Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers did everything right Monday night to put his team in a position to go into overtime against the Denver Broncos. The Chargers were down 24-21 when they started their drive on their own 38-yard line.
After a couple of short completions and runs that got them to their own 49-yard line, the Chargers got the big play they needed when receiver Tyrell Williams drew a pass inference penalty on the Broncos’ 34-yard line. An eight-yard completion to receiver Keenan Allen got Los Angeles to the 26-yard line and in position for kicker Younghoe Koo to tie the game with a 44-yard field goal.
However, Denver defensive end Shelby Harris did not feel like playing overtime that night, breaking through the line to block the field goal and give his team the 24-21 win.
The scoreboard showed just how impressive both teams looked Monday night. Both Rivers and Trevor Siemian, surprisingly, looked efficient and confident offensively. This led to solid nights for the two men. Rivers completed 22 of his 33 passes for 192-yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
However, Siemian outshined the veteran quarterback, throwing for 219-yards, three total touchdowns and an interception. Siemian had a 82.1 quarterback rating, which was substantially better than Rivers’ 60.8 quarterback rating.
Siemian was still able to perform at a high level despite having the Chargers’ defensive line draped all over him the entire night. The line sacked Siemian four times and had nine hurries on the quarterback. Outside linebackers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram both had 1.5 sacks and defensive end Chris McCain made up the remaining sack.
In his return from his ACL injury from last season, Allen caught five passes for 35-yards and a touchdown. Receiver Travis Benjamin had a solid debut for Los Angeles, hauling in 3 passes for 43-yards and a touchdown. Benjamin’s stats mainly came from a 38-yard touchdown reception from Rivers late in the fourth quarter.
Broncos’ receiver Bernie Fowler III was Siemian’s go to man in the redzone, catching three passes for 21-yards and two touchdowns. Demaryius Thomas led the night in receiving, totaling 67-yards on five catches.
The running backs were held in check for the most part Monday night. Melvin Gordon ran for 58-yards on 18 carries. He did, though, prove to be a valuable weapon in the passing game, catching five balls for 25-yards and a touchdown.
On the opposing side, C.J. Anderson rushed for 81-yards on 20 carries. Jamaal Charles made his debut in game, rushing 10 times for 40-yards, but had a crucial fumble in the fourth quarter that led to a Chargers touchdown.
While Los Angeles’ defense proved effective against Denver’s passing game, it could not contain the running game, giving up 140-yards on the ground. That will be its next step in becoming an elite defense. Offensively, Rivers got everyone involved, hitting multiple receivers numerous times while the run game was effective when it needed be.
For having a lot of new faces defensively, the Bronco’s defense was still very effective, a positive takeaway for sure. If Siemian can consistently play at this level, then Denver could potentially be a dark horse coming out of the AFC West.
Erich Fisher is a Staff Writer for endzonescore.com. Follow him on Twitter – @ETFisher24