Forget “Black Friday.” The Broncos introduced “Grey Monday” to the Holiday week. The San Diego Chargers kept it classy and beat their AFC West rivals 35 to 14.
All was sunny until just after the first drive of the game when the Broncos opened by covering 69 yards in six plays and allowing Knowshon Moreno to get into the endzone. Then, the clouds rolled in with a fury and in time, many television sets were turned to Dancing with the Stars.
Big play after big play was given up at the most inopportune times. For instance, when the game was still within reach at 21-7 and the Broncos had the Chargers in prime position to punt if they could just get a stop on third-and-9, Darren Sproles bolted into the endzone on a 57-yard pass play. That sort of stuff was the story of the night – a story capable of inducing nightmares. Patrick Crayton had a 49-yard reception and Mike Tolbert had a 28-yard catch. If you thought The Lion King was a big play, check out the Chargers on a Monday Night.
Tolbert ran all over the Broncos with 111 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries. Crayton added 105 yards and one touchdown with just three recpetions.
Perhaps the Broncos were too charged up at the beginning of the game. They didn’t have any juice left by the middle of the second quarter. After the Broncos’ first points of the game, the Chargers answered with 35 points of their own before the Broncos could score again with 8:48 left in the game.
It appeared that the Broncos were going to be able to tame this high-octane Charger offense since it was 14-7 until there was 2:05 left in the second quarter. Then, like a bull in a china shop, the Chargers broke loose and shattered the Broncos’ defense into a million little pieces. It didn’t matter that Antonio Gates didn’t play. Once the Chargers got out of the Gates, there was no looking back.
Give credit where credit is due. Norv Turner called a great game. Momentum turned favorable for the Chargers when they faked a punt and capitalzed on the gutsy call to tie the game 7-7 in the first quarter. San Diego’s special teams unit was the joke of the league. They had given up three touchdowns on kick returns and had four punts blocked and one deflected. Turner figured why punt when the numbers looked like that? Epic win for Turner.
The Chargers’ defensive coordinator Ron Rivera may just be the MVP of the game. He figured out how to stop Kyle Orton’s passing game – be physical with the receivers all while applying pressure to Orton. That will give Broncos’ punter Britton Colquitt more face time than Santa Claus at the mall.
There were some solid individual performances on this Broncos’ team, but those efforts weren’t able to be combined to create any waves in the game. Champ Bailey recorded his second interception of the season to go along with thress tackles. Brandon Lloyd passed 1,000 receiving yards on the season with his 6-catch, 78-yard, 1 TD performance. Joe Mays led the team in tackles with eight.
Kyle Orton certainly didn’t have his best performance of the season going 24-for38. Knowshon Moreno put together 58 yards on 13 carries to go along with 7 catches for 62 yards.
With the Broncos’ season all but over, doom and gloom has set in during Josh McDaniels’ second season with the team. The elusive back-to-back win hasn’t been seen or felt since the 6-0 start to last season. In the last twenty games that we’ve watched our team play, we’ve endured fifteen losses.
It’s official. The Broncos have been knocked off their high horse and there’s no telling when they’ll get back on.
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