The Broncos could not have started last night’s game any worse. After a three and out, the Broncos offense did not get the ball back until they were down 10-0.
The score only got worse when midway through the second quarter, Peyton Manning threw an interception to Quentin Jammer, who returned the ball 80 yards for a touchdown. This interception was the result of a miscommunication between Manning and receiver Matt Willis. Willis ran a fly route when he should have turned hot and ran a curl, so Manning could release the ball before the blitz reached him. The most disappointing part of this drive, was the fact that Eric Decker caught a pass behind the defense, but fell to the ground inexplicably on his way towards a touchdown. Then three plays later was aforementioned interception.
The Denver defense did not play as bad in the first half as the score would indicate. They were given terrible field position to defend and did create a turnover. However, the misfortune for the Broncos defense would turn around dramatically in the second half.
Down 24-nothing the Broncos had to take advantage of their opening drive in the second half, which they did. Manning quickly moved the ball down the field and finally found Demaryius Thomas open on his deep post pattern for a 29 yard touchdown.
The ensuing drive was where this game did a complete 180. San Diego was putting together an excellent drive that began on their own 15 yard line. The Chargers had moved the ball into Denver territory, but then hell broke lose. On third and eight, Rivers dropped back and was sacked by Elvis Dumervil, and fortunately for the Broncos he fumbled. While the ball was on the ground it was batted and recovered by Tony Carter who returned it for a touchdown. If the Chargers had just kicked a field goal there, it may have been enough to keep the Broncos from coming back, but you have to give a lot of credit to the defense for remaining resilient and preventing any more damage from being dealt by San Diego.
Everyone knows that 10 points is nowhere near enough to prevent Peyton Manning from coming back with 20 minutes left in a game. That is where Manning earns his paycheck, which he did yesterday. Manning was near flawless in the second half, completing 13-14 passes including three touchdowns. The man was possessed.
After the fumble the Chargers went three and out and punted back to the Broncos. Denver continued their onslaught and scored another touchdown on a pass to Eric Decker. At 24-21, everyone pretty much knew what was going to happen next.
The Chargers got the ball back and Philip Rivers began his interception parade. Throwing three interceptions on consecutive possessions, one of them getting returned for a touchdown by safety Chris Harris.
Even though the Broncos had to come back from a 24 point deficit, it was done so easily and was aided so heavily by Philip Rivers, that it actually seemed ordinary. Of course it was not ordinary, but the Broncos have had a lot of practice this year of trying to fight back from 20 plus points down and this time they were able to complete that come back.
The Broncos have a bye next week, giving them time to prepare for a Sunday Night Football game with the New Orleans Saints. That will be a Superbowl rematch between two excellent quarterbacks.