Charg­ers ease some pain by beat­ing Bron­cos 21-13

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The San Diego Charg­ers eased a lot of pain with their 21-13 vic­tory over the Den­ver Bron­cos. Philip Rivers threw for 178 yards and one touch­down, pass­ing Hall of Famer Dan Fouts to be­come San Diego’s ca­reer pass­ing leader, and the Charg­ers held off the Bron­cos. The vic­tory may have saved em­bat­tled coach Mike McCoy’s job and it snapped a streak of 10 straight losses in the AFC West dat­ing to 2014.

Most im­por­tantly, the Charg­ers fig­ured out how to fin­ish a game in which they had a late lead. “There is noth­ing like win­ning,” a misty-eyed McCoy said. “Es­pe­cially beat­ing a good foot­ball team in front of our home fans. It was great.” Of course, these be­ing the Charg­ers (2-4), they still ex­tended ner­vous time right down to the fi­nal gun. Den­ver’s Bran­don McManus kicked a 46-yard field goal with 27 sec­onds left, and Den­ver re­cov­ered the on­side kick at its 46. It got to the San Diego 45 with 8 sec­onds to go be­fore Trevor Siemian’s des­per­a­tion pass was bat­ted down by Dex­ter McCoil. “You can’t take win­ning for granted in this league,” de­fen­sive end Corey Li­uget said. “When I saw it said 0:00 and that guy didn’t catch that ball, I was happy. I got on my knee and said, ‘Thank you, Lord. It’s over now.’” Here are some take­aways from the Charg­ers’ vic­tory against the Bron­cos:

RIVERBOAT MIKE

McCoy has been un­der fire for his con­ser­va­tive ap­proach, par­tic­u­larly late in games, and clock-man­age­ment is­sues. He went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Den­ver 20 early in the sec­ond half, with Melvin Gor­don go­ing over the top for a 1-yard gain. Rivers mis­fired on two straight passes and was flushed on third down, forc­ing the Charg­ers to set­tle for Josh Lambo’s 37-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead. McCoy im­proved to 2531 over­all in four sea­sons. The Charg­ers were com­ing off a mis­take-filled loss at Oak­land, and ear­lier in the sea­son lost three games in which they led at the 2minute warn­ing. The Charg­ers are try­ing to con­vince vot­ers to ap­prove a $1.1 bil­lion pub­lic hand­out for a new down­town sta­dium in the form of an in­crease in the ho­tel oc­cu­pancy tax.

The vic­tory “meant a ton for Mike,” Rivers said. “It wasn’t talked about a lot on the team but vet­eran play­ers ... I felt it. Not that I ex­pected it if it didn’t go well. I had no idea but you also you are not play­ing dumb. We knew we had to get this thing go­ing in a hurry.”

FI­NALLY FIN­ISH­ING

What changed from those bru­tal losses, when the Charg­ers blew late leads? “It was a mind­set for us to go out there and fin­ish, and ev­ery­one knew we were go­ing to fin­ish this game,” Li­uget said. They need to keep it up. Their next two games are at At­lanta and at Den­ver. San Diego has lost 10 of its last 11 road games.

BRON­COS’ BOSS

The de­fend­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pion Bron­cos were coached by spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor Joe DeCamil­lis af­ter head coach Gary Ku­biak was or­dered by doc­tors to sit this one out be­cause of a mi­graine con­di­tion that mim­ics strokes. “I’m sick to my stom­ach be­cause I hate to lose,” DeCamil­lis said. “We’ve got a lot of grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion. We’ll bounce back.”

ROLLING RIVERS

Rivers, in his 13th sea­son with the Charg­ers and 11th as starter, has 43,094 ca­reer yards pass­ing. Fouts threw for 43,040 yards in 15 sea­sons with San Diego. “This was one was def­i­nitely spe­cial,” Rivers said about pass­ing Fouts. “Mak­ing it even more spe­cial was wear­ing the uni­forms we had. That color blue was what they wore back in that era when Dan was play­ing.” Rivers threw a 5-yard scor­ing pass to rookie tight end Hunter Henry to cap the game’s first pos­ses­sion. Rivers fin­ished 18 of 29. Other­wise, the Charg­ers had to set­tle for Lambo’s ca­reer-high four field goals of 37, 21, 31 and 32 yards, plus a safety.

LATE-FIR­ING

The five-time de­fend­ing AFC West cham­pion Bron­cos (4-2) were mostly slug­gish be­hind Siemian, who was back at quar­ter­back af­ter rookie Pax­ton Lynch strug­gled in a loss to At­lanta. They lost their sec­ond straight game and had their NFL-record 15 straight di­vi­sional road vic­to­ries snapped. “We didn’t make the most of our op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially early in the game, but we showed a lot of re­silience at the end. It was too lit­tle, too late,” said Siemian, who was 30 of 50 for 230 yards, with a 5yard scor­ing pass to Ben­nie Fowler mid­way through the fourth quar­ter.

— AP

SAN DIEGO: San Diego Charg­ers cor­ner­back Craig Mager, cen­ter, re­acts af­ter pick­ing up a fum­ble dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NFL foot­ball game as Den­ver Bron­cos quar­ter­back Trevor Siemian back left, passes.

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