Normally in the NFL the storyline is that a good defense will beat a good offense. Such was not the case on Sunday night at Invesco Field as the Chargers handed the Broncos their first home loss of the season with a huge offensive performance 35-27. Of course when push comes to shove, there is one player that the Chargers can always seem to count on to make a play, and LaDainian Tomlinson made quite a few of them on Sunday night.
He scored three rushing touchdowns, caught one, and totaled 179 yards between running and catching passes. His gutsy performance on offense was the reason that San Diego, who trailed at one point 24-7, never quit, and likely his numbers alone will be enough to carry the Chargers to the playoffs as at least a wild card, but more possibly the AFC West Champs.
Denver’s defense, which had been so dominant early in the season, is showing signs of cracking, and all at the wrong times. Sunday night they blew that 17-point lead, and in total allowed the Chargers 342 yards, 125 on the ground. In the Broncos last four games in which they have gone 2-2, the defense has allowed 1522 yards, or an average of 380 per game. In that stretch, there have been two games in which they have allowed over 400 yards, and in one, one yard short of 500.
Sunday night was more about the Chargers and what they can do on offense than about the Broncos and their current shortcomings on defense. San Diego became the first team to win back to back games after erasing 17-point deficits. “Resilient bunch of guys,” Tomlinson said. “Our team, we’re never out of it, and I think this is a very special team because no matter what happens, no matter how much we’re down, we’re never out of the football game.”
The race in the AFC West is far from over, but Sunday nights win was for sure a statement game for the Chargers. They now have a one-game lead on the Broncos, with one game with them still to play, in San Diego. They are in the drivers seat for now, and with L.T. at the wheel, its hard to believe they won’t steer themselves into the playoffs as the West Champs.