Brian Dawkins showed his immense value to the Denver Broncos defense from the sideline on Monday night.


Dawkins left the game with a pulled left hamstring on San Diego’s second drive. He was replaced by rookie Darcel McBath. Dawkins returned in the second half.


The Chargers held the ball for 11:32 of the first quarter and gained 169 yards in the opening quarter with Dawkins on the bench for much of it. Denver, which hadn’t given up more than 17 points in a game all season, gave up 20 in the first half to San Diego.


The Broncos suffered a couple other injuries on defense in the first half. Linebacker Mario Haggan suffered a knee injury and cornerback Jack Williams went out with a shoulder injury in the second quarter.


Pregame scrap


The Broncos and Chargers were ready to rumble, well before the opening kickoff. Many members of each team were involved in a war of words on the field before the game. No punches were thrown.


Buckhalter plays, backs up


Correll Buckhalter returned to the lineup after missing a game with an ankle injury, but did not resume his starting duties. Rookie Knowshon Moreno started, but the two tailbacks split carries almost evenly in the first half. Moreno had 28 yards on six carries, while Buckhalter was held to 5 yards on four carries. Buckhalter added 24 yards on three first-half catches.