Welcome to Week Five in a battle of two teams striving for mediocrity - Chargers come into the contest at 1-3 while the Broncos slide by a 2 - 2. It's thirty-minutes till game time and here's Denver's inactives: WR Javon Walker, S Hamza Abdullah, DE Simeon Rice, DT Antwon Burton, S Steve Cargile, Ot Ryan Harris and TE Stephen Alexander.
Clock is winding down on a beautiful afternoon here in the 5250 - I'm ready - Let's bring it...
Broncos take the kick five-yards deep and Cutler and Co. take it at the twenty - first drive is going to be huge - Travis Henry on the ground picks up a quick four. Brandon Marshall is . amazing - seven-yard pass and it takes about half of the Chargers "D" to stop him. Cutler's moving it downfield - toss to Young nets a first at the forty. An incompletion and a short run off tackle brings third and six - out of the shotgun Cutler misfires on a shot to Stokley and Sauerbrun heads to midfield. Special teams gives up a big run - SD takes it near the twenty-seven.
SD turns to Tomlinson - Nick Ferguson gets him five-yards behind scrimmage. L.T gets two of them back but it brings up third and twelve. Rivers to LT - breaks it lose for a 36-yard gain. Chargers are fired up - Broncos are backpeddling. LT's killing them - Rivers connects with Antonio Gates and San Diego's knocking on the door. Rivers caps it off rolling to his right and San Diego goes on top 7-0 with the QB bootleg.
It's an early morning nightmare - Brian Clark fumbles the return and SD takes it In for a 23-yard runback - two touchdown less than .30 sec apart - Welcome to the misery of the Broncos. SD pulls it out 14-0.
Well let's try this one again - Broncos luck out - it's a touchback no chance for a fumble - here comes Cutler at the twenty. Playing it steady - Broncos start to roll - thanks in part to pass interference - Broncos close in on midfield.at the 46. Cutler to Scheffler to the 36- 19-yard pickup. Cutler to Marshall - ball is stripped as he crosses the ten - guess what - it's another turnover for Denver. The first crack at a score and Denver folds. This is getting ugly - don't hold your breath on a comeback at this rate.
Chargers take it at the nine and continue the onslaught, closing in on midfield as the quarter comes to an end. Shanahan's desperately trying to find a way to forget about this one….
LT is single-handedly destroying Denver - moving down inside the ten. - Here's a new one - they're booing in Denver. Don't be surprised if the don't bust out the Marty, Marty, Marty, chant before the afternoon is over. Drive stalls in the redzone and San Diego settles for a short three to take a 17-0 lead.
I'm gonna just start cutting and pasting "Broncos drive stalls" it'll make it so much easier. Denver hasn't had one respectable drive in the first half - outside of the last one that ended with the Marshall fumble. Looks like the Rockies are taking this town over - Mile High crowd is heading to the beer stands for consolation.
Chargers take over for their third drive of the game - they've got a 17-0 lead and they're only starting their third drive of the day - that's sad. Broncos D tightens up and hold LT before he can inflict any more damage. Another first for the Chargers - they have to punt.
Denver's looking at one last chance to avoid total first half humiliation. Cutler's got them moving and we're under two minutes. Chargers tighten the grip and Shanahan decides to play it safe and trots out Elam for an easy chip shot. Broncos light the scoreboard as fans continue to express their dismay - Chargers on top 17-3 with a buck and change left in the half.
San Diego takes it and I'm praying they run out the clock. No such luck - Michael Turner breaks lose on a 43-yard run, well inside Broncos territory. Nate Keeding trots out to pile it on… split's the uprights. Hang on it's a penalty and it's brought back - Not that it really matters - Keeding nails it again and Denver limps off trailing 20-3. I hope the Broncos enjoy the AFC cellar - if things don't change quickly they'll be permanent residents.
From what I've seen - this Tomlinson kid is pretty good. Chargers continue the game plan and Denver doesn't seem to be able to stop it. Rivers breaks it up with Antonio Gates - making iot look easy. It's first and on the Broncos 40 - holding on San Diego draws the biggest crowd applause in the past two hours - take 2 from the 47 - illegal procedure moves it back even further. Nate Webster nails LT for a loss of three and another flag - Is San Diego self imploding? Not exactly - Rivers connects with Vincent Jackson on a 45-yard reception. Nice way to break out of a second and thirty-three hole. Perfect pass on the play - Ian Gold had decent coverage, but Rivers hit the mark - and Denver's in deep trouble again.
Chargers continue to move as the wind begins to pick up - second and seven from the ten. Rivers rolls out and hits Gates for ANOTHER score - PAT is good and Denver's looking at a 23-7 defecit. You think the embarrassment factor will have any play in this on the next possession - me either.
Cutler takes it on the twenty. Two plays later the Broncos are facing a third and six Cutler connects with Glenn Martinez who gets hammered - ball pops loose and San Diego brings it back inside the ten. Shanny challenges - play is overturned and ruled an incompletion - finally a break. Denver holds onto it at the 34. Cutler to Scheffler for 17 - Cutler to Stokley moves it inside Chargers territory. Cutler airs it out again - perfect pass to the Chargers secondary McCree picks it at the five. It's getting to a point of ridiculousness - and the faithful's heading back for more beer.
Blah - Blah - Blah... the punishment continues - Rivers connects with Jackson from fifteen-yards out and the pile grows deeper at 34-3. Shanahan's busy checking the rule book for a mercy clause. There should be a point where they at least serve cocktails in the press box.
NOTE: Somewhere in all the excitement the third quarter came to a close. It's the final quarter and all I can think of is how happy I am I won't be hitting traffic on the way home.
First team offense takes the stage again - Chargers are beginning to laugh. Drive actually materializes into something worthwhile - then again how hard can SD be trying at this stage. Cutler moves it inside the red zone but falls short on fourth down and it's San Diego's world today.
One play - one more score - Michael Turner takes it for 74-yards and the closest person to tackling him turns out to be the popcorn dude… it's 41-3 and we're still looking at seven some odd minutes on the clock. Inveco Field electricians are checking to see if the scoreboard is capapabe of triple digits. This is the worst home loss in Invesco history - that's something to be proud of.
Something must be wrong with the clock - this is taking forever. You can count the number of fans left on one hand. Give San Diego credit - LT's on the sidelines in a lounge chair as we hit the two minute warning.
Game-set-match, I'm thankful it's over, so are the Broncos. Getting spanked 41-3 is certainly not an easy way to head into your bye week.
Stats (for those of you who are still awake) will be posted shortly.
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten 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 stations around the country.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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