Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos

LAC
21
DEN
24
FINAL
1234T
LAC 0701421
DEN 7710024

Game Information
Location: Sports Authority Field at Mile High Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 76,324

DENVER (AP) The rookie head coach iced the rookie kicker.

Shelby Harris got a hand on Younghoe Koo's 44-yard game-tying field goal try with a second left and the Denver Broncos began the Vance Joseph era with a 24-21 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night.

"It was a little too exciting," Von Miller said after presenting Joseph with the game ball in the jubilant locker room. "But a win is a win."

Koo nailed the kick moments earlier, but Joseph had called a timeout to ice the kicker.

"I had two timeouts and I wasn't going to leave with those in my pocket," Joseph said.

Derek Wolfe had bull-rushed the first field goal and told Harris, a third-year journeyman who made the team largely because of a rash of injuries along the D-line, that he'd get a chance to slice through this time because the guard would lean his way.

Sure enough, Harris got his right hand on the ball, which frittered short of the end zone as the Chargers looked on in dismay and the Broncos dog-piled Harris.

"It's too bad because Koo drilled the first one," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. "And they called timeout and I think he drilled the second one, too. At least, that's what it looked like to me because it was going right down the middle. And I think if we get to OT, we would have finished it off, but we didn't get that chance."

Harris got the start only because Jared Crick and Zach Kerr were out with injuries.

"I'm going to be real with you: I have no clue what happened," Harris said of his heroics. "I felt it. I just couldn't tell you where I felt it."

Koo was also at a loss to explain what happened.

"I was just focusing on the kick," he said. "I don't know how it got blocked. It felt good off the foot. I'll just have to watch film."

The ending was reminiscent of last year's opener in Denver, when the Broncos escaped with a 21-20 win over the Carolina Panthers in a Super Bowl 50 reunion when Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal with 4 seconds left.

Denver took a 24-7 lead into the fourth quarter in this opener and the Broncos were feeling pretty good. And why not? The Chargers were 1-155 in their history when trailing by 17 or more in the fourth quarter and Denver was 175-0-1 with a fourth-quarter lead of 17 or more.

Then came a nightmarish eight-minute stretch in which they had two turnovers that were converted into touchdowns, a missed field goal and a punt.

"The game was in firm control for about three quarters there and we felt good but you turn the ball over twice on the short side of the 50, it's going to be a problem with Philip Rivers," Joseph said.

Before those fourth-quarter foibles, Trevor Siemian threw two TD passes to Bennie Fowler and ran for another score.

The Broncos held Rivers to 115 yards passing through three quarters but let him engineer a comeback when Siemian threw an interception and Jamaal Charles fumbled on plays that were upheld despite video evidence that had the crowd of 76,324 convinced they should have been overturned.

Rivers threw touchdown passes to Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin following the takeaways to make it 24-21.

Back-to-back sacks of Siemian set up a 50-yard field goal try that McManus pushed wide right, giving L.A. the ball at its 40-yard line trailing by three.

But Koo's miss loomed larger in the final seconds.

DENVER'S DOMINANCE: The Broncos led 14-7 at halftime after Siemian threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Fowler and scored on a 1-yard keeper .

Los Angeles' only touchdown drive was aided by a 40-yard pass interference call on cornerback Bradley Roby before Rivers hit running back Melvin Gordon for an 11-yard touchdown toss. Safety Justin Simmons hit Gordon at the 2, but he just somersaulted across the goal line.

Rivers stayed away from the All-Pro tandem of Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., instead targeting Roby and safeties Darian Stewart and Simmons.

Roby atoned for his crucial penalty with an interception in the third quarter on a pass intended for Allen. That led to Siemian's 6-yard TD toss to Fowler that made it 21-7.

McManus kicked a 20-yard field goal on the last play of the third quarter, capping a 78-yard drive that ate up 8 minutes, 16 seconds.

HISTORIC OPENER: The game presented landmarks on the football field , along the sidelines and in the broadcast booth .

Not since 1960 had the Chargers represented L.A., where they played their inaugural season before bolting to San Diego.

Beth Mowins became the first woman to call an NFL regular season game since NBC's Gayle Sierens in 1987 when she handled play-by-play on the doubleheader nightcap alongside Rex Ryan, who made his debut as an ESPN analyst.

With Anthony Lynn also making his head coaching debut, this marked the first time two black head coaches worked their first NFL game against each other.

MCMANUS'S MILLIONS : McManus was the last restricted free agent to sign his tender this summer, waiting until June 15 to put his signature on a one-year, $2.75 million deal after making $600,000 last season. He did it in hopes of getting a long-term deal, which he finally got Monday just hours before kickoff when he agreed to a three-year extension worth $11.25 million.

BEEFY BRONCOS : The Broncos beefed up their depleted defensive line before kickoff by promoting rookie nose tackle Tyrique "Pot Roast Jr." Jarrett to their active roster and waiving Kyle Peko.

