COIN TOSS: Denver has won the toss and elected to receive to start the game.
KICKOFF: Quan Cosby is deep to receive the kickoff — and it’s a touchback.
Q1 15:00: The starting offense is on the field, led by Kyle Orton at quarterback. Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Orlando Franklin make up the offensive line. Willis McGahee is in the backfield. Brandon Lloyd is at receiver, and Daniel Fells and Virgil Green are at tight end. Chris Clark is in as a blocker as well. The first play of the game is a 4-yard run by McGahee.
Q1 14:00: After a 3-yard run by McGahee on second down, a pass to Eric Decker is incomplete, and Britton Colquitt is in to punt. Patrick Crayton is deep to return, and he takes it nearly to midfield after the 54-yard punt. It’s a 29-yard return to the Chargers 48-yard line.
Q1 13:31: The starting defense is on the field. Robert Ayers, Brodrick Bunkley, Kevin Vickerson and Elvis Dumervil are on the line. Von Miller, Joe Mays and D.J. Williams are at linebacker. Champ Bailey is back alongside Andre’ Goodman, Brian Dawkins and Rahim Moore in the secondary. San Diego’s first play is a run by Ryan Mathews for a gain of 6 yards.
Q1 13:01: On second down, it’s a pitch to Mathews for another run, and the second-year back picks up the first down. It’s Mathews again on the next play — San Diego is looking to pound the running game — and D.J. Williams is there for the tackle after 5 yards. Philip Rivers is in the shotgun and his pass is nearly intercepted by Brian Dawkins, but Williams unintentionally took Dawkins’ legs out from under him in coverage on Vincent Jackson, and the pass falls incomplete. That brings up third-and-5, and Rivers is in the shotgun yet again. The quarterback takes the snap, drops back and fires quickly to Mike Tolbert, who breaks a handful of tackles to pick up the first down in the red zone. Rahim Moore is down after the play, but he walks to the sidelines under his own power with trainers.
Q1 10:58: On the ensuing first down, Tolbert takes a carry for a 5-yard gain to the 9-yard line. It’s a pitch to Mathews on second down, and he picks up another yard to set up third-and-4 at the 8-yard line. Rivers is in the shotgun. He fires to Tolbert, but Wesley Woodyard — today’s Gameday program cover athlete — is there to make a big open-field tackle and force a fourth down. Nick Novak is in to attempt a 24-yard field goal — and it’s good, giving San Diego the early lead.
CHARGERS 3, BRONCOS 0
Q1 8:37: After a touchback, the Broncos offense takes back over on its own 20-yard line. McGahee picks up 2 yards on a first-down run. Second down has Orton in the shotgun, and he passes to Knowshon Moreno, who picks up 6 yards to set up third-and-2. It’s a run by McGahee, and the back finds a big hole down the right sideline, setting up a first down at the San Diego 47-yard line. On the ensuing first down, Orton throws an interception to linebacker Donald Butler on a pass intended for Fells, and the Chargers offense takes back over.
Q1 6:44: Moore is already back in the game, so no injury to report there. On first down, the Chargers pick up 2 yards on a run. On second down, Rivers throws an interception to Cassius Vaughn, who returns it to the house for a touchdown. Apparently this is going to be a defensive battle. Matt Prater’s extra point is up and in, and the Broncos retake the lead.
BRONCOS 7, CHARGERS 3
Q1 5:58: That was a 55-yard interception return by Vaughn, by the way. The Chargers have the ball at the 20 again after a touchback, and the first play is a run for no gain by Mathews — Joe Mays was there for the stop. On second down, Rivers hits Jackson on the sideline for a quick first down. On the next play, Mathews takes another carry and finds a hole down the sideline to pick up 36 yards to the Denver 33-yard line.
Q1 4:13: Tolbert takes a carry on the next play, picking up 4 yards. On second down, Rivers rolls out and hits Matthews on a dump-off pass for a first down at the 22-yard line. On first down, Tolbert is in the backfield, and he gets the carry, following his blockers to the 9-yard line for another first down.
