Broncos vs. Chargers Open Thread/Live Blog | Week 13
Fans in the Mile High City once again have something to look forward to. Something to believe in.
The time has come to get a long look at Drew Lock. The Denver Broncos will start Lock today vs. the Los Angeles Chargers.
Sitting at 3-8, this game isn't so much about ensuring a win so much as it is about getting the initial evaluation on Lock's wherewithal as a potential franchise quarterback. Would Vic Fangio like to get the win? Absolutely.
The Broncos did beat the Chargers earlier this season in L.A. and it's a more favorable matchup on paper than Buffalo or Minnesota on the road, which is why Fangio and company dragged their heels on Lock. But it's now time to turn the page toward evaluating what this team has for the future, more so than about winning every game.
Join us as we live-blog and discuss LACvsDEN here in our weekly Open Thread. Dive into the conversation — it's easy — by simply going to the top of the site and in the bottom righthand corner of the Mile High Huddle logo, click the follow button.
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What to Watch For
• CB Chris Harris, Jr. needs one interception to join Mike Harden as the only Broncos with multiple interceptions in eight consecutive seasons.
• DE Shelby Harris needs two defensive tackles to set a new career-high (39 in 2018).
• RB Phillip Lindsay needs one touchdown to become the third undrafted running back to score 16 total touchdowns by his 27th game (Arian Foster, 25; Kevin Mack, 19).
• S Justin Simmons needs two interceptions to tie Steve Atwater (12) for the third-most interceptions amongst Broncos safeties through their first four professional seasons and one tackle to reach 250 for his career, which would move into a tie for seventh place in team annals among safeties (Darian Stewart, 250).
• WR Courtland Sutton needs one big-play reception to represent the 10th different occurrence in team history in which a player has hauled in 13 or more 25-plus-yard receptions in a single season and needs 168 receiving yards to become the third Bronco to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a single season by his second year (Brandon Marshall, 2007; Lionel Taylor, 1960)
• DE Derek Wolfe needs one sack to match his career-high (6.0) set as a rookie in 2012 and six tackles to become the third Broncos true defensive lineman to reach 300 for his career since 1994 (Mike Croel, 330; Trevor Pryce, 317).
Analysis: No Von Miller hurts and in a perfect world, you'd like to see the Broncos' $51M right tackle out there for Lock's debut. But the team will have to make due without either. Sans Miller, you'd think the Broncos would activate a healthy DeMarcus Walker to give the team as much pass rush as it can get. A curious decision.
Analysis: The Chargers are at relative full strength for the first time this season.
Chargers win the toss. Elect to defer. Lock up first.
14:22: On 2nd-&-6, Lock goes vertical to Sutton. Incomplete.
14:17: Derwin James blitzes on third down, Lock uncorks it quickly to Noah Fant. Complete just short of the sticks. Punt.
12:26: On third down, Philip Rivers converts to big Mike Williams, moving the chains. Harris, Jr. in coverage.
11:04: On 3rd-&-2, Rivers is sacked on the safety blitz by Will Parks. Great coverage as well. Chargers punt.
9:18: On 3rd-&-4, Lock hits DaeSean Hamilton to move the chains. Hamilton took a big shot and held on.
6:29: Lock moves the chains again on third down, this time to Jeff Heuerman.
4:40: Lock goes deep down the right sideline, Sutton hauls it in with one arm. TOUCHDOWN. Confirmed via replay. 26-yard scoring strike!
Broncos 7, Chargers 0
3:18: Rivers picked off by Dre'Mont Jones. Broncos defense helping the kid, Lock, without Miller on the field.
:21: On 3rd-&-Goal, Lock hits Sutton again for TOUCHDOWN No. 2 on the day. Broncos finally make an opponent pay for a turnover.
Broncos 14, Chargers 0
12:42: On 3rd-&-8, Rivers' pass is batted at the line. Punt.
12:37: Devontae Booker penalized for roughing the kicker, keeping Chargers' drive alive.
LB Jeremiah Attaochu questionable to return to action with a leg injury.
9:34: On 3rd-&-6, Rivers fires incomplete. Still, Booker's faux pas gives Chargers three points.
9:31: Mike Badgley bangs through the field goal from 30 yards out.
