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How I Saw It: Broncos Beat Chargers 39-38

September 16, 2008

Hey guys! Garrett here. Sorry I had nothing yesterday. I was on my plane back to California. But I do have a new column for you all by Jeff Winters of the Bronco Madness staff. He will review the games and put everything in his perspective. No word yet on how this will affect the Game Review & Prognosis. It will not be here this week but maybe next. Hope you guys enjoy!

Broncos Opening Drive:

The Broncos, Cutler in particular, looked very good out of the gate. Shanahan throws something different at the opposition every weekend and the game plan against the Chargers was clearly for Cutler to come out of the shotgun and deliver quick read passes with Marshall as primary target. All was going well until the penalties came. This reminded me a lot of last year. After the back to back penalties Cutler seemed thrown off his rhythm and a punt followed.

The Champ Bailey Interception

I still think it was a pick. Yeah, a tie goes to the receiver, but by the time Chambers got that ball into his body, Bailey had two hands between the ball and body and he immediately came up with the football. I don’t think a review would have overturned that play. I do think though that if one play is unable to be reviewed then that should be the case for the rest of the game.

Michael Pittman 1 yard TD run. Broncos 7-Chargers 0

The run game hasn’t been established as much as Broncos fans might like, but Andre Hall looked real good on this drive. Michael Pittman certainly seems to be the back that Shanahan will look at on the goal line, further frustrating fantasy football players.

Nate Kaeding Field Goal. Broncos 7- Chargers 3

It’s clear that LT is not going to be the kind of factor in this game that he has been in past Broncos-Chargers match-ups. At the time, I was very excited about that.

Jay Cutler 3 yard TD Pass to Tony Scheffler. Broncos 14- Chargers 3

Cutler still seemed a little off at this point. He gets Eddie Royal involved in the game and gets the deep pass to Brandon Marshall. The Broncos continue the two game tradition of embarassing “elite” QB’s to the point that they begin to look green. Antonio Cromartie can clearly not cover Brandon Marshall.

Jay Cutler 14 yard TD Pass to Tony Scheffler. Broncos 21- Chargers 3

The abuse of Cromartie continues and he is flagged for his second personal foul in as many drives. Picture perfect pass from Cutler to Scheffler. Is there a QB in the league today who consistently makes as many terrific passes as number 6?

Darren Sproles 103 yard kick return for a TD. Broncos 21- Chargers 10

Kick coverage continues to be a huge problem. It wasn’t good last week and it was worse this week. The return game has improved but this aspect of Broncos Special Teams is something that could plague us all year.

Matt Prater 52 yard field goal.  Broncos 24- Chargers 10

Another drive that was going along smoothly until back to back penalties. They were two penalties we seem to get hit with a lot too. Illegal formation, Shanahan runs so many different formations that it is easy to understand why guys sometimes get confused. The chop block, every team does it, we get called for it more than anybody else. Selvin Young takes a screen 49  yards to get us into field goal range. Prater shows that he can boot it, at least in the high altitude.

Philip Rivers 48 yard TD Pass to Chris Chambers.  Broncos 24- Chargers 17

Why is this game so close? Big plays. Some are quick to point out that Champ Bailey got “beat” on this play. Champ did not get beat, he was right on top of Chambers, but it was a perfect toss by Rivers. Bailey could have interfered to temporarily save the TD, but that’s not what Bailey is there for. Somebody tell me when he gives up more TD’s than picks and I’ll believe he’s lost a step.

Jay Cutler 6 yard TD Pass to Brandon Marshall.  Broncos 31- Chargers 17

This may go down as the drive where Jay Cutler went from the next great quarterback to a great quarterback. 8 of 10 on the drive and spread the ball around to everybody, just picking apart a good San Diego defense. Great catch from Marshall as well.


I wasn’t as confident as I should have been. We’ve been up on this Chargers team before and blew it and I had a bad feeling about this one. As time goes on I can only hope to have the kind of confidence I had in Elway when it comes to Cutler. With this team, I’m not overly confident even when we’re up by two touchdowns. With Elway I was sure we would win when we were down by two scores.

