For the fourth straight season, the Denver Broncos are a ten-win football team.
The Broncos were in control from the beginning, starting the quarter with a long touchdown drive to take a 7-0 lead early in the game. Despite the easy nature of Denver’s win on Sunday, that first drive, which was capped off with a touchdown strike from Brock Osweiler to Demaryius Thomas, was the only sustained offensive series to result in a Broncos touchdown.
In fact, the Broncos offense was mostly mediocre against the lowly Chargers defense. That unit put up just 10 points and 293 yards of total offense. Quarterback Brock Osweiler finished his third career start going 16-of-26 for 166 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
Playing in relief of five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning, who sat out once again with a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot, Osweiler showed flashes of the brilliance that defined his gutsy fourth quarter performance that beat the New England Patriots on national television last Sunday. However, he often held onto the football far too long and forced the ball downfield.
Thankfully for Osweiler, head coach Gary Kubiak did not ask him to win the game for Denver. Instead, Kubiak relied on Denver’s running game to churn the clock and move the chains. The Broncos rushed for a combined 134 yards between six different ball-carriers.
In all, the Broncos offensive statistics were middling at best. However, they didn’t need more than that thanks to a brilliant performance from their counterparts on the other side of the ball.
The Denver defense returned to the early season form that had many experts hailing them as the second coming of the Orange Crush. The Broncos forced three turnovers and put intense pressure on Philip Rivers all day, sacking him four times.
The Broncos would add to their injury report before Sunday's game was over, losing tight end Vernon Davis and linebacker Danny Trevathan to a concussion, defensive back Omar Bolden to a hamstring injury, and safety David Bruton to a knee injury. However, on Sunday, it was less about who wasn't on the field for the Broncs defense, and more about who was.
Linebacker Von Miller appears to finally be taking on the role many expected he would at the beginning of the season. Miller recorded four tackles, sacked Rivers twice, and forced a Melvin Gordon fumble.
Head coach Gary Kubiak was thrilled with his team’s effort after the game.
“I'm proud of the win,” Kubiak said. “We are beat up. We played great defense all day. We need our depth to keep stepping up”
The Broncos will take a three-game win streak home with them ahead of next week’s matchup with the sinking Oakland Raiders.