant hold on Joey Bosa was ignored on third down, Emmanuel Sanders hauled one in deep behind Casey Heyward, partly because Dwight Lowery pulled out of making contact when he could have knocked the ball loose.
Heyward then dropped an easy interception - which he could have returned a long, long way. Not that it mattered - Melvin Ingram absolutely blew past Russell Okung on the next play, stripping Trevor Siemian with Tenny Palepoi falling on the ball.
Melvin Gordon got the Chargers going again with a good run for 12, and a nice catch by Travis Benjamin on third down took the Chargers to the two-minute warning with the football. Interestingly, Chris Hairston replaced Joe Barksdale at this point, and a nice combo block involving Hairston gave Rivers the time to hook up with Antonio Gates for a first down. After the drive stalled, Josh Lambo pulled a 46 yard FG attempt wide left, and the Broncos held onto their 10-7 lead.
It was Korey Toomer's turn to drop an interception, unable to hold onto a throw from Trevor Siemian that went right to him. After Jordan Norwood dropped a pass on third down, the Broncos inexplicably went for it on 4th and 7. They didn't convert it, giving the Chargers 14 seconds to try and put points on the board, starting at their own 47 yard line. Rivers got sacked.
Four would-be picks Chargers defense has had bounce off hands today. They were making those early in season.— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) October 30, 2016
The Chargers got off to a fantastic start. Philip Rivers tried to force one into Travis Benjamin, the ball popped up into the air, and Darian Stewart intercepted it, returning the ball inside the 10. DeVontae Booker punched it in for 7, giving the Broncos a 17-7 lead.
On the next drive, Rivers throws to the outside when Griff Whalen cuts inside, and TJ Ward intercepts the ball inside the 10. Sound familiar? Luckily, the Chargers have Korey Toomer, now. DeVontae Booker reached for the endzone, and Korey Toomer came up with a fantastic play to punch loose the ball, with Jatavis Brown recovering.
The Chargers backed up to 3rd and 12, but a huge catch by Dontrelle Inman gave the Chargers a much needed first down. Unfortunately, King Dunlap was hurt on the play, and that meant the Chargers had to roll out Chris Hairston and Joe Barksdale at Tackle. That didn't affect Rivers, who stood strong in the pocket to throw a beautiful 37 yarder to Dontrelle Inman, despite taking a big shot as he released the ball. Rivers took another huge shot on a big third down completion to Antonio Gates. Oh, and then Travis Benjamin made one of the best catches you'll ever see for a TD to cut the Broncos lead to 4, completing a 13 play, 98 yard drive. It would have been a 3 point lead, but the Broncos - rather predictably - blocked the Chargers PAT attempt.
An 18 yard run by DeVontae Booker set up the Broncos inside the Chargers 10, and Juwan Thompson punched it in from a yard out. Jatavis Brown hurt his knee on the play.
Melvin Gordon broke off a long run behind Hunter Henry for 20 yards, but that drive lead to nothing, except a punt from Drew Kaser that pinned the Broncos back at their own 2 yard line.
You know what are fun? Tipped passes. Jordan Norwood was guilty on this occasion, tipping the ball right into Casey Heyward's hands. Heyward took it to the house. The Chargers went for the 2PT conversion, but Antonio Gates was flagged for OPI (questionably). They tried again from 12 yards out, but it was no good. 5 point Denver lead.
The Chargers then forgot about Virgil Green, letting him gain 31 yards and getting inside Chargers territory. DeMaryius Thomas then made a ridiculous catch for 40 yards, but the Chargers defense was able to hold Denver to a FG. 8 point Denver lead with 5:19 left.
Another Joe Barksdale penalty pushed the Chargers backwards, but Dontrelle Inman (again) came up with a big catch for a first down. Inman then led the way for Gordon on a swing pass, sending the Chargers into Denver territory after a 30 yard gain. Gordon wasn't finished there, as he'd hit a hole hard, getting to the Denver 16.
The Chargers had first and goal at the 2, which clearly means you pass four times. They missed on all of them, and turned the ball over on downs.
Luckily, the Chargers defense - once again - bailed them out. They stuffed two runs and then forced an incomplete pass, giving the Chargers the ball back with 2:08. Unfortunately, Riley Dixon hit a 68 yard punt, so their field position wasn't as favourable as it could have been, starting from their 33 yard line.
After two incomplete passes and a checkdown to Melvin Gordon for 1 yard, the Chargers had to convert a 4th and 9 to keep the game alive. Rivers missed Gordon under pressure, and the Broncos win 27-19.