Younghoe Koo got the action started kicking off for a touchback. Trevor Siemian and the Broncos leaned on a quick passing game early on to pick up a 1st down. The pass rush led by Joey Bosa consistently pressured him, though, and eventually forced an incompletion on 3rd down to stop the drive. Dixon came on to punt and Travis Benjamin called for a fair catch.
Philip Rivers and the offense took over at their own 11-yard line. Matt Slauson backed them up before the first snap with a false start. Melvin Gordon got it back (and then some) on his first carry for 21 yards, though. Gordon picked up another five. A blown assignment on 2nd down resulted in a quick throwaway. And on 3rd down Keenan Allen dropped a pass that would have moved the chains. In between, the Chargers were forced to burn a timeout because they could not handle the crowd noise. Drew Kaser then came on to punt.
Siemian looked for C.J. Anderson on 1st down and Casey Hayward jumped the route. He dropped what was a sure pick-six. This would come back to bite the Chargers. Siemian would lead a 13-play drive converting on three 3rd downs. The pass rush got after Siemian, but linebackers in coverage were roasted throughout. Finally, Joey Bosa jumped offside and Bennie Fowler got open in the end zone on the free play to score six points.
Allen showed off great hands on 3rd & 7 from their 28-yard line. He very nearly hauled in another tough catch on 2nd & 8, but the ball hit the ground (which we saw conclusively after a challenge). On the next play, Rivers looked to Allen again and Bradley Roby gave the Chargers a gift defensive pass interference for 40 yards. A nice 10-yard run by Gordon got the Chargers a fresh set of downs and inside the red zone.
On the first play of the 2nd quarter, Rivers threw from a weird angle to Melvin Gordon who was running a route out of the backfield. Gordon finished the play by leaping over a defender into the end zone. Koo added the extra point.
The defense returned to the field and forced a quick three-and-out. Anderson rushed for two yards before being tackled by Hayes Pullard and Jatavis Brown. Emmanuel Sanders was stopped for a short gain on a quick pass. Then Tre Boston broke up a pass to Demaryius Thomas on 3rd down. Dixon punted again and this time Benjamin caught it before immediately running backward three yards to give the offense the ball at their own 10.
Branden Oliver spelled Gordon rushing for 6 and 3 yards on his first two carries. Rivers escaped from pressure and found Gordon for a 1st down on 3rd & 1. Two short runs and an incomplete pass later, Kaser punted. The coverage team lost contain and Kaser had to make the tackle after a 31-yard return.
With a short field, the Broncos engineered a 9-play touchdown drive. Porous run defense and linebackers in coverage gave up chunk plays before Siemian scrambled from the 1-yard line and beat Bosa for six points.
Starting at their own 25-yard line, the Chargers worked their way do the Denver 39 and faced a 3rd & 5. Quick pressure forced an errant throw and Anthony Lynn opted to punt despite being in 4th & manageable inside the opposing 40-yard line.
Getting the ball back inside of 2 minutes, the Broncos chose to run the ball a few times to take the game to half time.
Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense got the ball first to start the second half following a Brandon McManus touchback. Two ineffective runs by Gordon set up 3rd & 6. Bradley Roby hooked Keenan Allen and picked off Rivers to give the Broncos a short field.
C.J. Anderson picked up a solid 4-yard gain on 1st down before Demaryius Thomas dropped an easy 1st down on the next play. On 3rd down, Casey Hayward got beaten by Thomas for a big play down the field. A few short plays later, Siemian found Bennie Fowler for his second touchdown.
Now down 14 points, Rivers was sacked for a 7-yard loss on the first play of the drive. On 2nd down, Gordon was stopped for a loss on a short pass. On 3rd & 18, the Broncos allowed a short pass to Tyrell Williams to go for 9 yards and forced a punt.
The Broncos picked up where they left off completing a 14-yard pass to Thomas. Jamaal Charles then rushed for gains of 7 and 12 yards. Derby then took a short pass for another 12 yards. The defense finally flashed a sign of life with Joey Bosa sacking Siemian for a 9-yard loss. They gave it all back and a fresh set of downs on the next play. Emmanuel Sanders caught a pass about 10 yards downfield then ran all the way across the field to pick up another 10. Thomas added another 12 yards on the next play. A pair of Charles runs and an Anderson reception set up 1st & goal from inside the 1-yard line. They tried to give Charles the touchdown, but Addae stopped him in the backfield after Damion Square got early penetration. On 2nd & goal, Anderson was stopped for a short gain. On 3rd & goal, Sanders got open against Verrett but could only get one foot down inbounds on a throw to the boundary. McManus kicked a 20-yard field goal to end the 3rd quarter and put Denver up by three scores.
Melvin Gordon picked up 9 yards on a short pass to start the 4th quarter. Tyrell Williams converted the 1st down on a crossing route. The Chargers were in no-huddle. Gordon danced around in the backfield before finally getting tackled for a loss. Austin Ekeler saw his first target of the night picking up 7 yards on 2nd & 12. Allen caught a pass short of the sticks on 3rd down. The Chargers did not appear to hesitate to go for it on 4th & 1 from midfield, but then they burned a timeout. After the timeout, the Chargers brought in an extra lineman and ran the most predictable, slow-developing run you have ever seen. Shockingly, Gordon was stopped in the backfield and the Chargers turned the ball over. Game over.
A pair of runs for no gain were followed by a short pass that was intercepted by Adrian Phillips after a great play by Desmond King.
Keenan Allen kicked off the drive with another drop. Gates then notched his first catch of the game picking up 11 yards over the middle. Tyrell Williams added another 12 on a catch and run. Gordon rushed for 4 yards up the middle out of the shotgun. On 2nd & 6, Austin Ekeler caught a short pass over the middle to set up 1st & goal. Keenan Allen then got open across the middle for a touchdown. Following the touchdown, Allen picked up a really stupid taunting penalty.
On 2nd & 6, Korey Toomer stripped Jamaal Charles and Casey Hayward recovered to give the ball back to the offense at the Denver 38.
On the first play following the turnover, Rivers hit a wide open Travis Benjamin for a 38-yard touchdown. Koo converted the extra point to pull the Chargers within 3 points.
The good feelings did not last long. Virgil Green beat Kyle Emanuel for a 44-yard gain deep down the field and Ingram tacked on an extra 15 yards with a dumb roughing the passer penalty. Back-to-back sacks by Melvin Ingram forced a long field goal attempt. McManus missed it and Philip Rivers came back on the field.
Tyrell Williams hauled in a 10-yard pass to start the drive. He then failed to haul in a longer pass. Rivers then overthrew Benjamin out of bounds. Benjamin then lost a yard on an ugly screen play. Kaser came on to punt from midfield. The punt was downed at the Denver 15.
Denver took over looking to run clock. Two Anderson runs did just that before the pass rush forced an incomplete pass that stopped the clock and forced a punt.
Chargers offense returned to the field at their own 38-yard line with 2:00 on the clock, one timeout, and a 3-point deficit. On their first three plays, the Chargers ate up nearly 80 seconds of clock and gained only 9 yards. They then burned their last timeout, then ran for the 1st down. Time continued to tick off the clock. Defensive pass interference moved the ball to the Denver 34. Allen picked up 8 more yards and got out of bounds with 8 seconds left. The Chargers ran another play on 3rd & 2 for some reason. Then, on 4th down, Koo converted but the Broncos had called a timeout. He lined up to try again. It was blocked.