The Chargers pull out another close win against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. Dustin Hopkins made all four of his FG attempts despite hurting his quad in the second quarter. No kick was more important than his game-winner in overtime. This game was a defensive struggle and it was the special teams that ultimately made the difference for the Chargers.
Chargers First Half
The Chargers converted fourth and two on their opening drive. However, they were not able to get any points from the drive. Broncos got the ball at the 20-yard line for their first possession. Just when it looked like the defense had a third down stop, pass interference was called on JC Jackson which kept the drive alive. Denver was able to get into field-goal range and take a 3-0 lead after a 51yd FG by Brandon McManus.
Los Angeles goes three and out on their next offensive drive. Russell Wilson converts a long third down with a 37-yard pass a Jerry Jeudy. He was able to get outside the pocket to find the open man. On the next play, Wilson exposes a broken coverage and finds rookie Greg Dulcich to score a touchdown to give the Broncos now have a 10-0 lead.
The Chargers were able to answer on the next drive. Converting four third downs and finishing with a powerful run by Austin Ekeler. The Chargers’ defense would force a quick three and out to get the ball back. Khalil Mack tips an attempted screen pass on third down to get Denver off the field.
Los Angeles was able to get down to the RedZone on another long drive. They were unable to score a touchdown but kicked a field goal to tie the game at 10-10. Russell Wilson finds KJ Hamler on a big play to put the Broncos in field goal range. JC Jackson was in coverage and it looked like the receiver ran right by him. Denver kicks a field goal to go up 13-10 at the half
Chargers Second Half
The Chargers’ defense forces a three-and-out on the Broncos’ opening drive of the second half. Justin Herbert was able to move the down the field. Josh Palmer had two key catches on the drive to move the chains. Dustin Hopkins makes another short field goal to tie the game at 13 all. After giving up one first down, Derwin James gets a sack on Russell Wilson on the next drive. This was his second sack of the year.
Instead of going for the FG, Chargers open up the fourth quarter by going for it on fourth down. They are unable to convert as the DB knocks down the attempted pass to DeAndre Carter. Los Angeles’ defense is able to force a punt on the next drive. Herbert throws an interception off a tipped pass to Gerald Everett. The Broncos were able to convert the turnover into three points. The Chargers get into FG range on their next drive to tie the score at 16-16 with under four minutes to go.
Los Angeles showed terrible clock management in the last two minutes of regulation. With three timeouts remaining and under two minutes left, the Chargers only use one timeout on their final drive. Unable to get in FG range, Los Angeles would attempt a hail mary before taking the game to overtime
Overtime was sloppy as no team was really able to move the ball. It came down to making a play on special teams which is something Chargers fans are not used to hearing. Broncos punt returner Montrell Washington muffed a punt and the Chargers recovered at the Denver 28-yard line. Dustin Hopkins would hit the walk-off game-winning field goal with the final score of 19-16.
The Los Angeles Chargers are now 4-2 and tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for first place in the division. Furthermore, they are now 2-1 in the AFC West with current tiebreakers over the Broncos and the Raiders. They will host the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7 and expect Keenan Allen to return from his hamstring injury.
Related: Week Six Keys to Victory: Chargers
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