Broncos 14, Chargers 3
8:23: On 3rd-&-15, Lock hits Sutton for a 10-yard gain but well short of the sticks. Punt.
7:54: Colby Wadman punts, muffed by the Chargers returner, recovered by Josey Jewell. Broncos' football on the L.A. 30-yard line.
5:36: Broncos try to pick up the 3rd-&-2 on the ground, but Royce Freeman is bottled up by Melvin Ingram short of the sticks. Brandon McManus pounds through the 31-yard field goal attempt. That's 10 points off turnovers today.
Broncos 17, Chargers 3
LB Malik Reed being evaluated for a lower-leg injury. More edge talent depleted possibly.
3:10: 3rd-&-1, Austin Ekeler bottled up for a loss. Justin Simmons and Mike Purcell got there. Chargers punt. Lock gets one more drive before the half.
1:12: On 3rd-&-6, Lock pressured, throws it away. Broncos punt. Wadman shanked another one, but was bailed out by a favorable bounce. 51-yard net punt but yikes all the way.
Malik Reed returns to the field (leg).
:49: Rivers goes deep, hits a wide-open Mike Williams for a 52-yard gain.
:38: Rivers hits Ekeler out of the backfield, runs it 30 yards for the touchdown. Extra point is good.
Broncos 17, Chargers 10
:01: Lock hits Sutton for a 33-yard gain as time expires.
Broncos 17, Chargers 10
Chargers to begin after deferring to open the game.
McManus' kickoff is a touchback.
12:27: On 3rd-&-7, Rivers hits Keenan Allen to move the sticks with Harris, Jr. in coverage.
11:01: Derek Wolfe sacks Rivers on third down, taking Chargers out of field goal range. Wolfe's sixth sack of the season, tying a career-high.
9:05: 3rd-&-5, Lock pressured by Ingram, uncorks incomplete to Fant. Punt.
9:01: Wadman roughed by Drue Tranquill. Gives Broncos 15 yards and a new set of downs for Lock.
7:29: 3rd-&-1, OC Rich Scangarello calls an odd pitch outside to Lindsay with no lead-blocker. Bottled up for a loss by Ingram. Punt.
5:12: Harris, Jr. gives up his third catch on third down, this time to Andre Patton. Ugly.
2:45: 3rd-&-20, Kareem Jackson knifes through to tackle Melvin Gordon's screen reception. Chargers punt.
:37: 3rd-&-9, Lock completes the checkdown to Freeman, bottled up well short of the sticks. Broncos to punt. End of quarter.
15:00: Wadman punts 45 yards.
12:28: Rivers hits a wide-open Allen, who romps untouched to the goal-line for a Chargers touchdown. 36 yards. Extra point is good.
Broncos 17, Chargers 17
11:41: Lock picked off by Denzel Perryman. Chargers in business now on the Broncos' 38-yard line.
9:20: Chargers stall on third down. Badgley misses from 55 yards out. The tie remains.
Ronald Leary being evaluated for a concussion. Austin Schlottmann steps in at right guard.
4:36: Lock hits a wide-open Hamilton over the middle on 3rd-&-12 but the embattled wideout drops it. McManus comes through on the ensuing 52-yard field goal attempt. Broncos reclaim the lead.
Broncos 20, Chargers 17
2:22: 4th-&-1, Chargers flagged for false start. Anthony Lynn could opt to punt. Brings up a 4th-&-6.
Derek Wolfe down on the field. With two sacks on the day, Wolfe has a new career-high of seven on the season.
2:22: Chargers jump early again, this time Russell Okung. Brings up 4th-&-11.
2:22: Rivers goes deep down the left sideline to Williams for 38 yards, moving the chains and getting into Broncos territory. Isaac Yiadom burned in coverage.
:52: 3rd-&-6, screen pass to Allen bottled up by Simmons short of the sticks. Lynn opts against attempting the game-tying field goal.
:44: On 4th-&-1, Rivers tries to get the Broncos to jump on the hard count. No dice, bringing the clock all the way down to :19 seconds.
:19: Badgley's 46-yard attempt is good.
Broncos 20, Chargers 20
:09: Lock goes deep to Sutton on first down and Casey Hayward is flagged for pass interference. McManus will get a field goal attempt to walk off with a win. (Under review)
:03: McManus is good from 53 yards out. Broncos win.
Broncos 23, Chargers 20