Pregame Festivities: The U.S. Navy SEAL Parachute Team, The Leap Frogs, are skydiving into Qualcomm Stadium, and kickoff is just minutes away.
COIN TOSS: The captains are at midfield for the coin toss, and the First Lady of California Maria Shriver is on the field as an honorary captain for San Diego. The Broncos have called heads and have won the toss. They have elected to receive.
Q1 15:00: Spencer Larsen returns the kickoff from Nate Kaeding to the 32-yard line. Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas and Daniel Graham are starting for the Broncos. On the line, Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris are starting. Kyle Orton, Knowshon Moreno and Spencer Larsen make up the backfield. Kyle Orton completes his first pass to Eddie Royal for 8 yards, and hits Brandon Lloyd on his second pass for a 21-yard gain. On the next play, Orton finds Lloyd again for 18 yards. Knowshon Moreno followed that up with two 9-yard runs. Moreno gets the call a third time and runs it in 4 yards for the score.
BRONCOS 7, CHARGERS 0
Q1 12:05: Matt Prater kicks off to Darren Sproles, who returns it 25 yards to the San Diego 32-yard line. Starting on defense for the Broncos are Jason Hunter, Joe Mays, D.J. Williams, Mario Haggan at linebacker. Justin Bannan, Jamal Williams and Kevin Vickerson man the defensive line, and Champ Bailey, Renaldo Hill, Brian Dawkins and Perrish Cox make up the secondary. Philip Rivers completed his first pass to Kory Sperry for 8 yards.
Q1 11:09: Joe Mays leads a swarm of Broncos to stop Mike Tolbert for a 1-yard loss in the backfield. Rivers tries to find Malcom Floyd on third-and-3 from the 39-yard line, but Floyd can’t catch it in bounds. Eddie Royal receives the 58-yard punt from Mike Scifres and returns it 14 yards to the Denver 17-yard line.
Q1 10:19: On first-and-10, Orton takes the snap and fires a pass at Jabar Gaffney, but it’s just out of reach. Orton fakes the handoff to Moreno on second down and completes a pass to Daniel Graham for no gain. On third-and-10, Orton takes the shotgun snap and completes a 9-yard pass to Correll Buckhalter. Britton Colquitt punts 40 yards to Darren Sproles, who returns it 6 yards before being taken down by Demaryius Thomas. A holding call pushes the Chargers back 10 yards after the return and they will start from their own 30-yard line.
Q1 8:40: Rivers sets up in the shotgun, fakes the draw play and fires a short pass to Sproles for 3 yards before Joe Mays makes the tackle. Kris Dielman jumps offsides and pushes the Chargers back 5 yards, and now they have second-and-12. Mike Tolbert knifes up the middle of the defense and gains 17 yards before Renaldo Hill takes him down.
Q1 7:10: On first-and-10 from San Diego’s 45-yard line, Orton throws a screen to Sproles and Champ Bailey and Jason Hunter combine to stop him for a 4-yard loss. Justin Bannan pressures Rivers into an incomplete pass on the next down. Facing third-and-14, Rivers takes the shotgun snap and and has his pass swatted down by Kevin Alexander. Mike Scifres comes out to punt, but it’s a fake. Scifres finds Tolbert on a 28-yard pass for a first down.
Q1 5:17: On first-and-10 from the Denver 31-yard line, Tolbert gets the call and carries for 3 yards. On the next play, Rivers finds Jacob Hester for a 6-yard gain that sets up third-and-1 from the 22-yard line. San Diego has called their first timeout of the game.
Q1 3:55: The Chargers line up with Mike Tolbert at fullback and Patrick Crayton at tailback. The give is to Tolbert, who rumbles 13 yards for a first down at the 9-yard line. Tolbert carries again for 3 yards and gets stopped by Joe Mays and Brian Dawkins. On second down, Rivers’ pass intended for Randy McMichael is broken up when Renaldo Hill separates the tight end from the ball. Rivers has some time in the pocket on third down and he finds Malcom Floyd for the 6-yard touchdown pass.
BRONCOS 7, CHARGERS 7
Q1 2:14: For the second time, Nate Kaeding’s kickoff falls short of Demaryius Thomas and Spencer Larsen handles it instead. He returns it 16 yards to Denver’s 27-yard line. Knowshon Moreno finds a hole in the line on first down and carries the ball up the middle for 4 yards. Orton fakes the handoff and completes a pass to Demaryius Thomas for a 12-yard gain and a Broncos first down.
Q1 1:37: Tim Tebow enters the game at quarterback and hands off to Knowshon Moreno for 1 yard on first-and-1. Orton is back in the game, and his second-down pass falls incomplete. On third-and-9, Orton finds Brandon Lloyd on a comeback route for 10 yards and another first down at the San Diego 46-yard line. That brings us to the end of the first quarter.
Q2 15:00: Moreno waits in a single-back set, and he takes the handoff for a 7-yard gain on first down. Orton fakes a handoff to Moreno and a handoff to Eddie Royal on the reverse before firing deep to Lloyd. The ball bounces off of Eric Weddle’s helmet in the end zone and falls incomplete. Orton’s next pass is intercepted by Antoine Cason, who returns it 28 yards to Denver’s 40-yard line.