Philip Rivers 15 yard TD Pass to Chris Chambers.  Broncos 31- Chargers 24

This was the first time we saw the Chargers really take advantage of Karl Paymah. Great pass from Rivers as well who is better than I have ever really given him credit for. All of that being said, I’m not sure that Chambers ever had possession of the football. You will not hear the media bringing this play up though.

Two Broncos Punts and Two Chargers Field Goals. Broncos 31- Chargers 30

Going three and out after the SD Touchdown really changed the complexion of the game. It can be hard to get a crowd back into it after the half because they’re not all back in their seats yet. It doesn’t help when everything goes wrong for you in those first two drives. Kudos to the D for not breaking here, but they definitely bent. You could feel the game slipping away at this point.

Antoine Cason Intercepts Jay Cutler in the End Zone

The first really bad decision of the day made by Cutler. These are the passes that Jay needs to avoid in order to stay at the upper level of QB play that he has entered in the past couple of weeks.

Philip Rivers 66 yard TD Pass to Darren Sproles + 2 point conversion.  Broncos 31- Chargers 38

The Chargers almost immediately make the Broncos pay for Cutler’s mistake. The Chargers exploit an unusual formation by the Broncos linebacker corps and Sproles in open space has been bad news for the Broncos today.

The Broncos Final Drive

Jay Cutler gives me something else to rave about. Great QB’s overcome adversity. He throws the interception that could have cost his team the game and is able to erase it from his memory and lead his team back into position to retake the lead.

The Jay Cutler Incompletion….Fumble Lost….Dead Ball

What are you gonna say? It was a fumble and the Chargers should have gotten the ball. For the media and fans who want to blame the Chargers loss on Ed Hochuli though, ask yourselves these questions. Was Ed covering Brandon Marshall on any of his 18 catches? Was Ed on the Broncos O-Line that kept Cutler’s jersey clean all day? Was Ed wearing a visor and going down after first contact all day? Super Bowl caliber teams don’t look for excuses. They also don’t do what came next.

Jay Cutler 4 yard TD Pass to Eddie Royal.  Broncos 37- Chargers 38

After being beaten last week by a pass right over the middle you would think that the Chargers would be hyper aware of that play. They may have been, but it didn’t matter. Cutler finds the rookie wide open in the middle of the end zone. The Broncos are an extra point from tying it.

The Two Point Conversion.  Broncos 39- Chargers 38

Mike Shanahan must have been in a giving mood. He gives the Chargers one more chance. All you have to do is stop us from getting these three yards and the bad call won’t matter. They couldn’t do it. And worse, they got beat with a pass right over the middle in between three defenders. The Chargers have absolutely nobody to blame but themselves.

Final Thoughts

I don’t know if the defense or special teams are there yet, but this is a Championship Caliber offense. By Halloween Cutler to Marshall may be the best tandem in football. Royal was less involved this week but certainly played well enough to prove that last week was no fluke. Brandon Stokely continues to be great, particularly on third down. Tony Scheffler is really stepping up. Hall, Young and Pittman all contributed. This will be a fun team to watch all year. Let’s hope the defense catches up.

  1. September 17, 2008 7:56 AM

    Go Broncos! Great game, there were plenty of times that the Chargers could have held the Broncos to no points and shut them down for a win. The bottom line is that Big Ed missed a call, and San Diego had two shots at stopping Denver on both the touchdown, and the two point conversion. If they could have stopped them on either of those plays, they would have won the game. Of course they didn’t, Denver executed twice with the game on the line, and they got the win. It sucks for Chargers fans, but it’s time to move on to next week, and bring your A game when Denver heads back to San Diego on December 28th. Broncos 2-0, sweet! Offense is unstoppable this year, Go Broncos!!


  1. How I Saw It: Broncos Beat Chargers 39-38
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