The Denver Broncos came into tonight’s matchup against the San Diego Chargers thinking that they would pick apart their bottom rung pass defense and that’s exactly what we thought would happen too. It wasn’t a case of if the Chargers would have a chance, it was would Peyton Manning possibly break the NFL single season touchdown record on Thursday?
San Diego had other plans as they jumped all over the Broncos to be a the AFC West leaders 27-20 to move themselves into a position to make a run at the sixth seed in the AFC.
The Chargers were a team we counted out and really shouldn’t have, and likely won’t after tonight’s spanking of the Denver Broncos. It was the other quarterback on the field that put on a show as Philip Rivers finished with just 12 completions on 20 attempts but he made all 12 count as best he could and managed the game brilliantly when he wasn’t dropping back.
Rivers was a star tonight but he owes a lot of that to the 34 rushing attempts that the Chargers had on the night as Ryan Mathews continued to look like the back the Chargers always thought he was. Mathews finished the game with 127 yards and touchdown which marked the fourth time this season that Mathews has gone over 100 yards rushing and the second time that he notched 127 yards on the ground.
The real story though will be how Peyton Manning looked as bad as he’s ever looked in a Broncos uniform. Denver is in no danger of missing the playoffs but they are in danger of losing a spot atop the AFC. Now at 11-3, Denver needs the Chiefs to lose on Sunday or risk being tied in the AFC West yet again. There’s also the matter of looking over their shoulder that the Patriots who may be without Rob Gronkowski but are still within striking distance of taking over the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
For the Chargers, the playoffs started tonight for them and so far things are going as they’d like them to. With the Ravens and Dolphins playing rough games against the Lions and Patriots this week, there’s a good chance that we end Week 15 with a three way 7-7 tie for the sixth seed in the AFC.
This game was riddled with as many playoff implications as it was mistakes by the Broncos. This isn’t a game the Broncos should have lost but they couldn’t have tried harder to do that. From bad penalties, including a brutal one on fourth down, to other mental mistakes, this is the most mortal we’ve seen the Broncos and it really is cause for concern in Denver.