The Denver Broncos had a 24-7 lead over the Los Angeles Chargers — yes, that’s Los Angeles now, Terry McAulay — with just under 11 minutes to go on Monday night in Denver. The Broncos had the ball too, so things appeared to be in especially good shape for the home team in this edition of #AFCWestAfterDark.
And then came the turnover, on this crazy interception from the Chargers’ Adam Phillips:
Under three minutes later, the Chargers made the Broncos pay for the turnover, as Philip Rivers found Keenan Allen in the end zone for a touchdown:
Not even a minute later, the Broncos turned the ball over again when former Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles fumbled and the Chargers returned the ball inside the Denver 40:
And on the very next play, Rivers connected with Travis Benjamin for this 38-yard bomb touchdown. All of a sudden, we had a three-point game (after the extra point was made):
The Broncos finally had something going on the next drive, possessing the ball in the red zone with under five minutes to go. But on 3rd and 13 at the 19-yard line, Chargers edge rusher Melvin Ingram sacked Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian all the way back at the 33-yard line:
That turned a high percentage goal attempt into a 50-yard attempt for kicker Brandon McManus, and yep, he missed:
After each team followed with uneventful drives, the Chargers were in decent field goal range when Rivers threw an eight-yard pass to Allen. Two plays later, Korean-born rookie kicker Younghoe Koo drilled a field goal to tie the game. Or so it appeared.
The ol’ “icing the kicker” timeout from Broncos head coach Vance Joseph took that field goal off the board, and on the second attempt, Koo’s kick was blocked by Denver’s Shelby Harris:
We’ll never know if Joseph’s “ice” maneuver truly worked, or if icing the kicker really ever works (though coaches sure like to tell themselves it does). But in this case, it all worked out well for Denver, and prevented what would’ve been a brutal loss after having a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter.
For the Chargers, it was an impressive comeback effort, but a blown opportunity to get a massive win over a division rival on the road to start the season.