Week 15: San Diego Chargers 27, Denver Broncos 20- Post Game Thoughts

The San Diego Chargers go into Denver and shock the Broncos by dropping them to 11-3 with a 27-20 win.  The Bolts held the ball for 38:49 in this game.  Keeping Peyton Manning on the sidelines has been the age-old game-plan as to how to defend the future Hall of Famer.  Mike McCoy, Ken Whisenhunt, and Philip Rivers did a nice job drawing up this game-plan and executing it.  However, most of the credit for this win has to go to John Pagano and the San Diego defense.  They held Denver to a season-low 20 points and 295 offensive yards.  Perhaps more importantly, they were only 2/9 on third down.  Conversely, the Chargers were 6/12 on the money down.  They were able to sustain drives throughout this game.  Ryan Mathews also paid dividends.  He had his third career 100 yard rushing game against the Broncos (a team he has shredded throughout his career).  His legs helped keep the Bolts out of a lot of third and long situations and that just made the play-calling easier.  For Denver, the loss of Wes Welker showed in this game.  Andre Caldwell was Peyton Manning’s go-to receiver (he had two touchdown receptions in this game).  Outside of him, other receivers struggled to get separation (for the most part).  Keenan Allen also had two touchdowns in this game, each of them coming at opportune times for San Diego.  His effort, along with the rest of the team, keeps the Chargers in the playoff race as the team goes to 7-7 on the year.  To me, this was their most impressive win of the season and if they can go up to Denver and beat the Broncos, I am inclined to believe that they can beat almost anybody when they play well.  By the way, you should totally check out the post game interview with the NFL Network crew and Philip Rivers.  He was fired up!  So the plot thickens in the AFC with this unexpected outcome.  Denver is no longer a shoo-in for the #1 seed with New England hot on their heels.  Plus we can now add San Diego back into the playoff race.  They will likely be competing with Baltimore and Miami down the stretch.  These final weeks should be very interesting for the American Football Conference.

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