A 53-yard Nick Novak field goal gave the Chargers an early first-quarter lead against the Broncos, 3-0.
The drive was fueled by 32 yards on the ground by Ryan Mathews on three carries. But the defense held strong down the stretch, stopping Mike Tolbert after a 5-yard gain, then forcing two Philip Rivers incompletions.
It was a nine-play, 45-yard drive — capped off by Novak’s career-long field goal — that took 3:26 off the clock. Denver, who won the opening coin toss and deferred, is now ready for its first offensive possession.