So, this should be fun… it's all on the line in So. Cal. - one team coming in with a three game winning streak – one team on the heels of a three game slide – suffice to say the confidence level in the Mile High City is not what it used to be. Then again, neither is the media buffet in S.D. so what do I know.
Here's the Denver inactives… S Marlon McRee, CB Jack Williams, RB Alex Haynes, FB Andrew Pinnock, LB Niko Koutouvides, G Pat Murray, TE Chad Mustard and DE Jarvis Moss.
Opening kick is less than an hour – it's time to grab a cold one, buckle it up and get ready to rock. This one's gonna be real interesting…
(Cutler's a punk… Matt Wilhelm / San Diego Chargers)
Ok, so… your point? I'm curious to see the response – on field. By the way… if I hear that lame San Diego Superchargers song again I'm gonna blow a lung…
(Rivers is a punk... Schon / Broncos Update)
Chargers take the kick and break out all the stops – reverse to Tomlinson picks up a quick 17. Back to back for Tomlinson – but it's brought back with a flag – and Bailey is on the sidelines hurt – not a good sign. Deep toss to Jackson draws a pass interference penalty on Denver and it's all unraveling early. Ekuban comes up big – sack Riversand it's brings up third and 17. No go for Rivers – Keading's on for the field goal and SD takes an early 3-0 lead.
Looks like a left elbow injury for Bailey – return is questionable…
Broncos return to the 27 and it's JC time under a roar of boos… Out of the shotgun quick toss to Royal is a bust – loss of 4 – deep to Scheffler along the sideline picks up 16 – take that… Incomplete to Marshall – out of reach – through the air to Graham is just short of the first – Tatum Bell up the middle and the Broncos get another set of downs.
QB draw is picked up easily by the Chargers – loss of 2. Nice shot to Stokley and it's another Denver first down – inside Chargers territory at the 35. Mr. Cellphone carries it to the 26. Quick toss to Marshall is dropped – through his fingers – his 18th drop this season. Back to Bell and he carries it home – off tackle for a Denver touchdown. False start on the PAT and it's moved back a few – it really doesn't matter – Prater misses it anyway – good luck finding a job next season.
Short kick by Prater – Chargers return to the 27. Good news for Denver – Bailey's back. LT on the ground – no gain. A series of missed tackles give Jackson a first down reception at the 38. Rivers goes deep – finds Jackson – against Bailey – 37-yard gain. Here's a break – sack by Robertson, picks up one. LT up the middle – D.J. Williams on the stop but the Chargers are down to the 17. Flags fly – DJ Williams gets tagged for a personal foul with a slap to the head. Chargers are inside the ten. LT down to the 2. Back to Tomlinson and the cannon sounds – San Diego touchdown. This is gonna be a shootout - Chargers on top 10-6.
Broncos take possession at the 25 – Quick shot to Graham for the first. Across the sideline to Royal just off his fingertips. Second and ten – Bell barely back to the line of scrimmage – brings up third and nine. Out of the shotgun – down to Scheffler but it comes up short – Kern's on to punt. Line drive returned just shy of the 30.
Rivers is rocking it – deep ball down to the Broncos 34 – Denver's secondary is getting completely schooled. Quarter comes to a close with the Chargers in charge – 10-6.
LT is tearing it up – Chargers are inside the 30 – Delay of game on the Chargers. Rivers deep to the endzone – in-com-plete to Naanee. Out of the shotgun to Gates comes up inches short. Fourth down Rivers sneak nabs the first – Chargers get a new set of downs at the Broncos 15. Hester moves it to the a few. Rivers rolls out – hits Manumaleuna in the corner of the end zone for the score – this is getting out of hand quickly – Chargers roll out a dangerous 17-6 first half lead.
Sam Jackson brings it back to the 26 – and Cutler needs a big one. If Denver fails to score here there's problems. Cutler to Stokley – flags fly – hands to the face on SD – auto first. Threw the hands of Royal – AGAIN – brings up second down. Royal again along the sidelines – Broncos get flagged for a chop block on Bell– bring itr on back – 2nd and 25- incomplete to Royal and more flags fly – it's on Denver – declined brings up 3rd and 25 – Quick toss to Bell net a grand total of four – Broncos are forced to punt – Kern sails it to the 42 ands San Diego is defiantly in charge of this one…
This is almost getting mundane – Chargers are picking up more real estate than a zero down seminar – Broncos defense looks pathetic – Rivers moves it inside the twenty and keeps it rolling. Josh Bell continues to get beat – the entire Denver secondary continues to get beat. Jackson on the end around moves it down to the eight. Tomlinson in for the score… I think I need a drink. Chargers take a huge 24-6 lead – for all intense and purposes this game is done - say goodbye to the playoffs…
Broncos take the kick and are going through the motions - Cutler to Marshall moves it to the San Diego 30 – his first catch of the game. No huddle – Cutler to Stokley at the 14 - Cutler to Sheffler in the corner of the endzone – catch is made - officials rule it's a catch made out of bounds. Play closck starts at .10 – Cutler fires to Marshall and it's a pick by Paul Oliver – can we all just go home early? This isn't working – Denver's defense stinks – game- set – match – where's the beer?
