Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos

LAC
23
DEN
9
FINAL
1234T
LAC 077923
DEN 03069

Game Information
Location: Broncos Stadium at Mile High Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 75,947

DENVER (AP) Philip Rivers doesn't care that the Chargers must hit the road on wild-card weekend despite winning a dozen games, including a 23-9 nail-biter in Denver on Sunday in which he completed just 14 passes.

Nor does he mind facing the Baltimore Ravens, who thumped the Chargers 22-10 last weekend in Los Angeles.

The Chargers have won six straight on the road and went 7-1 away from home with their only road loss coming literally up the road to the Rams back in September.

For their first playoff appearance in five years, the Chargers will face a rejuvenated Ravens team that's won six of seven under rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson and features the league's No. 1 defense.

"It's a heck of a challenge," Rivers said. "I don't think there was a team that wasn't going to be a heck of a challenge. ... They're all good. That team outplayed us last week and it will be a new game, new everything. We'll see who can play the best this time."

Were it not for a last-second loss to the Broncos at home in November, the Chargers would have supplanted the Chiefs as the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs and earned a first-round bye.

So, it turns out the Broncos (6-10) were the spoilers even though they lost again Sunday. That's of no consolation to a franchise careening into another offseason of uncertainty after posting double-digit losses in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1966-67, an ignominy that could cost second-year coach Vance Joseph his job .

"I want to come back and make this thing right," said Joseph, who's expected to meet with general manager John Elway on Monday morning to learn if he'll get that opportunity.

Joseph acknowledged an 11-21 record isn't good enough by the Broncos' standards, "but I think we've put a lot of work in. There's a foundation that's been laid here that should pay off in the future."

That bedrock, said defensive end Derek Wolfe, is a never-quit attitude that was on display again Sunday.

"V.J., he's one of my favorite people on this planet. I love that guy with all my heart and I've got a lot of respect for him," Wolfe said, adding that he'd hate to see the Broncos go in search of their fourth coach in six seasons.

Rivers was just 14 of 24 for 176 yards and a touchdown and he threw two interceptions in the first quarter, something that's happened just twice before in Rivers' 15-year NFL career.

"It's not as good as we want to play, but again, I don't see any pattern," Rivers said of the offensive struggles in back-to-back games. "I really don't buy into patterns or momentums in the games. It hasn't been as good. I think you look at our collective body of work this year and it's been good enough to win 12 games."

And the Broncos were bad enough to lose 10.

They were done in mostly by their feeble offense that punted on its first drive for the ninth straight game and which managed a mere two touchdowns in its last 34 first-half drives, endangering offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave no matter who's coaching the team in 2019.

Denver's offense accounted for just nine points - six on fullback Andy Janovich's first career touchdown and a chip-shot field goal by Brandon McManus.

Denver's offense also accounted for nine points by the Chargers.

After Janovich's first career TD pulled Denver to 14-9 with 10 minutes remaining, cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. stepped in front of rookie receiver Courtland Sutton and picked off the 2-point conversion attempt. He slipped Suttons' tackle at the goal line and raced 102 yards to give the Chargers a 16-9 lead.

Then, Rivers had his only sustained drive, capped by Austin Ekeler's 1-yard TD run .

Rivers' only TD throw was a 3-yard toss to Mike Williams that made it 14-3 came after Joey Bosa's fumble recovery at the Denver 16.

The Chargers took a 7-3 halftime lead thanks to a defensive touchdown .

Keenum hit Royce Freeman with a low screen that he didn't secure. A hard hit by cornerback Desmond King II to a prone Freeman popped the ball loose, and linebacker Kyle Emmanuel scooped it up and ran 11 yards for a 7-0 lead the Chargers would never relinquish.

ALL FOR NAUGHT

Rivers was intercepted twice in the first quarter for just the third time in his 15-year career. However, the Broncos failed to convert interceptions by rookie Isaac Yiadom and Will Parks into points.

INJURIES:

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown injured his right ankle tackling Freeman on the final play of the first quarter.

Broncos: RT Jared Veldheer (ribs), C Connor McGovern (ankle) and S Darian Stewart (shoulder) all went out in the second half.

UP NEXT:

Chargers: Head to Baltimore for wild-card weekend.

Broncos: Embark on another offseason of change with big questions yet again at coach and QB.

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Chargers Broncos
No scoring this quarter.

