Skip to main content

Broncos Defense Suffocates Justin Herbert and Chargers Offense

Broncos defense got after the Chargers offense all afte

It seemed like the offensive woes of the Chargers had been put behind them after the performance last week against the Steelers. Yet, they couldn't get out of their own way against division rival Denver Broncos, which led to a 28-7 loss.

The Chargers offense started off the game without left guard Matt Fieler, who had to miss due to an ankle injury that slowed him down all week. Senio Kelemete started in his place but was more of a liability.

“I think we were able to get a good look at today and we'll evaluate that moving forward,” Staley said. “We're hoping to get Matt back next week.”

The Chargers first two offensive drives started with three-and-outs. Quarterback Justin Herbert seemed to have a wide-open Jared Cook on third down on the second drive, but Broncos linebacker Baron Browning made an acrobatic play jumping up and batting the ball down.

The Broncos second offensive drive started at the 50-yard line, so Teddy Bridgewater led the offense up the field and ran in an 11-yard touchdown. Numerous Chargers defenders took terrible angles trying to make the tackle.

They drove up the field running the football with Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams on their third possession. Broncos got up to a 14-0 lead when Williams scored a nine-yard rushing touchdown.

Herbert got the offense rolling a little bit on the third drive hitting Keenan Allen for 24-yards and some other shorter passes. They decided to go for it on fourth-and-three from the Broncos 35, but cornerback Ronald Darby made a good play on the pass intended for Allen.

The Chargers showed more a couple of drives later when Drew Lock came in for Bridgewater, and safety Derwin James made an acrobatic interception. He gave the Chargers their only start in Broncos territory. The drive ended in a touchdown on a 12-yard pass from Herbert to Austin Ekeler.

"I didn't believe Drew would throw the ball, but he threw it, so I had to make a play," James said.

After halftime, the Chargers offense came out flat. Kelemete got called for a holding and a false start all in that same drive plus allowed a sack on third down by McTelvin Agim. The Chargers ended up attempting a 52-yard field goal, but Dustin Hopkins missed, kicking a knuckleball.

Read More

The Chargers defense held the Broncos offense to four punts and one interception, with the offense not able to capitalize on it.

Herbert faced a lot of pressure which made him hurry throws and even make some terrible decisions. At the start of the fourth quarter, Herbert moved up in the pocket underthrew a pass to tight end Jared Cook that was intercepted by rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain.

“I just got to throw a better ball,” Herbert said.

The Broncos would make them pay after a 42-yard pick-up by Williams that put the Broncos in the red zone. It was capped off by a Bridgewater two-yard touchdown reception by Eric Saubert to give them a 21-7 lead.

On the following Chargers drive, Herbert tried to throw a pass to Ekeler, but he popped it up, and Surtain took it back 70-yards for a pick-six with Empower Field erupting with cheers.

“Miscommunication something, we haven’t repped enough,” Ekeler said. “We learned now.”

Sunday was more about the offense not being able to get out of their own way. The offensive line had two all-pros and three backups. A lot of pressure was given up. Herbert got hit ten times and sacked three times on Sunday in Denver.

“There was a lot of pressure on Justin, and I certainly felt like, he created and made a lot of plays for us, but it had far too much pressure on him,” Staley said. “When we had a chance in that fourth quarter, to really make a push, we just weren't able to do it as a football team.

The mistakes made by the Chargers keep coming up with missed tackles, dropped passes, bad blocking, penalties (9-75 yards) and turnovers.

They are starting to hit the danger point because they sit at 6-5 and still holding on to a wild card spot but the wild card seventh spot being held depends on the result of the Cleveland game. They face Cincinnati and Kansas City still, while other teams are making their way up the ladder.

The Chargers need to get things fixed or risk missing the playoffs for the seventh time since 2013.

"It's definitely frustrating, but man, we can't complain about it," James said. "AFC still wide-open. We are 6-5 right now, and everybody pretty much an AFC still got the same record as us."