The Chargers finally found a way to not blow a late lead and beat the Broncos, 21-13. Just when it looked like the Chargers were going to give another game away, they fimade plays to win Thursday night against the Broncos. Philip Rivers, who passed Dan Fouts for the franchise record in passing yards, finally got some help from the rest of the team.
But what about the Broncos? The Super Bowl champs looked dominant to start the season. Now, they've lost two in a row.
1 - Siemian exposed: 230 passing yards isn’t exactly a minuscule number for a quarterback, unless you throw the ball 50 times like Trevor Siemian did. Together those throws added up to a miserable 4.60 yards per attempt. The Broncos’ quarterback didn’t try to throw the ball downfield much -- nine attempts of 10 yards or more -- and when he did he wasn’t successful, completing just one of those nine throws. Is Siemian finally exposed as a second-year, seventh-round pick or is this just a hiccup?
2 - No ground game: It doesn’t help a quarterback much, especially in an offensive system that lives off the play action, when the running game doesn’t produce. For the third game in a row, the Broncos failed to break 90 total rushing yards. C.J. Anderson continues to struggle. This was his fourth game in a row with less than 50 yards, and he’s averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Not exactly what they had in mind when agreeing to a four-year, $18 million deal.
3 - Pass protection: Donald Stephenson was back at right tackle for the Broncos, but it didn’t help. Rookie Joey Bosa had six pressures and two hits on Siemian. The Chargers only sacked him twice, but they made it hard for him to work.
4 - Mental lapses: The Broncos were closing the gap when a Russell Okung holding penalty brought back a 20-yard touchdown catch from Anderson. Mistakes really hurt the Broncos for the second week in a row.
5 - Soft spot in the defense: Denver’s defense played a fine game, overall. Quick passes from Rivers and good pass protection from the tackles held the pass rush in check for the most part. What’s worrisome about Denver’s defense is that for the second week in a row the middle of the field, and the middle linebackers especially, made an inviting target for the offense. Melvin Gordon ran for 94 yards and rookie tight end Hunter Henry had 83 receiving yards and San Diego’s lone touchdown.
It’s probably not time to panic if you’re a Broncos fan, but you should definitely be a little concerned.
OKUNG INJURY: Broncos OT Russell Okung was taken to the hospital with concussion-like symptoms. Shortly after the game, something happen to Okung that resulted in him being taken away by ambulance.
WHOOPS! We interrupt this Broncos-Chargers game to bring you an ad for Matt LeBlanc’s new show. Huh?!
ABOUT THOSE TV RATINGS: NFL primetime games haven’t been much fun, and they might not get any better this year. A combination of injuries, suspensions, and bad teams have contributed to a lackluster primetime slate so far this season.
THE MESSAGE MATTERS: Colin Kaepernick's performance on the field doesn't change the impact of his protest. Regardless of what happens on the field Sunday, Kap’s message has spread, and that’s all that matters. However, a new poll shows many Americans still disapprove of athletes protesting the national anthem. The latest Quinnipiac poll showcases a racial split between athletic protest on the field, as well as trust with the police force.
ANOTHER WEAPON FOR THE STEELERS: Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to unleash the Ferrari as Ladarius Green plans to return to practice next week. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense is already good, and it could be getting a whole lot better when Green makes his debut in the black and gold.
SPECIAL MOTIVATION: Ben McAdoo tried to motivate the Giants with a scene from Step Brothers. It wasn’t the Catalina Wine Mixer scene, though, unfortunately.
WHAT HAPPENED TO RODGERS? Don't worry, Trevor Siemian, Aaron Rodgers is struggling, too.