COIN TOSS: With alumni captain Gary Zimmerman joining the current 2009 captains, the Broncos have won the toss and elected to receive.
Q1 – 14:54: Nate Kaeding’s kickoff sails two yards deep into the end zone. It is picked up by Eddie Royal and returned to the Broncos’ own 26-yard line.
Q1 – 14:23: Starting for the Broncos: Chris Simms, Knowshon Moreno, Brandon Marshall, Jabar Gaffney, Eddie Royal, Daniel Graham, Ryan Clady, Russ Hochstein, Casey Wiegmann, Chris Kuper, Tyler Polumbus. Moreno takes the first carry off right tackle for seven yards. A 15-yard face mask on San Diego propels Denver to midfield.
Q1 – 13:32: Moreno takes another carry off to the right side for eight yards. He is spelled by Correll Buckhalter, who again takes the handoff right for eight yards and another first down.
Q1 – 11:36: Buckhalter picks up a solid four yards on first down, moving the Broncos to the Chargers’ 30-yard line. Moreno comes back in for three yards up the middle, setting up 3rd and 3 from the San Diego 27-yard line. Running for a sixth consecutive time, Moreno goes right up the middle for eight more yards and a Broncos first down.
Q1 – 10:35: Simms hands off to Buckhalter for a modest two-yard gain. Working out of the shotgun on second down with four wide receivers, Simms has the ball stripped out of his hand by Shaun Phillips. It is recovered by Steve Gregory and returned to San Diego’s own 31-yard line.
Q1 – 9:25: Starting on defense for the Broncos: Kenny Peterson, Ronald Fields, Ryan McBean, Mario Haggan, D.J. Williams, Andra Davis, Elvis Dumervil, Andre’ Goodman, Champ Bailey, Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins. LaDainian Tomlinson takes San Diego’s first play four yards off right tackle. Philip Rivers executes play-action on second down, finding Vincent Jackson near the right sideline for 11 yards and a first down.
Q1 – 8:54: Tomlinson finds a seam in the center of the Broncos’ defense, rumbling up the middle before breaking out left for 21 yards and a Chargers first down at the Broncos’ 33-yard line.
Q1 – 7:22: Darren Sproles spells Tomlinson, gaining eight yards on the first-down carry. The Broncos blitz on second down and stop Sproles in his tracks for a one-yard loss. Dumervil and Darrell Reid brought the pressure, setting up a 3rd and 3 for San Diego. Rivers dropped back before the play was whistled dead for a Chargers timeout.
Q1 – 7:15: With a nickel down in play, Jarvis Moss, Vonnie Holliday and Ty Law are in for the Broncos. Out of the shotgun, Rivers finds time and completes to Malcom Floyd for 17 yards. Law makes the tackle, but Holliday is called for a roughing-the-passer penalty. San Diego now has a first-and-goal at the Broncos’ 5-yard line.
Q1 – 5:58: On first down, Rivers is flushed out of the pocket by Fields and Dumervil and forced to throw the ball away. Tomlinson gets the carry on second down, pushing the pile ahead to the two-yard line before meeting Hill and Williams. Rivers goes into the shotgun on third-and-goal, and finds Legedu Naanee over the middle for a 2-yard touchdown strike. Nate Kaeding tacks on the extra point.
CHARGERS 7, BRONCOS 0
Q1 – 5:57: Kaeding’s kickoff flies three yards deep into the end zone. Royal takes a knee, and the Broncos will start at their own 20-yard line.
Q1 – 5:33: With Simms in at quarterback, the Broncos sport two tight ends on first down in Graham and Tony Scheffler. The same offensive line is in for the second series, with Gaffney and Marshall in at wide receiver and both tight ends lining up out wide. Simms finds Gaffney on the left side for a 7-yard gain on first down.
