A 35-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers was not want the Denver Broncos wanted after a 49-29 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs a week ago. Yet, that was exactly what happened on Monday Night Football. Despite a promising start, the Denver Broncos showed themselves to be more like the team that played horribly before the bye week.
The Broncos had a quick scoring drive to open the game when offense went 69 yards on six plays, capped by a Knowshon Moreno four-yard touchdown run. He had 22 rushing yards on that drive alone, and then finished with 58 yards on 13 carries at the end of the game. The offense fizzled after that.
Kyle Orton was 24-of-38 for 217 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw an interception into the waiting hands of cornerback Antoine Cason. That was partly due to pressure from the defensive line, partly due to a lack of adequate pass protection and partly to Brandon Lloyd running a bad route. Lloyd hauled in six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown reception, which came in the fourth quarter. Also, Knowshon Moreno was the beneficiary of seven passes for 62 yards.
The San Diego Chargers scored 35 straight points before Orton and Lloyd hooked up for that touchdown in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Philip Rivers continued his hot season with four touchdown passes and 233 passing yards. Punter Mike Scifres had a key pass completion when he completed a 28-yard pass to Mike Tolbert. That eventually set up Philip Rivers' first touchdown pass, a six-yard completion to Malcom Floyd. He also had touchdown passes to Darren Sproles (57 yards), Patrick Crayton (40 yards in a total of 105) and Jacob Hester (three yards).
Mike Tolbert started at running back in place of the injured Ryan Mathews and contributed greatly to the winning effort. He racked up 111 yards on the ground, including a one-yard touchdown run, and caught two passes for 42 yards.
Champ Bailey made an interception on deep pass by Philip Rivers to Malcom Floyd. Bailey kept his eyes trained on the ball and made the leaping grab over Floyd to haul in his 48th career interception. It was his 30th with the Broncos, tied for sixth all-time with Dennis Smith in the franchise's record book.
Here are the latest AFC West standings:
AFC West Standings
The Broncos will need a miracle of epic proportions to make a run at the playoffs now after this loss. The Broncos host the 4-6 St. Louis Rams this Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High.