Game Recap: Chargers Fall To Broncos In Heartbreaking Fashion

Wow. The Chargers seem to have a flair for the dramatic and that was again the case on Monday night. In front of a raucous Denver crowd, the Chargers looked lost the first 3 quarters before mounting a last second come back off of two 4th quarter turnovers by the Broncos. Ultimately they fell just short, as K Younghoe Koo's potential game tying kick was blocked with 1 second left on the clock.

There's plenty of blame to go around, as the Chargers looked unprepared in nearly every aspect of the game for the first 3 quarters. Credit must be given to the defensive line, particularly Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram who provided pressure all night long. The first 3 quarters of the game were excellently foreshadowed by the Chargers drawing a false start penalty before their first snap of the game. Those mental errors would continue to plague them throughout the game. Those mental lapses due to the crowd noise were one of my keys to the game, one which the Chargers obviously did not accomplish, as they repeatedly struggled getting the play called and getting everyone in the right spots. Even the vets were rattled at times, with Antonio Gates even having a miscommunication on the crucial 3rd and 10 play on the second to last drive where he thought the screen pass for Travis Benjamin was intended for him.

The other key to the game I identified which the Chargers failed to deliver on was getting the tight ends involved. I was quite frankly a bit stunned that OC Ken Whisenhunt's gameplan didn't try to get the tight ends involved more early in the game. It's a weakness for the Broncos D and definitely a missed opportunity. As expected, the initial gameplan was to punch the Denver defense in the mouth with between the tackles runs, which had mixed results. That type of gameplan is better if you can utilize it consistently throughout the game and gradually wear the defense down, but because Denver jumped out to the early lead it was impossible to do that.

The defense clearly has great playmaking ability as they demonstrated many times, but needs to be better getting off the field on 3rd down. Allowing Trevor Siemian to beat you consistently on 3rd down just isn't going to cut it moving forward. At times they looked great against the run, blowing up plays in the backfield, and at other times allowed themselves to get blasted off the line and gave up chunk plays to C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles.

Overall I wasn't nearly as impressed with the Broncos and Siemian as many online seemed to be. Up until the 4th quarter they were the beneficiaries of more than a few lucky breaks, whether it was Casey Hayward's dropped surefire pick 6 or the non-call on a clear defensive hold on Philip Rivers' interception. Siemian had a number of miss throws and his final numbers of 219 yards on 28 attempts were due to a number of long catch and runs due to cutbacks and missed tackles. I think it's quite clear the Chargers have the talent to compete with any team in the league, and that on a neutral field they'd be favored over the Broncos.


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