RUSHING OFFENSE: C-minus -- Denver cracked 100 yards rushing, but its running game labored against a Chargers defense that hadn't played the run well. Knowshon Moreno started but didn't have a carry longer than 6 yards. Correll Buckhalter had a little more success, with 46 yards on 10 carries. The Broncos again failed on a third-and-short situation in the third quarter.
PASS DEFENSE: C -- The first half was rough, with Philip Rivers having a lot of time to throw the ball and hitting big plays all around the field. The pass rush picked up in the second half, and that was one of the differences in the game. Elvis Dumervil picked up two sacks, including a forced fumble late in the third quarter that was a turning point in the game.
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- LaDainian Tomlinson had 70 yards on 18 carries, which was a manageable number for the Broncos. And Denver's stand inside its 10-yard line in the first quarter, when it stopped three consecutive runs before a field goal, didn't help San Diego's confidence. The Broncos had a tough task stopping the run because they had to worry about San Diego's passing game, but they did a solid job.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Eddie Royal's two touchdowns on kick returns were the difference. The blocking he received was impeccable -- he went untouched on both scores. The Broncos did have one major breakdown, allowing a 77-yard touchdown to Darren Sproles that was probably supposed to be punted out of bounds, but Royal's big plays made up for that. The Broncos spent extra time on special teams in practice with an extra day to prepare, and it paid off.
COACHING: A -- The Broncos were coming off an emotional win over New England with the bye following their game against San Diego. It would have been easy to let down, but the Broncos coaching staff, which hasn't used last year for motivation that often, pounded home the message that the team's 5-0 start would lose some value if Denver continued to get dominated by San Diego. Once again, adjustments led to a dominating second-half performance.
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