Broncos v. Chargers Report Card

The Denver Broncos made a few big plays against the Chargers, forcing a pair of costly fumbles on blitzes. John Lynch sacked Drew Brees in the end zone and forced a fumble that set up a Broncos touchdown. Read how the Broncos graded out in the game.

REPORT CARD VS. CHARGERS

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- The Broncos didn't pass the ball well in the first quarter or when backup Bradlee Van Pelt played in the second half. Van Pelt completed only two passes for 7 yards after halftime. Denver completed a few passes to keep some drives going in the second quarter.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Van Pelt didn't throw the ball well, but the kept the offense moving by running for 41 yards. Ron Dayne had 64 yards rushing in the second half, and Tatum Bell had three touchdowns. The only problem was Bell didn't have many yards in his first career start against a tough Chargers defense.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Broncos made a few big plays, forcing a pair of costly fumbles on blitzes. John Lynch sacked Drew Brees in the end zone and forced a fumble that set up a Broncos touchdown. Brees was knocked out of the game on that play. Lynch hit Philip Rivers in the second half and caused another fumble that was recovered by San Diego in the end zone for a safety. The Broncos kept the pressure on Rivers when he entered the game and forced him to miss some passes.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- LaDainian Tomlinson had a few nice runs in the first half. After Denver took a 16-7 lead early in the second half, San Diego got away from trying to run the ball. Denver did a good job all season stopping the run, although it helped that the Broncos usually went into the second half with the lead.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- The Broncos had an average game on special teams. P Todd Sauerbrun hit a few nice kicks, and Denver didn't have or allow any long returns. The only problem was Jason Elam missed a short field goal.

COACHING: A -- Mike Shanahan managed his team brilliantly all season, down to the final game. Most teams rest their starters in the final, meaningless regular-season game, but Shanahan had his team play hard. No healthy starters sat with injuries, and the only starters who were pulled at halftime were QB Jake Plummer and WR Rod Smith. The Broncos didn't suffer any key injuries and stayed sharp by playing a strong game before the playoffs begin.



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