Q1 – 4:00: Facing 2nd and short, Moreno goes off left tackle for a run. But Graham’s illegal motion penalty sets the Broncos back five yards to their own 22-yard line. Simms goes play-action, finding Peyton Hillis in the right flat for a modest 3-yard gain. On 3rd and 5, Simms lines up in the shotgun with Moreno and Buckhalter as split backs. Wiegmann is whistled for a false start, backing the Broncos up into a 3rd and 10 from their own 20.
Q1 – 3:10: Lining up in the same formation, Simms is sacked by Chargers ILB Kevin Burnett. The seven-yard loss forces Mitch Berger to come in for his first punt. Sproles fields it and fumbles it out of bounds at the Chargers’ 42-yard line. A Bronco was in the vicinity, but the Chargers will start at their own 43-yard line.
Q1 – 1:49: The Chargers line up in a Wildcat formation on first down, with the direct snap going to Tomlinson. McBean sniffs out the play, stopping him for a modest one-yard gain. Rivers comes back behind center on second down, firing a quick pass left to fullback Mike Tolbert. Brian Dawkins was right there to make the play, and San Diego is backed into a 3rd and 8 situation. Flags fly before the play gets off, as Jarvis Moss is called for an offsides penalty.
Q1 – 1:00: Now in third-and-short, Rivers completes a short pass over the middle to Malcom Floyd. He picks up five yards into Broncos’ territory, giving the Chargers a first down at the 45-yard line.
Q1 – 0:00: Tomlinson lines up in the Wildcat again, going left before lateraling to Vincent Jackson. Jackson lateraled back to Sproles, but the double-reverse was no issue for Renaldo Hill. Hill hit Sproles at the ankles for a one-yard gain. The first quarter has come to a close, with San Diego facing a 2nd and 9 from the Denver 44-yard line when we reconvene.
END OF FIRST QUARTER – CHARGERS 7, BRONCOS 0
Q2 – 15:00: One injury to report from the San Diego side. DE Luis Castillo has left the game with a calf injury and is questionable to return. The Chargers line up with a trips right formation on second down, with Rivers finding Jackson over the middle for a 13-yard gain and a first down at the Denver 31-yard line.
Q2 – 14:35: Tomlinson tests the center of the Broncos’ defense on first down, but Andra Davis stops him for a one-yard gain. Rivers goes back to the air on second down, finding Antonio Gates on a crossing pattern for 10 yards and another Chargers’ first down.
Q2 – 13:05: Tomlinson takes the pitch right, but can’t get by the Broncos’ wall as Champ Bailey stops him for a two-yard loss. The Chargers bring in four wide receivers on second down and Rivers finds Malcom Floyd on a curl route for nine yards. Facing 3rd and 3 from the Denver 13, Rivers opts to use his second timeout of the first half.
Q2 – 11:45: With four wide receivers in tow, Rivers works out of the shotgun. He gives the draw to Tomlinson, who is met head on by D.J. Williams and Brian Dawkins. The two-yard gain sets up 4th and 1 from the 11-yard line. San Diego brings in Kaeding for a 28-yard field goal attempt and he splits the uprights. After the play, Marcus Thomas is called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which will be assessed on the kickoff.
CHARGERS 10, BRONCOS 0
Q2 – 10:54: Thanks to the penalty, Kaeding kicks off from his own 45-yard line and sends the ball out of the end zone for a touchback. The Broncos will get started at their own 20-yard line.
Q2 – 10:06: Simms leads the offense onto the field in a three wide receiver set. Moreno goes off right tackle but is stopped for a loss of one yard. Out of the shotgun on second down, Simms looks for Marshall on the right side, but the pass is batted at the line of scrimmage by Shaun Phillips. On third-and-11, Simms has time and looks to go deep to Royal, who is tripped up by a Chargers defender. Offsetting holding penalties on Ryan Clady and Quentin Jammer cause a replay of third down.
