For a little it was close to being a tight game.
For a little it was close to being a blow out.
For a lot, it was a game that didn’t hold the expecations the Denver Broncos should demand from themselves.
Despite score 35 points and handing AFC West foe San Diego Chargers a 35-21 loss, the Broncos didn’t live up to their or any other expecations on Thursday night at Mile High Stadium. The home team seemed in control all night, but could never really put the game out of reach.
Both teams traded a pair of punts in the first quarter. Denver scored on an Emmanuel Sanders touchdown to begin the second quarter. But then couldn’t score again until right before the end of the second half (Sanders again). So, even though Denver held the Chargers to just 13 yards rushing with 3 sacks in the opening half, Denver just couldn’t pull away.
Denver did pull away with 28-7, then 35-14 leads but the Phillip Rivers to Antonio Gates combination kept the Chargers with a glimmer of hope throughout the final half. (How does defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio not know that’s coming?)
It just wasn’t as easy as it should’ve been.
Thank being said, Sanders had his best game as a Broncos and possibly as a pro. His first three touchdown game as a pro. All on nine catches for 120 yards.
The defense (on 3 days rest mind you) should get plenty of credit. And deservably so.
The Broncos ended up only giving up 60 yards rushing on the night. And even though it seemed like they were going to blitz the rest of the night, Denver sat back and made sure San Diego wasn’t going to get away with an easy score. Rivers did toss for nearly 250 yards but it took him 41 attempts. He did throw two interceptions and was sacked twice, once by NFL leader Von Miller. Miller was hovering around Rivers with every drop. No doubt everyone on at San Diego front five they knew exactly where No. 58 was on every snap.
Now the Broncos have 10 days to rest and get ready for a brutal 4 game road trip.
Follow Sean Thompson on Twitter – @SeanMThompson