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Who Will Win?
Not wanting to give Peyton Manning a head start, the Chargers elect to receive after winning the coin toss.
It didn't take long before Peyton Manning was able to take the field. On the second play of the game, Ryan Mathews was hit by Shaun Phillips, who forced the ball loose and Wesley Woodyard recovered it. This set Peyton and the Broncos offense up at the Chargers 27.
Luckily for San Diego, the Broncos settled for a Matt Prater 43 yard field goal. After a Knowshon Moreno run that went backwards 4 yards, and an incomplete pass by Manning, it forced the Broncos into a 3rd and long. Manning threw a quick pass to Demaryius Thomas that set up the Prater field goal.
Just as the Chargers offense appeared to be gaining momentum, as they picked up 3 first downs on the drive, Philip Rivers sailed a pass to Danny Woodhead that was picked off by Woodyard at the Broncos 30.
You never want to turn the ball over against Peyton Manning because he's more than likely to capitalize on your mistakes. That's exactly what he did this time.
With the help of Knowshon Moreno, the Broncos went 70 yards in 9 plays, which was capped off by a 7 yard touchdown pass to tight end Julius Thomas. Moreno had a big 12 yard run and a 14 yard reception that helped get the Broncos down the field.
The Broncos defense continued to be aggressive and shut down the run game of the Chargers, as they forced a 3 and out. Thanks to a 22 yard punt return by Trindon Holliday, Peyton had another short field to work with as he took over from the Chargers 49.
End of 1st: Broncos 10 Chargers 0
Once again, the Chargers defense had no answer for the Broncos offense. It took 5 plays to go 49 yards, as Montee Ball took the hand off from the 5 yard line, bounced to the outside and ran it into the end zone, giving the Broncos a commanding 17 point lead. A 29 reception by Julius Thomas set up the score.
The Chargers offensive line was finally to create some running room for Ryan Mathews, and he took full advantage of it. On the first two plays of the drive, Mathews had runs of 18 and 32 yards, and added 19 more yards on the ground later in the drive. Danny Woodhead finished the drive off with a 1 yard touchdown, getting the Chargers on the board.
For the first time all game, the Broncos were forced to punt. On third down, Peyton had a wide open Wes Welker down the middle of the field, but must have over thrown him by 5 yards. A big missed opportunity.
Rivers was able to march the Chargers offense right down the field as he picked apart the Broncos defense. Rivers went 5/5 on the drive, including a 42 yard completion to rookie Keenan Allen, and finished the drive off with a 10 yard strike to Vincent Brown in the back corner of the end zone. This cut the Broncos lead to just 3.
It seems like Peyton works best when he's racing the clock and working out of the no huddle offense.
With just 1:26 left in the half and 2 time outs, Peyton took over at his own 25 and got to work.
Although they didn't find the end zone, Peyton got the offense down the field in a hurry, connecting with 5 different receivers and was able to set up Matt Prater with a 30 yard field goal, to give the Broncos a 6 point lead at halftime
At the Half: Broncos 20 Chargers 14
San Diego was able to force a quick punt on the opening possession of overtime. Peyton was able to connect with Eric Decker for 13 yards on the first play but then on 3rd and 1, the Broncos went with a toss play to Montee Ball and the Chargers defense was all over it, making a stop in the backfield, forcing a punt.
Unlike the Chargers, the Broncos defense was unable to make stops and get off the field, and in result, looked absolutely gassed. The Chargers were able to convert 4 third downs, on their 13 play 71 yard drive that ended on an Antonio Gates touchdown from 20 yards out. Rivers threw a jump ball to Gates who went up and got it, over the leaping Quentin Jammer. This gave the Chargers their first lead of the night at 21-20.
Denver answered right back with a beautiful drive of their own. The Broncos put together an 11 play 80 yard drive that ended with a Eric Decker 6 yard touchdown over the middle. Once again, Peyton spread the ball around, hitting 5 different receivers on the drive. After scoring the touchdown, John Fox elected to go for two, making it a 7 point game, and Peyton connected with Demaryius Thomas on a slant route. This game the Broncos a 28-21 lead.
End of 3: Broncos 28 Chargers 21
Rivers started the 4th quarter with back to back completions to Antonio Gates for gains of 13 and 34 yards, but this drive stalled out after Wesley Woodyard made a huge sack on Rivers. On third down, Woodyard made his way into the backfield, untouched, and brought down Rivers for a 7 yard loss. This set up a 45 yard field goal attempt for Nick Novak. Novak had the distance, but the ball kept curving left and it hit off the left upright.
Trying to put this game out of reach, Peyton connected with Demaryius Thomas for 32 yards and Eric Decker for 14 yards, which helped set up a 3 yard touchdown run by Ball, his second of the game. This put the Broncos up by 14, 35-21.
The Chargers would not go quietly, as they put together a 9 play touchdown drive, 8 of which were passes. Rivers was able to connect with Gates, as the Broncos defense was fooled by a play action and ended up leaving Gates by himself for an easy 6 yard touchdown. Danny Woodhead had a 22 yard pickup on third and 5, that was able to keep the drive alive.
Now with just 1:56 and all 3 timeouts, the Chargers defense had to stop Peyton and the Broncos offense if they wanted another shot at trying this game up.
Knowing that the Chargers were expecting the run, on the first play Peyton decided to go with a play action pass and hit Julius Thomas down the field for a big 37 yard pickup.
After picking up one more first down on a Moreno run, the Broncos forced the Chargers to burn all 3 of their timeouts, and were able to add a Matt Prater field goal with just 17 seconds left in the game, giving Denver a 10 point lead and the victory.
End of 4: Broncos 38 Chargers 28
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