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Broncos' defense battles, offense falls apart in Week 17 to forget

Andre Simone Avatar
December 31, 2018

In a season finale with over 12,000 empty seats at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, the Denver Broncos played tough for each other and for their coaches. In the end, though, it didn’t matter as the Broncos lost 23-9 despite a stout defensive performance that saw Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ offense struggled mightily early on, as Denver mixed up coverages and seemed to confuse the veteran quarterback.

The Broncos’ defense couldn’t have played much better to start the game, keeping Rivers out of a rhythm, as Los Angeles’ offense couldn’t get anything going.

The Chargers eventually found a slight rhythm offensively while the Broncos’ offense couldn’t do much more than turn the ball over in a disappointing defeat.

Despite forcing two interceptions in the first quarter, the home team couldn’t find a way to put points on the board.

What broke the game open was a fluky backward pass to the flats that Royce Freeman was unable to secure and Chargers’ Kyle Emanuel scooped up and took to the house.

The theme continued as backbreaking turnovers doomed the Broncos’ offense.

The very next possession saw Case Keenum and the offense drive down to the goal line only to have tight end Matt LaCosse tip a tight window throw up in the air, where the Chargers intercepted the rock only to fumble it away on the return.

The fact that Los Angeles fumbled it on the return mattered little as Denver could only manage a field goal to end the half.

The second half followed the same script as Tim Patrick fumbled the second offensive possession.

Even when the Broncos did get in the end zone with a wide open throw to fullback Andy Janovich, Keenum threw a “pick-two” on the subsequent two-point conversion, causing a four-point swing as the Broncos went from inching to within three points to down 16-9.

Special teams didn’t want to be left out of the turnover party either, as kick returner River Cracraft coughed it up in the fourth quarter. The game appropriately ended with the Broncos’ offense turning it over on downs as the Chargers had already benched their starters in a lost cause.


Joey Bosa was a pest for the Broncos, coming up with key pressures, sacks, and forcing holds as he gave the offensive tackles nightmares. Without Khalil Mack in the division and Bosa injured for the first half of the season, we hadn’t seen a pass rusher wreck Denver’s game plan like this in a while, an apt way to end the season.


The “pick-two” that went for 100 yards wasn’t just a rare play, but a true gut punch to the Broncos who were still in the game at that point.


“Probably so. Probably so. From the way people have been talking to us, there are going to be a lot of changes.” — Will Parks on if he thinks there will be changes to the coaching staff.


11 for 99 — Denver lost the penalty battle as the line struggled. The Chargers tried their best with costly penalties of their own but Denver “won” in the end.

8 — In a game defined by turnovers, the two teams combined for eight in a sloppy affair.


The season is over but the real fun begins now as we wait to see if Vance Joesph and his staff survive black Monday. Buckle up.

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