Q2 14:10: Rivers hands off to Mike Tolbert for a 6-yard gain to the San Diego 34-yard line. On second down, Rivers laterals back to Patrick Crayton, who overthrows a deep pass to Sproles. On third-and-4, Rivers pass intended for Crayton falls incomplete. Nate Kaeding is out to attempt the field goal, and his 52-yard attempt falls short. Denver takes over on its own 42-yard line.
Q2 13:14: Orton hands off to Moreno who pushes forward for a 1-yard gain. Orton takes the shotgun snap on second down and finds Moreno on a screen pass up the left side of the field for a 19-yard gain.
Q2 12:00: On first-and-10 from the San Diego 38-yard line, Orton hands off to Lance Ball for a 1-yard gain. On second down, Shaun Phillips comes in unblocked and sacks Kyle Orton for a 7-yard loss. Denver takes their first timeout of the half.
Q2 10:49: Ryan Clady is called for a false start, and the Broncos move back to a third-and-21 from midfield. Kyle Orton takes the shotgun snap and throws just out of reach for Demaryius Thomas. Britton Colquitt comes in to punt, and Darren Sproles calls for a fair catch. The Chargers will take over at their own 13-yard line.
Q2 10:36: On first down for San Diego, Joe Mays meets Mike Tolbert at the line and stops the big back after a 1-yard gain. On the next play, Rivers fakes the handoff and finds Patrick Crayton in the middle of the field. There’s a flag on the field, and Denver is called for a facemask penalty that adds 15 yards to the 16-yard completion.
Q2 9:18: Rivers sets his feet and throws a deep pass for Crayton, who makes the catch for a 49-yard gain before Renaldo Hill pushes him out of bounds. On the subsequent first down from Denver’s 6-yard line, Jacob Hester carries for 4 yards. Denver is called for unnecessary roughness, and the Chargers move half the distance to the goal line. On first-and-goal from the one, the Broncos defense stymies Tolbert for no gain, but Tolbert runs in for a touchdown on his second try.
CHARGERS 14, BRONCOS 7
Q2 7:58: Nate Kaeding kicks off to Demaryius Thomas, who handles the short kick and runs 19 yards to Denver’s 27-yard line. On first-and-10, Kyle Orton pitches to Knowhson Moreno, who runs up the right side for 3 yards. Orton fakes the handoff and evades the pressure from the Chargers, running to his right for a 4-yard gain. Facing third-and-3 from their own 44-yard line, Orton pitches to Moreno. The back laterals back to Orton, but he’s sacked by Shaun Phillips before he can fire a pass. Colquitt’s short punt is fair caught by Eric Weddle at San Diego’s 48-yard line.
Q2 5:38: On first down, Justin Bannan fights through a block and stops Tolbert for no gain. Bannan breaks through again for a sack on the second down, setting up a third-and-18 for San Diego. Rivers heaves a deep pass for Floyd, but Champ Bailey has the receiver locked down in man-to-man coverage. Bailey leaps up and intercepts the pass, setting up the Broncos for first-and-10 on their own 15-yard line.
Q2 4:05: Knowshon Moreno takes a first-down handoff 1 yard up the middle. Demaryius Thomas catches a short pass from Orton and runs for an 5-yard gain on the next play, but Orton can’t complete a pass to Eddie Royal on third down. Britton Colquitt send a high, hanging punt to Sproles, but Demaryius Thomas brings him down after a 5-yard return.
Q2 2:59: On first-and-10 from the San Diego 46-yard line, Rivers finds Tolbert for a 14-yard pass. On the next play, Patrick Crayton catches a screen pass, jukes a tackler and follows a convoy of blockers for a 40-yard touchdown.
CHARGERS 21, BRONCOS 7
Q2 2:05: Thomas handles the kickoff from Kaeding and returns it 18 yards to the Denver 25-yard line, bringing us to the two-minute warning.
Q2 2:00: Orton jogs to the line with a three-receiver set and chucks a pass that falls incomplete in the middle of the field. Antoine Cason is penalized for pass interference on Brandon Lloyd, so the Broncos have first-and-10 from their own 40-yard line. Eddie Royal catches a screen pass and makes a nifty move for a 4-yard gain. Orton completes a pass to Royal on the next play, but he’s called for offensive pass interference, forcing the Broncos into a second-and-16 from their own 34-yard line.
Q2 1:01: Orton drops back and finds Jabar Gaffney in the middle of the field for 18 yards and a first down. The quarterback’s next pass intended for Daniel Graham falls incomplete, but Orton connects with Gaffney for a 10-yard gain on the next play.
Q2 0:46: On first-and-10 from the San Diego 38-yard line, Orton heaves a deep pass to Gaffney in the end zone, but they can’t connect. On the following play, Orton dumps off a screen to Buckhalter for a 2-yard loss, and offensive pass interference called on Demaryius Thomas pushes Denver back 10 yards. On second down, Orton’s pass to Buckhalter is incomplete, and on third-and-20, Cam Thomas swoops in to sack Orton for an 8-yard loss.
Q2 0:18: San Diego takes their second timeout of the half, and then Colquitt punts 27 yards out of bounds. Rivers takes a knee to end the first half with the Chargers leading the Broncos 21-7 in San Diego. Check back soon for the second-half blog.