It seemed for a short time that Thursday Night Football would turn into the Peyton Manning show, but after one half it's rookie receiver Keenan Allen who's turning heads. He scored two first-half touchdowns to give the Chargers a 17-10 lead at the half.
Manning led a 67-yard drive to open the game, finding wide receiver Andre Caldwell in the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. Fans had barely settled in their seats and within three minutes the first points were on the board. Urgency led to San Diego answering back with a long drive of its own, but the offense sputtered and settled for a Nick Novak field goal.
San Diego's receivers were unable to get on the same page as Philip Rivers throughout the first quarter. Allen was caught out of position on several plays, not expecting passes or failing to turn around in time. The offense leaned heavily on running backs Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead early, who combined for 80 all-purpose yards in the half.
The Chargers desperately needed a big play, and found it when Allen positioned himself perfectly on a crossing route that left the Broncos defense flat-footed. The rookie wide receiver hurdled a defender and found the end zone to close the gap and keep the game close. That was the catalyst San Diego needed, and with Rivers and Allen on the same page, it was difficult for Denver to stop.
Rivers and Allen struck again with just over a minute left, this time on a red zone throw to give the rookie receiver his second touchdown of the half. The Broncos defense will need to evaluate its coverage at halftime and find a way to stop the young receiver if the home team hopes to rebound.