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Chargers Broncos
05:32 Kyle Emanuel 18 yd opp fumble return (Michael Badgley kick) 7 0
00:11 Brandon McManus 28 yd FG 7 3

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Chargers Broncos
03:46 Mike Williams 3 yd pass from Philip Rivers (Michael Badgley kick) 14 3

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Chargers Broncos
10:10 Andy Janovich 20 yd pass from Case Keenum (2pt Pass Intercepted from Case Keenum) 14 9
10:10 Casey Hayward Jr. extra point return 16 9
05:48 Austin Ekeler 1 yd run (Michael Badgley kick) 23 9

Team Stats
  Los Angeles Denver
1st Downs 17 19
Total Yards 276 370
Passing 160 288
Passing Completions/Attempts 14-24 31-48
Yards/Pass 6.4 5.9
Rushing 116 82
Rushing Attempts 30 25
Yards/Rush 3.9 3.3
Turnovers 4 4
Fumbles Lost 2 3
Interceptions Thrown 2 1
Possession 28:12 31:48

Los Angeles Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Philip Rivers 14 24 176 7.3 1 2
Geno Smith 0 0 0 0.0 0 0

Denver Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Case Keenum 31 48 292 6.1 1 1

Los Angeles Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Austin Ekeler 8 58 7.2 1 41
Melvin Gordon III 10 42 4.2 0 9
Travis Benjamin 1 11 11.0 0 11
Justin Jackson 6 10 1.7 0 5
Derek Watt 1 8 8.0 0 8
Philip Rivers 1 0 0.0 0 0
Geno Smith 2 -2 -1.0 0 -1
Mike Williams 1 -11 -11.0 0 -11

Denver Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Royce Freeman 17 60 3.5 0 9
Devontae Booker 5 14 2.8 0 6
Case Keenum 3 8 2.7 0 8

Los Angeles Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Mike Williams 5 65 13.0 1 18
Keenan Allen 4 64 16.0 0 21
Melvin Gordon III 3 24 8.0 0 13
Tyrell Williams 2 23 11.5 0 17
Travis Benjamin 0 0 0.0 0
Austin Ekeler 0 0 0.0 0
Antonio Gates 0 0 0.0 0
Virgil Green 0 0 0.0 0

Denver Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
DaeSean Hamilton 5 49 9.8 0 14
Tim Patrick 4 48 12.0 0 21
River Cracraft 1 44 44.0 0 44
Royce Freeman 8 43 5.4 0 9
Matt LaCosse 5 33 6.6 0 12
Andy Janovich 2 30 15.0 1 20
Courtland Sutton 1 25 25.0 0 25
Devontae Booker 5 20 4.0 0 8

Los Angeles Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Adrian Phillips 8 4 0 0
Michael Davis 6 3 0 0
Derwin James Jr. 5 1 0 0
Rayshawn Jenkins 5 2 0 0
Hayes Pullard 5 3 0 0
Desmond King II 4 2 0 0
Jahleel Addae 3 1 0 0
Joey Bosa 2 0 1 4
Uchenna Nwosu 2 0 0 0
Jatavis Brown 1 1 0 0
Kyle Emanuel 1 1 0 0
Casey Hayward Jr. 1 0 0 0
Justin Jones 1 0 0 0
Isaac Rochell 1 0 0 0
Damion Square 1 0 0 0
Keenan Allen 0 0 0 0
Nick Dzubnar 0 0 0 0
Melvin Ingram III 0 1 0 0
Brandon Mebane 0 2 0 0
Darius Philon 0 1 0 0
Derek Watt 0 0 0 0
Kyle Wilson 0 0 0 0

Denver Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Todd Davis 5 1 0 0
Bradley Roby 5 0 0 0
Bradley Chubb 4 0 0 0
Josey Jewell 4 1 0 0
Von Miller 2 1 0 0
Will Parks 2 1 0 0
Darian Stewart 2 0 0 0
Isaac Yiadom 2 0 0 0
Shaquil Barrett 1 0 0 0
Tramaine Brock 1 1 0 0
Adam Gotsis 1 0 0 0
Shelby Harris 1 4 0 0
Brandon Marshall 1 0 0 0
Dymonte Thomas 1 0 0 0
Derek Wolfe 1 1 0 0
Temarrick Hemingway 0 0 0 0
Jeff Holland 0 3 0 0
Brendan Langley 0 0 0 0
Domata Peko 0 1 0 0
Justin Simmons 0 3 0 0
Jared Veldheer 0 0 0 0

Los Angeles Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Jahleel Addae 1 19 0

Denver Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Will Parks 1 11 0
Isaac Yiadom 1 4 0

Los Angeles Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Brandon Facyson 0.0

Denver Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
River Cracraft 2 43 21.5 0 23
Brendan Langley 1 17 17.0 0 17

Los Angeles Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Travis Benjamin 1 0 0.0 0 0

Denver Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
River Cracraft 2 3 1.5 0 3

Los Angeles Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
No kicking stats.

Denver Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Brandon McManus 1 1 100.0 28

Los Angeles Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Donnie Jones 5 234 56

Denver Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Colby Wadman 6 252 55