INJURY UPDATES: Chargers backup SS Rayshawn Jenkins left in the second half with a concussion. So did Broncos starting right guard Ronald Leary, who was replaced by second-year pro Connor McGovern. Leary will be in concussion protocol during the week as the Broncos prepare to face his former team, the Dallas Cowboys. Broncos rookie CB Brandon Langley left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury and Stewart left in the closing minutes with a strained left groin after collecting six tackles.

UP NEXT: The Chargers host the Miami Dolphins, whose opener was scrubbed by Hurricane Irma. The Broncos are home again to take on the Cowboys.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Chargers Broncos
04:50 Bennie Fowler 5 yd pass from Trevor Siemian (Brandon McManus kick) 0 7

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Chargers Broncos
14:55 Melvin Gordon 11 yd pass from Philip Rivers (Younghoe Koo kick) 7 7
05:27 Trevor Siemian 1 yd run (Brandon McManus kick) 7 14

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Chargers Broncos
10:27 Bennie Fowler 6 yd pass from Trevor Siemian (Brandon McManus kick) 7 21
00:00 Brandon McManus 20 yd FG 7 24

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Chargers Broncos
08:10 Keenan Allen 5 yd pass from Philip Rivers (Younghoe Koo kick) 14 24
07:00 Travis Benjamin 38 yd pass from Philip Rivers (Younghoe Koo kick) 21 24

Team Stats
  Los Angeles Denver
1st Downs 17 22
Total Yards 249 321
Passing 185 181
Passing Completions/Attempts 22-33 17-28
Yards/Pass 5.4 5.7
Rushing 64 140
Rushing Attempts 22 36
Yards/Rush 2.9 3.9
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles Lost 0 1
Interceptions Thrown 1 1
Possession 25:47 34:13

Los Angeles Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Philip Rivers 22 33 192 5.8 3 1

Denver Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Trevor Siemian 17 28 219 7.8 2 1

Los Angeles Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Melvin Gordon 18 54 3.0 0 21
Branden Oliver 4 10 2.5 0 6

Denver Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
C.J. Anderson 20 81 4.0 0 18
Jamaal Charles 10 40 4.0 0 12
Trevor Siemian 6 19 3.2 1 8

Los Angeles Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Tyrell Williams 5 54 10.8 0 14
Travis Benjamin 3 43 14.3 1 38
Keenan Allen 5 35 7.0 1 9
Melvin Gordon 5 25 5.0 1 11
Austin Ekeler 2 18 9.0 0 11
Antonio Gates 2 17 8.5 0 11
Branden Oliver 0 0 0.0 0

Denver Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Demaryius Thomas 5 67 13.4 0 29
Virgil Green 1 44 44.0 0 44
A.J. Derby 3 34 11.3 0 13
Emmanuel Sanders 3 26 8.7 0 20
Bennie Fowler 3 21 7.0 2 10
Jeff Heuerman 1 20 20.0 0 20
C.J. Anderson 1 7 7.0 0 7
Jamaal Charles 0 0 0.0 0

Los Angeles Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Jatavis Brown 11 3 0 0
Korey Toomer 4 2 0 0
Melvin Ingram 3 1 1.5 16
Joey Bosa 3 3 1.5 12
Tre Boston 3 0 0 0
Kyle Emanuel 3 0 0 0
Casey Hayward 3 1 0 0
Brandon Mebane 3 2 0 0
Hayes Pullard III 3 4 0 0
Chris McCain 2 0 1 10
Jahleel Addae 1 1 0 0
Isaac Rochell 1 0 0 0
Jason Verrett 1 0 0 0
Trevor Williams 1 1 0 0
Keenan Allen 0 0 0 0
Austin Ekeler 0 0 0 0
Nigel Harris 0 0 0 0
Desmond King 0 0 0 0
James Onwualu 0 0 0 0
Adrian Phillips 0 0 0 0
Darius Philon 0 1 0 0
Damion Square 0 1 0 0

Denver Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Adam Gotsis 5 0 0 0
Brandon Marshall 5 3 0 0
Darian Stewart 5 1 0 0
Von Miller 4 0 0 0
Bradley Roby 3 2 0 0
Justin Simmons 3 3 0 0
Domata Peko 2 0 0 0
Shaquil Barrett 1 0 1 7
Todd Davis 1 2 0 0
Chris Harris Jr. 1 0 0 0
Corey Nelson 1 0 0 0
Will Parks 1 0 0 0
Aqib Talib 1 0 0 0
Derek Wolfe 1 1 0 0
A.J. Derby 0 0 0 0
Shelby Harris 0 2 0 0
Tyrique Jarrett 0 1 0 0
Cody Latimer 0 0 0 0
Menelik Watson 0 0 0 0

Los Angeles Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Adrian Phillips 1 4 0

Denver Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Bradley Roby 1 0 0

Los Angeles Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
No kick return stats.

Denver Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Cody Latimer 1 36 36.0 0 36

Los Angeles Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Travis Benjamin 1 -3 -3.0 0 -3

Denver Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Isaiah McKenzie 3 48 16.0 0 31

Los Angeles Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Younghoe Koo 0 1 0.0

Denver Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Brandon McManus 1 2 50.0 20

Los Angeles Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Drew Kaser 5 230 62

Denver Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Riley Dixon 3 144 53