The fact is the Chargers went into Denver to face Peyton Manning and the #1 AFC seeded Broncos, and came out with a upset victory. No body gave the Chargers a chance. Many of the players said that their mindset going into the game was that they were going to win, including Eric Weddle. As a San Diego fan who has watched this team this year, and has watched former Charger teams take on Peyton Manning, new that there was a chance.
Even though he did not put up flashy numbers, Philip Rivers played an excellent game. He was efficient going 12/20 with 2 TDs and no INTs. The San Diego offense dominated time of possession having the ball for nearly 40 minutes. Back in week 10, San Diego had the ball for nearly 40 minutes as well, this time Philip and the offense scored touchdowns. They finished drives and played aggressive.
Both of Rivers’ touchdowns were to Keenan Allen. The pair of scores were Allen’s only two receptions on the night as he totaled 4 touchdowns in 2 games now. The first-year wide receiver continues to build on his chances to win Rookie of the Year with his 7 TDs, rookie-leading 63 receptions, and his nearly 1,000 yards. On his first score of the night night he took a shallow crossing route to the house in what seemed was all effort. He hurdled over a defender and then muscled his way into the endzone through another.
The offensive line dominated which helped Ryan Mathews have a fantastic game. Ryan rushed 29 times for 128 yards for back-to-back 100-yd games. Ryan Mathews ran hard and continuously finished. The entire offensive was playing into the run very well and Mathews was able to take advantage. His score on the night was a 23 yard run which he had players blocking all the way down field.
The way the offense controlled the ball and was able to score made it much easier on the defense. Scoring against Peyton Manning and taking a lead was beneficial for the defense as it took off some of the pressure to make ‘the big play.’ San Diego’s defense made all the little plays that counted causing Manning and the Broncos offense to have three consecutive 3-and-outs. They locked down receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, as well as Tightend Julius Thomas. This led to some production by fifth-option Andre Caldwell, but nothing too overwhelming.
The Chargers defensive line played very well getting into Manning’s face on some of the big plays that the defense did have. Corey Liuget was a force as he helped pressure the quarterback into a Marcus Gilchrist sack. He also had a huge play in the 4th quarter where he hit Manning as he threw which led to the game-sealing interception by Thomas Keiser.
San Diego played a great game in all facets and truly deserved the victory. This win sets them at 7-7 on the outside of the playoff picture looking in with slim chances. This may be the season that could have been if the Chargers end up not making the playoffs. This is a growing year with a Rookie head coach in Mike McCoy. He has had to learn with his team and build upon an identity of the team and the formula they want to go about in winning football games. There were many losses this season that could have been differed with smarter coaching and smarter playing. The Chargers have showed a lot of positives this season and if they do not make the playoffs, should still feel good about their team and chances going into the 2014 season.