Chargers Pummeled 37-8

The San Diego Chargers had no easy task going into Denver to try and get a win and a two game winning streak. Two fumbles early on put the Chargers in a hole in enemy territory. A turnover forced by the Chargers gave the Chargers a chance to get back into the game, but they quickly gave the ball right back. By halftime the Bolts were down 27-0 and the game ended in a 37-8 loss.

A quick turnover by the Chargers when Doug Flutie could not handle the snap from Cory Raymer gave the Broncos the ball deep in San Diego territory. The Chargers came up with a big stop on third down and Marcellus Wiley stopped Clinton Portis on fourth and inches to keep the game tied. The D-line plugged the middle of the field and Portis, with his head down, did not bounce outside quick enough as Wiley wrapped him up.

On the very next play from scrimmage, LaDainian Tomlinson slipped as Flutie put the ball in his gut and the ball fell loose. Denver got the ball at the Chargers 11 after the fumble, the second turnover of the game for the Chargers and coming right after a big defensive stand. Jake Plummer hit Shannon Sharpe on a slant underneath rookie corner Sammy Davis for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

On third and twenty for the Broncos, Sammy Davis was called for a holding penalty away from the play giving the Broncos an automatic first down and another chance. Luckily the Broncos shot themselves in the foot and had to settle for a field goal when DeQuincy Scott and Stephen Cooper stopped Rod Smith on third down. Jason Elam kicked the field goal to put Denver up 10-0.

A combination of Jake Plummer, Rod Smith and a heavy dose of Clinton Portis drove the ball downfield from their own 11 yard line. Clinton Portis had a huge run on the drive, running just outside the left tackle and going deep into the secondary. A slip and fall on a cutback was the only way to bring him down. Plummer then took a bootleg, his second of the drive, inside the four yard line. The Chargers held their ground and forced a field goal from Elam, Denver 13-0.

After a three and out by the Chargers, Rod Smith took a Darren Bennett punt 64 yards for a touchdown. Smith, returning kicks with Deltha O'Neal inactive, went totally untouched on the return. Denver 20, Chargers 0.

Ben Leber caused a fumble sacking Plummer on a blitz and Zeke Moreno, heady as always, picked up the ball and gave the Chargers the ball on the Denver 18 yard line. The very next play, Flutie threw the ball to Stephen Alexander who could not hold onto the ball and it popped off his chest, off his knee and into the hands of a Denver defender, securing their third turnover of the game.

On the ensuing drive, Plummer hit Ashley Lelie on a fly route 48 yards downfield. Lelie blew by Quentin Jammer and Plummer delivered a beautiful throw over his outside shoulder. That quickly -- they entered the red zone. Elam could not convert, missing the field goal from 29 yards out.

With 1:22 left in the half, Denver continued to pour it on. Plummer hit Smith for a nine, Portis caught a screen and Jammer got called for a 15 yard face mask putting the ball at the Chargers 26. Plummer then hit Shannon Sharpe over the middle and he ran it in when Terrence Kiel was unable to ring him down, 27-0 Denver. Sharpe tied Jerry Smith for the all time lead in touchdown receptions by a tight end with 60.

Plummer hit a variety of receivers to start the third quarter before Sammy Davis intercepted Plummer and returned the ball 40 yards, more than the Chargers offense has been able to gain on the entire day thus far. Marcellus Wiley was called for unsportsmanlike conduct to put the Bolts back 15 yards.

After a healthy dose of Portis, who topped 100 yards, Plummer hit Sharpe over Terrence Kiel for his third touchdown of the game, breaking the record for touchdowns by a tight end. Denver up 34-0.

As if things couldn't get worse, Flutie fumbled the ball when his arm was hit scrambling away from pressure on the San Diego 32 yard line and Denver recovered. Portis took the fourth quarter off and Denver had to settle for a field goal. Micah Knorr connected to put the Broncos up 37-0.

It took the Chargers until the fourth quarter to get some pity yardage and pity points. With Denver in prevent, Flutie hit a few receivers and ran once for a first before hitting Kassim Osgood for his first ever touchdown reception, Broncos 37-8 after Flutie hit Alexander for the two point conversion.

Danny Kannel replaced Plummer on the next drive. Quentin Jammer promptly intercepted him on the San Diego 41, but the Chargers would get no closer than 37-8.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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