Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has said Denver is his favorite place to play an NFL road game. This might have been the last time Rivers got to do that and if so that final memory will not be pleasant.
The Bolts lost to the Broncos 23-20 on Sunday in Denver and they have nobody to blame but themselves.
Coming off a bye week with plenty of time to prepare, the Chargers started horribly. Like, really really bad.
In the first quarter they had 25 total yards of offense, turned the ball over on a terrible Philip Rivers interception and allowed Drew Lock, the rookie quarterback taking his first ever NFL regular season snap, to throw a pair of touchdown passes to put the Broncos up 14-0 after 15 minutes.
After that the Chargers got back into it. Michael Badgley kicked a field goal and Rivers threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Colorado native Austin Ekeler to make it a 17-10 game at the half. Nobody scored in the 3rd quarter but in the 4th Rivers hit a wide open Keenan Allen for a 36-yard TD to tie it 17-17.
The Chargers defense made a play when Denzel Perryman gave Lock his first NFL interception with a pretty diving grab but Badgley's 55-yard try clanged off the left upright and was no good. Broncos kicker Brancon McManus hit from 52 yards to put Denver on top 20-17 so it came down to Rivers trying to pull off a late comeback.
Facing 4th and 11 after the offensive line took two straight false start penalties when it was 4th and 1 Rivers hit Mike Williams, who made a fantastic leaping catch down the left sideline for 38 yards to keep the drive alive. Badgley made a 46-yarder to tie it with just a few seconds left.
That's all they needed.
Casey Hayward took an inexplicable pass interference penalty for 37 yards and Brandon McManus hit from 53 yards on the final play of the game. The Chargers and Broncos are both 4-8 but since Denver swept the season series the Bolts are in last place in the AFC West and have basically no chance for the playoffs.