Q1 2:21: On the ensuing first-and-goal, it’s another run by Tolbert, and he picks up 2 yards. On second down, Mathews goes in motion out wide, but Denver calls a timeout before the play — its first of the half.
Q1 1:28: Ryan McBean is there for the sack on second down after the timeout, chasing down Rivers for a 7-yard loss. It’s now third-and-goal at the 14-yard line. Rivers is in the shotgun. He takes the snap and fires incomplete in the end zone. There’s a Bronco down after the play — it’s Dawkins. He gets up to his knees as trainers arrive to check on him. The crowd applauds as the veteran safety stands up and walks to the sideline under his own power, flanked by trainers. We’ll update you on his status as we hear anything.
Q1 0:46: Novak’s 32-yard field goal is good, and the Chargers trail by a point.
BRONCOS 7, CHARGERS 6
Q1 0:45: It’s another touchback and the Broncos offense starts at its own 20-yard line. McGahee takes a carry and follows the blocking of Spencer Larsen for a 17-yard gain and a first down.
INJURY UPDATE: Dawkins has a neck injury, and his return is questionable.
Q1 0:00: Dante Rosario picks up 10 yards on a pass from Orton as the first quarter comes to a close. The Broncos have the ball at their own 47-yard line.
Q2 15:00: The stadium scoreboard just showed a memorial for the late Mike Heimerdinger, a former Broncos assistant coach who passed away last Friday. Now the Broncos are back on the field and Tim Tebow is in at quarterback. He keeps the ball and runs for a quick 2 yards. Orton is back in the game on second-and-8, and the quarterback fakes a handoff before firing incomplete. Now third-and-8, Orton is in the shotgun. He steps away from pressure and hits Fells right at the first-down marker — but there’s a flag on the play. It’s offsides on the defense. The penalty is declined, and the Broncos have a first down at the San Diego 48-yard line.
Q2 14:00: McGahee bounces away from tacklers yet again on first down, picking up 4 yards. The veteran back takes another carry on second down, fighting off tacklers for another first down at the 23-yard line. It’s a 16-yard gain on the rush, and the crowd is fired up.
Q2 12:45: It’s another McGahee carry on the next play, but the back is stopped for no gain. Moreno jogs onto the field for second down. Orton fires to Brandon Lloyd at the first down marker, but the receiver drops the pass as he is hit hard by Antoine Cason. That brings up third-and-10, and Moreno gets a screen pass, but the back is tackled short of the first down. Prater is in to attempt a 35-yard field goal — and it’s good, extending Denver’s lead.
BRONCOS 10, CHARGERS 6
*INJURY UPDATE:* Chargers running back Ryan Mathews has a calf strain, and his return is questionable.
Q2 11:10: After another touchback, Tolbert picks up 6 yards on first down for the Chargers. Second down brings a pass from Rivers to Kory Sperry for a big gain, and there’s a flag for roughing the passer on Robert Ayers. That gives San Diego a first down at the Denver 27-yard line. Looks like Rivers is yapping a little after he saw the flag. On the ensuing first down, it’s a pitch to Jacob Hester, and the fullback picks up 7 yards. It’s second-and-3 at the 20-yard line, and It’s Hester again. The fullback picks up a first-and-goal at the 4-yard line. There’s a scuffle after the play and flags are thrown. The crowd is booing as the refs try to sort things out. Things are getting relatively chippy out there — fouls by both teams is the call. Personal foul on Dumervil and Marcus McNeill for the Chargers. They offset and the Chargers have a first-and-goal.
Q2 8:56: Hester takes the first-down carry for 2 yards — Marcus Thomas and Ayers make the stop. On second-and-goal, Tolbert is in the backfield. The back is stuffed at the line by D.J. Williams and a group of tacklers, and the defense is fired up. Now it’s third-and-goal at the 2. Rivers takes off up the middle on a scramble, and he’s hit hard by Quinton Carter at the goal line, but he falls into the end zone for a touchdown. The quarterback spikes the ball and stares at the crowd before jogging back to the sideline. The extra point is up and in and the Chargers retake the lead.
