After losing their first three games in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter, the Chargers were able to string together a pair of wins against Atlanta and Denver. On Sunday, the Broncos got the best of them in a 27-19 win, partially thanks to Mike McCoy not giving Melvin Gordon touches inside the 5-yard line late in the game.
The Broncos were on the board first with a Brandon McManus 28-yard field goal, but the Chargers immediately came back with a seven-play, 85 yard drive that was finished with a touchdown reception by Antonio Gates.
The Chargers started pretty well overall in this game. In the first quarter, they forced two three-and-outs, and held the Broncos to just 1 yard on the ground. Outside of a Bradley Roby 49-yard interception for a touchdown, the Chargers had a pretty solid half despite being down 10-7.
The two teams matched scores in the third quarter, with Devontae Booker finding the end zone for the Broncos and Travis Benjamin coming down with a masterful reception. The Chargers had their extra point blocked, though, and the score would remain 17-13 in the Broncos’ favor going into the fourth quarter.
A Juwan Thompson rushing touchdown put the Broncos up, 24-13, but the Chargers would get lucky with a defensive touchdown of their own. Casey Hayward picked off Trevor Siemian and took it 24 yards for the touchdown. After a missed extra point, the game would be 24-19, with the Chargers finding momentum with just over eight minutes to go.
After McManus got the Broncos on the board one last time with a 22-yard field goal to make it 27-19, the Chargers would make one last push.
With less than three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Chargers had first-and-goal on the Denver 2-yard line. The Chargers threw the ball four times to turn it over on downs, not once giving the ball to Melvin Gordon. It was a deflating way to end what was otherwise a great drive for the Chargers.
McCoy had a signature win against the Broncos just two weeks ago on Thursday Night Football, and against the same opponent, he left many questioning why Gordon wouldn’t get a single touch starting from the Broncos’ 2-yard line.
With the loss, the Chargers fall to 3-5 on the year, definitively falling out of the rest of the pack in the AFC West, where the Broncos and Raiders sit atop at 6-2. The Chiefs are a close third at 5-2.