The Chargers defense came out early like it wouldn’t even bother to impede the Broncos offense. Barely over three minutes into the game and Denver was in the end zone with a Peyton Manning touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell because Pey-Pey doesn’t want to give points to any receiver you might be starting in fantasy.
While Mike Mayock was losing himself in rhapsody of Wesley Woodyard’s gutty overachieving, the Broncos defense was letting the Chargers offense move down the field, though the drive stalled in field goal range. Philip Rivers lost it at the refs when he thought one was held on a play where he was sacked. On third down, Rivers floated it to an uncovered back pylon in the end zone. Sadly, the pylon couldn’t make the catch, so the Chargers had to settle for three points and Rivers spazzed out on his receivers.
San Diego managed to keep Denver out of the end zone on the following drive, mostly because the Broncos faced a 3rd and 16 in the red zone. They still nearly converted it, but a field goal kept San Diego within a score.
A 13-play drive later, the game was tied with a 19-yard touchdown catch and run and hurdle by Keenan Allen on third down.
Throughout the half, Mayock and Brad Nessler have been beating the “YOU CAN’T BEAT PEYTON MANNING WITH FIELD GOALS!” talking point, as though there are a lot of games that are won without getting in the end zone. Nevertheless, San Diego did it and the game was tied at 10.
Then a crazy thing happened: the Broncos got the ball and didn’t score at all. Somehow that didn’t elicit “YOU CAN’T BEAT PHILIP RIVERS WITH PUNTS!” reactions from the booth. From a while, neither team could move the ball after constant scoring early. Peyton Manning was sacked on a third down near the Denver goal line, the first sack in 126 dropbacks. Peyton slammed the ball on the ground because his line dared not to be perfect all the time. That set the Chargers up near midfield with four minutes left. A second Keenan Allen touchdown catch of the night – and his fourth touchdown reception in his last five catches – put San Diego ahead with a minute to go. Denver made a half-hearted attempt to score before half and it fizzled quickly, so the Chargers go into half with a touchdown lead.