15:00: The Broncos have a first-and-10 at the San Diego 49-yard line when play resumes.
Jay Cutler is in the shotgun with Tatum Bell to his right. He tries to find Eddie Royal downfield after avoiding pressure, but he skips it just short of the rookie. That brings up second-and-10. The offense breaks its huddle and jogs up to the line — there are four receivers out wide. Cutler drops back and avoids pressure from all angles — very impressive pocket presence — and finds Darrell Jackson for a 13-yard gain near the left sideline for a first down.
On the ensuring play, Cutler gets it to Brandon Marshall, who falls backwards for what looks like another first down.
13:42: In fact it’s second-and-1 for the Broncos after Marshall’s nine-yard gain. Cutler takes the snap in the shotgun and pitches it quickly to Tatum Bell, who runs forward for four yards and the first down.
On first down, Cutler avoids pressure once again, rolls out to his right and throws a bullet toward Tony Scheffler in the end zone, who was locked up with a defensive back. At the last second he leaps high in the air to haul in the touchdown pass.
The Broncos are going for two. Cutler is in the shotgun and takes off toward the end zone. He gets in on his own with a run up the middle. It looked like the same formation from the first time Denver ran a two-point conversion against the Chargers 15 weeks ago.
Now the Broncos trail the Chargers 38-21.
12:53: Darren Sproles takes the Matt Prater kick to the 34-yard line before being brought down by Karl Paymah and a group of Broncos. That’s where the Chargers offense will take over after a TV timeout.
Sproles takes the handoff on first down and gains three yards before being taken down by Marcus Thomas and Ebenezer Ekuban.
12:05: Rivers gets the play call from the sideline before setting up the offense, dropping back and rolling to his right. He decides to take off and is chased out of bounds by Jamie Winborn after a gain of three.
Third-and-4 for the Chargers at their own 40. Rivers is in the shotgun. He fires a pass downfield and finds Chris Chambers past the first down marker for a gain of 18.
10:50: The Chargers are in Denver territory as Rivers takes the snap and hands off to Sproles. He picks up three yards on the carry.
Second-and-7 for San Diego at the Denver 39. The offense breaks its huddle and two receivers are out right. Vincent Jackson goes in motion and it’s a hand off to Sproles. He picks up 37 yards down the sideline before being pushed out of bounds by Wesley Woodyard at the two-yard line.
On the ensuing first down, Sproles takes it the final two yards for the touchdown. Nate Kaeding knocks the extra point through and the Chargers lead 45-21.
9:40: Chad Jackson takes the kickoff from the two-yard line and brings it out to the 22-yard line, where the offense will take over after a TV timeout.
Cutler is in the shotgun when play resumes, and he takes the snap and fires to Royal. The rookie fights his way forward for a first down, and the offense huddles up after the 11-yard gain.
9:00: Cutler takes teh snap and fires down field for Marshall, who had his defender beat, but the ball falls incomplete — flag on the play, however. Two flags on the play — illegal contact on the defense and pass interference on the defense. The illegal contact is declined and the Broncos move to the San Diego 35 on the pass interference call.
8:55: Cutler’s pass is complete to Royal on second down — it’s a gain of five yards, setting up third-and-5 at the San Diego 30.
Cutler is in the shotgun with four receivers out wide and Tatum Bell to his right. He takes the snap, drops back and fires to Tony Scheffler — but he’s drilled just outside the 10-yard line and the ball falls to the ground.
That brings up fourth-and-5 for the Orange and Blue. Cutler buys time and finds Marshall behind the defense after running a great route — but he stumbles as he reaches the back of the end zone and the ball flies just over his head. Turnover on downs.
7:45: Sproles picks up another first down on the first play for the Chargers offense. On the ensuing play, it’s Sproles again — he picks up nine more yards. Second-and-1 for San Diego at its own 49. Rivers hands off to Hester, who picks up the first down before being brought down by a group of Broncos.
6:22: On first-and-10, Rivers hands off to Jacob Hester, who is pummelled by Marcus Thomas after a short gain — two yards to be exact.
5:38: On second down, Hester takes a carry up the middle but is taken down after a gain of two more. On third-and-6, Sproles picks up the first down.
4:05: The Chargers have a first-and-10 from the Denver 30. Hester takes the carry down to the 13-yard line. On the next play it’s Hester again, and he’s brought down by Jamie Winborn after a seven-yard gain.
2:19: It’s second-and-3 and Hester is tripped up for no gain. That brings us to the two-minute warning.
2:00: Hester picks up two yards on third down and sets up fourth-and-1. The San Diego offense stays on the field. Hester pushes his way forward for a touchdown and spikes the ball afterward. The extra point is good and the Chargers lead 52-21.
1:15: The Chargers boot the kick high and short and it’s fielded by John Engelberger. he takes it to the 33-yard line.
On first-and-10, Cutler takes the snap in shotgun formation and gets it to Royal for what looks like a first down.
It’s a nine-yard gain, and the team runsback up to the line. Royal gets the first down on the following play.
Now the offense is back at the line. Cutler is in the shotgun and takes the snap. He finds Royal again, who fights his way across the field for another first down.
As the clock ticks all the way down, Cutler finds Royal again down to the San Diego 32.
Time runs out and the Chargers and Broncos meet at midfield.
The Broncos and Chargers both end with an 8-8 record, but the Chargers win the AFC West title because they have a better record within the division.
The Chargers beat the Broncos in San Diego, 52-21.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com