Foir those of you paying attention the Broncos inactives include – Kyle Orton as the 3rd QB, CB Champ Bailey, RB Laurence Maroney, CB Chevis Jackson, OL Jeff Byers, OL Stanley Daniels, OL Eric Olsen and DL Louis Leonard.
Kickoff is set, perfect time for a cold one and with any luck at all this actually might be fun…
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Not sure if I mentioned it, but I can't stand Philip Rivers – I do however love a good fly over - just for the record… Chargers win the toss and thanks to a lackluster special teams unit will begin their drive justr short of their own 40. Apparently there's more than a few people in Denver that share my sentiments for Rivers, who would have thought?
Despite the short field Chargers hit the wall and Tebow time officially begins – albeit, short lived. Broncos roll three and out but do grab some style points on a Tebow rocket that slipped through the hands of Brandon Lloyd – near perfect pass, near perfect catch, almost. At least it woke up the crowd – Colquitt sends it deep.
SD Part Two has roughly the same success as Part One – Broncos D steps it up nicely and Rivers folds under the pressure. TT and Co. get another shot from their own 20 – make that the 15, Kuper gets the flag on a false start.
Credit for trying – Tebow is dying to send it deep, unfortunately the Chargers toss out double coverage and it's picked – growing pains are tough – SD will take it on their own 42.
Believe it or not, Rivers still looks rattled, a dangerous sign. Defensive pressure continues and Mr. Congeniality returns the favor– Renaldo Hill cuts off Malcom Floyd and Denver grabs its first turnover of the afternoon – crowd is absolutely crazy.
It's only a matter of time – and you had to know it was coming… Tebow pops out a beautiful six play, 40-yard drive, including a critical third and eight scramble for the first and suddenly the kid's the toast of the town – Broncos light the board and Chargers are playing from behind… at least temporarily. Quarter comes to a close with the Rivers and the Bolts starting to make some noise of their own…
Ok, noise made – eight plays, 76-yards and a giant slew of missed tackles later San Diego strikes gold – Ryan Matthews waltzes in from 27-yards out and it's a whole new ballgame – so much for momentum.
Broncos follow up with what could kindly be described as a giant waste of time – four total plays resulting in a loss of three yards – Rivers gets another crack starting at midfield.
Advantage taken – short field and easy points… D holds tight and the Chargers settle for the field goal – Kaeding connects from 42 and Bolts grab the first lead of the day 10-7.
Got that queasy feeling this is just the start of things for SD… hoping it's just indegestion.
Give these guys enough chances and they'll bury you – Bolts follow Denver's three and out with another long drive and another Nate Kaeding field goal. Momentum hasn't shifted – it's taken a vacation…
Broncos are living up to their record.
Change of pace – back to back running plays knock off 23-yards – nice start. Studesville looks to stir things up and pulls the wild card – end around - looses eighteen yards – So. Cal media is still laughing about that one. Drive dies shortly thereafter.
Needless to say – nobody's busting out the highlight reel – Chargers follow suite and close the half with a third Nate Kaeding field goal… 16-7 can't feel good.
Slight chorus of boos as Denver heads toward the tunnel.
Those of you hoping for Broncos second-half turnaround, ala last week, might want to rethink your position… Moreno bolted for a sweet 35 on the opening play but it went straight downhill after that – closing out with Tebow's second INT of the day. Chargers take full advantage – Ryan Matthews caps it on a 12-yard dance to the end zone – Bolts breaking it open 23-7.
Officially resorting to the Cut and Paste approach – three plays and they're still looking at negative yardage – Colquitt sends it back to the kids with the lead.
Kids with the lead don't waste it – Kaeding may be looking at career numbers at this rate – his fourth of the afternoon splits it from 37 – Chargers on top 26-7.
In a reckless attempt to keep fans from leaving Invesco, Tebow takes matters into his own hands – single handedly rushing for 49-yards on three keepers. End result the Broncos move the chains and light the board – crowd comes back to life. Drive culminates with Eric Deckers first NFL touchdown – six-yard toss from the Messiah. Denver closes the gap 26-14.
Just over three left in the quarter and Denver faces it most important defensive stand of the day – curious to see how they handle it...
Situation in hand – Bolts grab enough real estate for Kaeding's range but his toe turns south – 53-yarder shanks right and the prospect of a comeback hasn't completely died.
Riding the Tebow bandwagon is nice but it's getting a little predictable – back to back runs come one yard short – Ball gets the carry on third down and drops a yard – 4th and two and Studesville gambles – Tebow on the ground for one – three lousy feet short, three lousy feet and the Chargers take possession on their own 48.
Way too easy – Rivers moves the chains and on fourth and one from the 31 Matthews decides he'd rather get a touchdown than a first down and apparently has no trouble convincing his teammates – Broncos get backslapped – Bolts increase it 33-14.
In one of those rare "In Your Face" moments Cassius Vaughan rips a 96-yard kickoff return as the building explodes – momentum carries on to the defense and Rivers gets bullied – Kaeding can't even save the drive – Denver's defense makes a statement – scoreboard stands at 33-21.
Clock continues to roll and the Broncos can't convert on fourth to save their lives – Tebow to Lloyd, looking for an easy six, falls incomplete – Chargers take possession on ANOTHER short field.
Rivers winds it down under three – forcing the Broncos to burn all three timeouts. Scifres with the punt and the die-hards continue to scream. Tebow Time equates to 2:49 with a 12 point gap… not impossible – but then again not likely.
For what it's worth - it was exciting – 12 plays, 92-yards and TT caps it on the ground from six – Denver's back in it 33-28 but time certainly isn't smiling.
WOW - I can't believe it – squib kick hits the ground and Denver comes up with it… One last shot with twenty-three seconds – nice to have Tebow around isn't it…
No guts, no glory, no good - back to back end zone bombs fall short as does the Broncos season - but, believe it or not - there IS light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to wait about six months to see it.
Postgame Notes and Quotes to follow
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past twelve-years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio and Internet stations around the country. You can follow all of Schon's updates on Twitter - Facebook or drop him an email at Michael John Schon
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