REVIEW OF THREE THINGS TO WATCH
1. Get good quarterback play
By the time Kyle Orton came in the game, San Diego led 13-0. Over a stretch of 55:41 from halftime against Washington to when Orton came in Sunday, Chris Simms had 23 passing yards.
2. Pressure Rivers
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers was surprised at how little Denver blitzed, after having good success doing that in the first meeting. The Broncos registered no quarterback sacks or quarterback hits.
3. Don’t let Sproles win it
Broncos punter Mitch Berger had a good day. His three punts were returned a total of 6 yards by Chargers returner Darren Sproles, who returned a punt for a touchdown in the first meeting.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Chargers QB Philip Rivers: Broncos fans love to hate Rivers, but he was effective Sunday. Rivers completed 17-of-22 passes for 145 yards, and his 2-yard touchdown pass to Legedu Naanee gave San Diego an early 7-0 lead.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The Broncos started the game well, driving to San Diego’s 17-yard line on seven straight runs. On Chris Simms’ first pass attempt, Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips flew by right tackle Tyler Polumbus, stripped Simms and San Diego recovered. The Chargers scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
The Broncos trailed 13-0 late in the second quarter, but Kyle Orton gave the offense some life. Denver was on the verge of scoring when running back Knowshon Moreno had the ball knocked out of his hands just before the goal line by guard Russ Hochstein’s knee. San Diego recovered, and the Broncos never seriously threatened again.
In the first matchup between the teams, Tony Scheffler had 101 yards. Scheffler had six touchdowns in six career games against the Chargers. On Sunday, the Broncos decided to rely heavily on three-receiver sets instead of Scheffler. And the Chargers covered Scheffler well when he did play, limiting him to one catch for 12 yards.
KEY COACHING CALL
After scoring to cut San Diego’s lead to 13-3, the Broncos tried a surprise onside kick. And they had a pretty good shot at recovering, but Broncos safety Josh Barrett couldn’t haul in the ball. Chargers receiver Legedu Naanee pounced on it instead. San Diego scored a touchdown six plays later.
The Broncos were without safety Brian Dawkins for much of Sunday’s game. Dawkins left in the first half with a neck injury and was replaced by rookie Darcel McBath. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said he didn’t know how much time Dawkins might miss.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“He’s been coaching for a long time and he felt it was time to make a change and I support that.”
— Broncos quarterback Chris Simms on getting pulled in the second quarter