It was a bright sunny day, Joey Bosa had returned and the Chargers defense was at full force. Sadly this glorious day was squandered by missed opportunities, poor clock management, and a ton of penalties. The Broncos kicked a FG as time expired to take the win 23-22, the game would have been a tie but Badgley had missed a PAT earlier.
The Chargers move to 7-3 and play the 2-8 Arizona Cardinals next week, who are coming off of a loss to the Raiders. Don’t let their record fool you, after firing the worst OC in football (Mike McCoy), their offense has been on a different level.
On Sunday the offensive line was going to have a difficult task of protecting Phillip Rivers from Von Miller and newly acquired Bradley Chubb. Unfortunately they failed their task and Rivers was sacked 3 times and was hit 6 more times. The running game was flat in the first half, but Anthony Lynn made the right changes and it worked in the second half. Phillip had a rough outing, throwing 2 interceptions, and a poor last offensive play that allowed the Broncos to have 30+ more seconds of time by throwing an incompletion.
The highlight of the day was Antonio Gates, who had one of his best games in recent memory with a 5 catch game, 80 yards, and a Touchdown. He made several clutch catches on 3rd and long, it was nice to see him make plays again. The penalties are probably what ultimately cost the Chargers that game, they had 14 penalties that were worth 120 yards. That many penalties is simply unacceptable, and Anthony Lynn is going to be on them this week about that.
The defense played well, but they had a huge blow when Corey Liuget went down with a serious knee injury. He is going to miss the rest of the year, which is going to hurt the Chargers run defense even more after losing Denzel Perryman last week. The poor run defense showed for most of the game after Liuget went out, and Phillip Lindsey did a number on the Charger defense. He averaged 7.2 YPC and had a long 30-yard rushing TD, him and Royce Freeman combined for 2 rushing TDs. The defense was fairly stout until the last drive of the game. They had only given up two 20+ yard plays the entire game, and then they gave up two 30+ yard plays on the final drive. Another problem with the game was the disappearance of game changing plays on defense, they didn’t have a sack or turnover the entire game, which is rare for the Chargers D.
It was a crushing blow, and hopefully the Chargers will learn from their mistakes. The Chargers have flown too close to the sun the last couple weeks, so this was a good wake up call before December hits. I am concerned for next week, because David Johnson has been released and the Chargers run defense might be the doom of their own Super Bowl aspirations.