The Denver Broncos seem to be handicapped at the quarterback position – both figuratively and literally – as normal starter Kyle Orton has a bum ankle while reserve Chris Simms is, for a better choice of words, rusty, due to inactivity. As both teams met Sunday afternoon at Invesco Field at Mile High, the Chargers defense, for a change, didn’t have to rely on the arm of Philip Rivers to be successful. On the contrary, they had the luxury of having a potent running attack along with a dominant defense. Both things benefitted San Diego as they easily disposed of Denver 32-3.
The Chargers struck first as Rivers lobbed a 2-yard TD pass to Legedu Naanee with 5:58 left in the first period, giving San Diego a 7-0 lead; the second quarter was one of field position as the only scoring was courtesy of a pair of Nate Kaeding field goals (28 and 47 yards, respectively), increasing the Chargers’ advantage to 13-0, which would be the score ads both teams went to their respective locker rooms at halftime.
The Broncos finally got on the scoreboard as Matt Prater converted a 23-yard FG, narrowing the Chargers’ lead to 13-3; the game was secured by the Chargers as they scored 20 unanswered points – a 1-yard LaDanian Tomlinson TD run and a 8-yard run by Mike Tolbert sandwiched arouns a pair of Kaeding FG’s (28 and 19 yards in length, respectively). The Broncos’ quarterbacks had extreme diffculties throughout the contest as Orton’s ankle made it difficult for him to plant his feet properly to throw the ball and navigate the pocket effectively while Simms was just plain ineffective as the Chargers’ pass rush overwhelmed the Broncos’ offensive line.
Rivers posted below-par numbers, yet was effective as he went 17-of-22 for 145 yard and a TD while Orton went 15-of-29 for 171 yards and an interception; Simms came in for a series and went 2-of-4 for 10 yards. Tomlinson led the Chargers’ balanced running attack with 73 yards while Tolbert rushed for 58 yards with a score; Jesse Hester chipped in with 46 yards. Knowshon Moreno led the Broncos rushers with 80 yards while Correll Buckhalter added 35 yards while catching 3 passes for 46 yards.
Vincent Jackson led all Chargers receivers with 4 receptions for 56 yards while Antonio Gates caught 3 passes for 41 yards; Jabar Gaffney led the Broncos receivers with 3 receptions for 55 yards. San Diego (7-3) plays again next Sunday when they host the Kansas City Chiefs while Denver (6-4) remains at home on a short week to host the New York Giants on Thursday night.