CHARGERS 13, BRONCOS 10
Q2 7:19: Cosby returns the kickoff from 5 yards deep in the end zone and takes it out to the 23-yard line, where the offense will take over.
Q2 7:14: First down brings a play-action pass, but Orton is forced to throw it away when no one comes open. There’s a flag on the play — holding on the offense. The Broncos will replay first down at the 13-yard line. On first-and-20, McGahee picks up 3 yards. On second down, Orton throws incomplete intended for Decker. That makes it third-and-17, and Orton hits Daniel Fells, who gets back to just past the original line of scrimmage, bringing up fourth down. Britton Colquitt booms it to the waiting Patrick Crayton, who picks up some yardage on the sideline. It’s a 55-yard punt and a 13-yard return to the San Diego 34-yard line.
Q2 5:29: Rivers hits Malcom Floyd for a first down at the Denver 46-yard line. It’s a 20-yard gain. On the ensuing first down, Ryan Mathews is back in the game, and he gets inside the 30-yard line for another first down before being brought down by Dumervil. He gained 17 yards on the carry. Joe Mays crushes Mathews in the backfield on the next play — HUGE hit for a loss of 5. That makes it second-and-15, and Rivers steps up to the line. As Vincent Jackson goes in motion, Rivers calls San Diego’s first timeout of the half.
Q2 3:34: On second-and-15 after the timeout, Rivers lines up in the shotgun. He takes the snap and hits Hester on a screen pass. The fullback picks up 9 yards on the play. Now it’s third-and-6, and Rivers is in the shotgun again. He takes the snap and fires incomplete — but there’s a flag on the field. Personal foul on the defense for unnecessary roughness — a hit on a defenseless player. Didn’t see that live, looking for the replay. Looks like it wasn’t even where the pass went, it was closer to the goal line. Regardless, San Diego has a first down at the 12-yard line.
Q2 2:13: After a 2-yard run by Hester, Rivers is in the shotgun. He fires for what is nearly a touchdown by Malcom Floyd, but the pass is ruled incomplete — Floyd was out of bounds — and we’ve reached the two-minute warning.
Q2 2:00: It’s third-and-8 at the 10-yard line, and the crowd is getting loud. Rivers is nearly sacked and is forced to throw the pass away, bringing up fourth down. Looks like Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil applied the pressure. Novak is in to attempt a 28-yard field goal, and it’s good.
CHARGERS 16, BRONCOS 10
Q2 1:47: After a touchback, the Broncos have the ball at the 20-yard line. Orton quickly hits Decker, but the Chargers defense is there for the tackle behind the line of scrimmage. That makes it second-and-14, and Orton’s pass is incomplete intended for Lloyd. Now it’s third-and-14, and Orton is in the shotgun. He fires to Willis, but the receiver can’t hold on to the ball — it might have been tipped — and Colquitt is in to punt back to the Chargers. Crayton fields it and he’s brought down at the 46-yard line. It’s a 50-yard punt and a 12-yard return.
Q2 1:01: Rivers quickly finds Randy McMichael for a gain of 6 on first down. On second down, Mathews takes a carry, and he’s tripped up right at the first down marker. San Diego calls its second timeout with 34 seconds left, facing a third-and-1 at the Denver 45-yard line.
Q2 0:34: It’s a run by Mathews for the first down on the next play, and the clock continues to run. Rivers spikes the ball to stop the clock with 20 seconds remaining.
Q2 0:20: San Diego has a second-and-10 at the Denver 42-yard line. Rivers lines up in the shotgun. He takes the snap, pump fakes and fires down the sideline to Floyd for a 42-yard touchdown. Novak’s extra point is good.
CHARGERS 23, BRONCOS 10
Q2 0:00: The Broncos take a knee to end the half. See you in the second half blog.