Q2 – 9:52: Simms looks for Royal again over the middle, but the pass is broken up by Jammer. Berger is back in to punt, with Sproles back to receive. The kick is fielded by Sproles at his own 27-yard line, but he falls victim to a great ankle tackle by Josh Barrett. San Diego will start at that spot after a net 54-yard punt.
Q2 – 8:45: One injury update for the Broncos. Brian Dawkins has sustained a neck injury and his return is questionable. Rivers drops back on first down, buys some time and finds Jackson for a nine-yard gain. The Chargers go back to the run on second down, as Tomlinson finds a gap up the middle for enough to move the chains.
Q2 – 7:07: With Dawkins getting treatment on the sideline, rookie Darcel McBath enters as his replacement. Tomlinson gets another carry, but is stopped by Marcus Thomas after a two-yard gain. Rivers finds Malcom Floyd on a quick pass in the right flat, setting up 3rd and 1 from the San Diego 47-yard line. With the Chargers lining up in trips right, the Broncos use their first timeout of the half.
Q2 – 6:36: Out of the timeout, Rivers lines up with four wide receivers at his disposal. With Andre’ Goodman in coverage, he finds Vincent Jackson on a deep sideline route for 23 yards and a first down into Broncos territory.
Q2 – 4:28: With a first down at the Denver 30-yard line, Tomlinson is stopped for no gain by McBath, who comes up from his safety spot for the big play. With Sproles now in at tailback, Rivers completes to fullback Jacob Hester, who is stopped in the backfield by Williams for a loss of six yards. Backed into 3rd and 16, Rivers swings the ball out to Sproles, but McBath stops him well short of the marker after a seven-yard gain.
Q2 – 4:19: Nate Kaeding comes in to attempt a 47-yard field goal, and converts it.
CHARGERS 13, BRONCOS 0
Q2 – 4:03: Royal takes Kaeding’s kickoff at the goal line. He finds a seam on the right side and returns to the 38-yard line. The crowd is ignited by Kyle Orton’s entrance on to the field, as he replaces Chris Simms.
Q2 – 3:03: Orton swings the ball out to Marshall on first down, but he is stopped for a two-yard loss. Orton goes back to the 6-foot-4 well on second down, finding Marshall for a 22-yard gain and a first down into Chargers territory.
Q2 – 1:58: With time to throw, Orton finds Jabar Gaffney in a sea of San Diego white. Gaffney breaks a pair of tackles, and is stopped at the four-yard line after a 38-yard gain. With a first-and-goal, Moreno takes the carry and loses the football. San Diego recovers in the end zone for a touchback, as the ball was ripped free by Jacques Cesaire.
Q2 – 1:57: We’ve reached the two-minute warning, but the Broncos are challenging the ruling on the field of a fumble. Moreno was close to breaking the plane before the ball fell loose, and referee Ron Winter will now take a look in the replay booth.
Q2 – 1:36: The ruling on the field stands, as the Broncos are charged their second time out. San Diego starts at its own 20-yard line, with Sproles as the lone setback. Antonio Gates goes in motion to the right and Sproles follows him, picking up five yards.
Q2 – 1:13: On 2nd and 5 from the 25, Sproles picks up three yards, prompting the Broncos to use their final timeout of the first half.
Q2 – 0:24: Out of the timeout, the Broncos’ defense makes a stand, as Sproles is stopped for a loss of one yard by D.J. Williams. Mike Scifres comes in for his first punt to the chants of “Eddie! Eddie!” emanating from the crowd. Scifres’ punt has some backspin and takes a Denver-friendly roll to the Broncos’ 45-yard line.
Q2 – 0:19: With Orton again in at quarterback, his first pass is intercepted along the sideline by Antonio Cromartie. He sniffed out the route and tiptoed along the sideline, returning it to the San Diego 42-yard line.
Q2 – 0:00: Tomlinson is stopped by Vonnie Holliday for no gain, and that is the final play of the first half. Switch over to our second half blog to follow all the action over the final 30 minutes of regulation.
HALFTIME: CHARGERS 13, BRONCOS 0