15:00: The Broncos get the ball to start the second half, and Chad Jackson is back deep to receive. He fields it at about the five-yard line and makes it out to the 27-yard line, where the offense lines up for its first drive of the second half.
First-and-10 and Jay Culter is in the shotgun. He looks downfield before finding his checkdown, Tatum Bell, for a quick pass over the middle and a first down.
The team walks right back up to the line and Cutler gets it out quickly to Eddie Royal for a three-yard pickup on first down.
13:50: Cutler is in the shotgun again, takes the snap and drops back before stepping forward in the pocket and firing a pass to Tony Scheffler, who grabs a first down in Chargers territory.
Cutler takes another snap in the shotgun and finds Eddie Royal, who picks up six yards.
12:50: The offense huddles again, and when they break Cutler is in the shotgun. He pitches to Tatum Bell, who finds room all the way downfield into the end zone. He chucks the ball once more to the back wall behind the end zone — very reminiscent of his first touchdown of the game.
Matt Prater is on the field again, and this time there’s no false start penalty and the point after touchdown is through the uprights. Bell’s second touchdown pulls the Broncos back toward the Chargers. They trail 24-13.
It was a 37-yard touchdown for Bell.
12:41: The Chargers have a first-and-10 at their own 31-yard line after the Darren Sproles return. Philip Rivers waddles his way out of the pocket when he can’t find anyone downfield and picks up four yards.
On second-and-6, he hands off to LaDainian Tomlinson, who finds room all the way to the Denver 20-yard line before being pushed out of bounds by Champ Bailey. It’s a 45-yard run.
11:25: Rivers fakes the handoff to Tomlinson and gets the ball to Brandon Manumaleuna for a five-yard gain down to the Denver 15.
Second-and-5. Rivers takes the snap and hands it to Sproles, who picks up two yards, setting up a third-and-3 for San Diego.
10:00: Rivers takes the snap and gets it to Sproles in the flats — he takes the pass and runs 15 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.
Nate Kaeding is out for the extra point, and he splits the uprights. The Chargers now lead the Broncos 31-13.
SAN DIEGO INJURY UPDATE: Antonio Gates has an injured ankle, and his return is questionable.
9:52: Chad Jackson had the ball stripped on the return but it’s recovered by the Broncos. The offense takes over from its own 18. Cutler tries to get the ball out quickly to his right, but it’s tipped at the line and then intercepted by Luis Castillo.
The Chargers have the ball at the Denver 14.
On first down, Rivers hands to Tomlinson, who finds his way into the end zone once more. After the extra point, the Chargers lead the Broncos 38-13.
9:41: Jackson finds space out to the 30-yard line on the return. Cutler and the offense are on the field, and the quarterback takes the snap in the shotgun formation. He tries to get it to Eddie Royal, but it’s knocked away at the last second.
On second down, Cutler finds Royal for a gain of eight. Now it’s third-and-2 for the Broncos at their own 38-yard line. The crowd is on its feet as Cutler drops back and launches it to Brandon Marshall for the first down.
The catch was Marshall’s 100th of the season.
8:28: The following catch on first down was his 101st. He picks up another first down for the Broncos, and on the ensuing play Cutler drops back and finds Tony Scheffler for another first down. That’s three consecutive first downs for the Broncos.
7:29: First-and-10 again, and Cutler is in the shotgun with Tatum Bell to his right. He hands off to the running back, but he’s brought down for no gain.
Second-and-10 for the Broncos at the Chargers 30-yard line. Cutler is in the shotgun, takes the snap, rolls to his right and takes off running. He picks up six yards.
Third-and-4 and the crowd is electric again — no pun intended. Cutler takes the snap in shotgun and has all day in the pocket before rolling to his right and throwing all the way back across the field to the left sideline. It’s tipped by Antonio Cromartie and almost hauled in by Brandon Marshall on a tip drill, but it falls incomplete.
6:16: Now it’s fourth-and-4 and the crowd is even louder. Cutler is alone in the backfield, and he finds Brandon Stokley calmly for the first down inside the San Diego 20.
5:35: The ball is at the 17, and Marshall takes a quick pass from Cutler and tries to find some space — but he’s brought down for a loss of three.
On second-and-13, Cutler has Bell to his right in the backfield. Royal goes in motion and Cutler takes the snap before quickly throwing to Stokley for a pickup of eight.
At the 12-yard line, the Broncos are faced with a third-and-5. Cutler is alone in the backfield and there are five receivers on the play. He tries to loft a pass to Bell on the left side but he’s hit almost immediately by Cromartie as the ball flies over his head.
4:17: Fourth-and-5. Cutler takes the snap, drops back and finds Stokley again for what would have been a first down inside the five — but the ball slides through his hands with Antoine Cason in coverage. The Chargers take over on downs at their own 12-yard line.
4:09: Tomlinson takes the handoff on first down, but he’s brought down by Nate Webster after a yard. On second down, Rivers drops back and hands off to Sproles, who reverses field but is brought down quickly after a gain of four yards by Elvis Dumervil.
On third-and-5, the Broncos make some substitutions on defense. Dre’ Bly is almost there to make a stop before the Chargers get a first down, but Legedu Naane takes the ball to the 25-yard line for the first.
2:19: Rivers tries to get the ball to Jacob Hester, but the fullback drops the ball on first down with D.J. Williams in coverage. Second-and-10. The San Diego offense breaks its huddle and there are two receivers out wide. Rivers hands to Sproles, who jukes one defender before being brought down quickly by Nic Clemons after a gain of three.
Third-and-7 for the Chargers, and Rivers is in the shotgun. He drops back and finds Sproles on a screen pass — but D.J. Williams busts it up before the first down with a big hit on the diminuative running back.
Royal is back to receive the punt for the Broncos, but he waves everyone away as it bounces out of bounds. The Broncos offense will take over at its own 25-yard line.
0:43: Marshall hauls in a Cutler pass on first down and picks up 12 yards for the first down. On the ensuing play, Cutler drops back and fires one for Royal near midfield for another first down.
That brings the third quarter to a close. The Chargers lead the Broncos 38-13.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com