San Diego

Broncos Block L.A. Chargers Path to Victory

Frantic Comeback In First Game Falls Short

Call it Monday Night Awkwardness.

In the first meaningful football game the team played since moving from San Diego, the Los Angeles Chargers looked pretty similar to the group we saw last year in America’s Finest City.

Yes, it was a game of firsts. It was the head coaching debuts of Anthony Lynn (Chargers) and Vance Joseph (Broncos) with their new franchises.

ESPN announcer Beth Mowins became the first woman to call play-by-play of a nationally televised N-F-L game.

And new Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo had a chance to boot the potential game-tying field goal with just a few ticks left on the clock in regulation.

Koo hit his first attempt from 44 yards out only to be told Joseph had called a timeout just before the snap to negate the play.

The South Korean-born athlete then tried to duplicate his clutch kick.

But Broncos lineman Shelby Harris got his hand on the ball and blocked the kick that counted, sending the Broncos to a 24-21 victory.

Yes, it was a weird game and a very different kind of night.

Even the referee momentarily forgot about the Chargers name change in the first half and said “First timeout, charged, San Diego,” which was heard in millions of homes across the country.

Insert your own joke here or take the next five seconds to get the salt back out of your wound.

The dramatic, chaotic three-hour affair between division rivals also featured Mike McCoy roaming the sideline for the team that built a huge lead – only to see it crumble in the fourth quarter.

Well, that’s not the same time we’ve seen that happen before.

McCoy is back as Denver’s offensive coordinator, and to his credit, you could tell the former Chargers head coach had a pretty good game plan ready for the franchise he worked for over the past four years.

Part of McCoy's strategy was to attack Joey Bosa.

The Broncos used Bosa’s aggressiveness against him on multiple occasions in key spots.

Whether it was Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian faking a throw to his tight end and then cutting past a sliding Bosa for a 1-yard touchdown run, or a running back pretending to block Bosa only to turn around and be wide open for a delayed checkdown, Bosa was kept off-guard most of the evening.

The second-year defensive lineman out of Ohio State did post 1.5 sacks and six total tackles, but he was also visibly frustrated throughout the contest.

Siemian threw a pair of touchdown passes to little-known Bennie Fowler III to help Denver get some breathing room.

His second dart to Fowler extended Denver’s lead to 21-7 in the third quarter.

The Bolts trailed by 17 before Philip Rivers threw fourth quarter touchdown passes to Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin after the defense forced a couple turnovers.

Adrian Phillips came up with an interception and Casey Hayward scooped up the pigskin for a meager return after Korey Toomer forced a fumble.

Rivers had struggled to find timing with his receivers in the first half especially due to the pressure the Broncos put on the Bolts offensive line.

Keenan Allen was targeted a team-high ten times but had a few drops and finished with only five receptions for 35 yards and the lone score.

Rivers found some success in the passing game on short dump-offs, including a 11 yard connection with Melvin Gordon that led to the first Chargers touchdown of the season.

But as they did many times in San Diego, the Chargers lost a heart-breaker.

The Chargers are now the only team in the AFC West division to start 0-and-1.

And for some football fans in the San Diego region, that was actually the result they coveted.

The Bolts first 2017 home game as the Los Angeles Chargers is Sunday at the StubHub Center against the Miami Dolphins. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m.

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