First half comes to a close - Broncos are getting buried 24-6. It's gonna be a long flight home...
Can Cutler be a savior? Can we not get embarrassed? Can we make agame out of this? We'll see… Cutler takes the opening drive and seems to be moving things. Consecutive passes move it out to just past the 40. Toss to Scheffler moves the chains inside Chargers territory – down to the 43. Down to Royal at the 37 – quick toss to Bell and Mr. Cellphone takes it home – WOW (sarcastic) – 2:13 into the second half and Denver trims the lead to 11. Chargers on top 24-13 - I'm still not feeling it but at least we've got two scores on the board.
Prater's kicks fall ten-yards short of the end zone. At least he'll have time to fill out a resume on the flight home. LT busts it for 45-yards – his longest run of the season.
How many times have we heard that?
Denver's defense is absolutely abysmal. How many times have we heard that?
Darren Sproles – a 13-yard pass from Philip Rivers – San Diego touchdown and the Chargers slam it in the Broncos face – 31-13.
I swear to God – I barely had time to finish my bowl of stale popcorn and suddenly it's 38-13 San Diego. Cutler comes out and immediately gets picked by DE Luis Castillo on the screen – a DE? – yea, it's that kind of night. Rivers converts and one play later LT takes it in from 14 and the Chargers make it ridiculous.
Broncos respond in typical fashion, Cutler's pouting – Shanahan's desperate and I'm checking the airlines for an earlier flight. Drive stalls and the Chargers take over on downs at their own 11. I hate palm trees.
In a rare development the Chargers drive stalls and Mike Scifres makes an appearance and has to punt the ball – falls out of bound on the 25 – here comes JC – I can't believe this is taking so long.
Third quarter comes to a close and I'm so close to just bailing and heading to Tijuana for the night.
San Diego must be getting tired – Broncos pull down with a 7-play, 75-yard drive - like it matters at this stage – Cutler on the two-point conversions – it's good and Denver trails 38-21 with just over 13-minutes left in the season.
Broncos gift-wrap it to Sproles – kick is returned to the 34. Rivers makes it look easy – Broncos defense doesn't stand a chance – you can imagine what would happen against Peyton Manning. Six play, 66-yards and it's 45-21 with under ten minutes to go.
Denver is DONE – (like they weren't done about an hour earlier) and this entire season has come down to a pathetic defense, lame special teams, terrible kicking and an offense that at time can range from absolutely brilliant to positively incompetent. Toss in the most unbalanced coaching in the past decade and we've got a professional clusterbust in the 5280.
Welcome to the biggest collapse in NFL history - never before in the history of the league has a team, with a three game lead, heading into the final three games, chocked it off and failed to make the playoffs. That's really something to be proud of. The clock is winding down and I'm secretly hoping the Chargers can hit triple digits. I can't wait for the post game presser on this one.... Jay Cutler's impersenation of Eddie Haskel - check it out on you-tube if you want a laugh. So much for proving Wilhelm wrong...
I'm sorry - while I was busy ranting the Chargers took it to Shanahan in the shorts - Jacob Hester takes it in from 4-yards out and the Chargers finish off an 11 play, 70-yard drive and pile it on 52-21.
Game comes to a close and Cutler actually exchanges a handshake with Philip Rivers - about as uncomfortable as the last exchange with my ex-wife. Bet you $5.00 at least one of them spit on their hand beforehand.
Sad part - it never had to come down to this... Denver had three - count them THREE chances to put this away and grab the AFC West crown. Then again, playoffs are something that should be earned - and Denver did absolutly nothing to deserve a spot in this year's postseason. Four game losing streak to close out the season - I guess the Broncos pretty much got what they deserved. And until some major changes are made - that's the way it'll be for years to come.
Is Cutler a Punk? No - he's spoiled, he's smug and he's got the personality of a doorstop. But the fact is he can be a great quarterbck in this league - once he grows up. I'm just not sure whose willing to wait for that to happen.
On the defensive side - it's anybody's guess - D.J. Williams, Champ Bailey and Ebeneezer Ekuban are about the only players worth keeping - new coach, new system, new results? All I know is whatever we have now isn't working.
I hope this isn't what Shanahan is willing to settle for.
Maybe a new GM is in order...
Could it get any worse?
Quotes and stats to follow - for anyone that can actually bear through it...
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