UP: Early Jerry. The Broncos’ first pass of the game? A shallow out route to rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. Like it. Want to see more of it. The young fella needs touches.
DOWN: Jerry drops. Of course, the young fella also needs to do a better job of squeezing the ball. Drops on back-to-back plays late in the second quarter killed the Broncos’ two-minute drive. Three other drops followed in the second half, including a sure-fire touchdown and a bomb on Denver’s last drive of the game. It’s gonna be a lonnnnng offseason.
UP: Running with purpose. Denver wasted little time establishing the run game Sunday, ripping off nine carries for 53 yards on its first possession. Shotgun, two tight ends, jet sweeps — it all worked. Then they ran the ball just five more times the rest of the half.
UP: Chargers’ powder blues. The Broncos went with their standard road white jersey/white trousers and the Chargers had powder blue jerseys/white trousers. A terrific home jersey for the Bolts.
DOWN: Read-option QB keeper. Given that early success on the ground, we might argue against calling a Drew Lock QB keeper off a read option on second and long. Sure, the defense might not see it coming. But does that really matter?
UP: Finishing strong. Outside linebacker Malik Reed stopped the Chargers’ two-minute drive in its tracks at the end of the first half with a strip-sack near midfield. That puts Reed at 7 1/2 sacks for the season, tied with Bradley Chubb for the team lead. The evidence is now clear: Denver can’t let him walk.
DOWN: Double doink. Given two tries at a mid-range field goal in the first quarter, kicker Brandon McManus somehow hit both goal posts on successive kicks. Almost kind of impressive when you think about it. Almost.
UP: So-Fi Stadium video boards The Broncos’ first trip to Los Angeles’ new stadium featured video boards that wrap around the roof and are gigantic. When fans in the upper deck are allowed to attend, they will have two choices: 1. Watch the video boards or 2. Look down at the field.
DOWN: The whiff. De’Vante Bausby absolutely whiffed on a potential run stuff of Chargers running back Kalen Ballage on second-and-5 early in the second quarter. One play later, he was absolutely toasted by Mike Williams on a crossing route for a 25-yard gain. He was off the field soon thereafter.
UP: Ekeler stock. Eaton native Austin Ekeler showed off the versatility that got him a contract extension when he slipped out of the backfield to score a touchdown on a 9-yard reception in the first half. The Chargers back later ripped off a pair of long between-the-tackles runs to set up Michael Badgley’s game-winning kick.
UP: Mount Harris. Shelby Harris swats are just a part of Broncos Sundays now. Once again, the Broncos defensive lineman had a pair of batted-down balls. Not since the days of Dikembe has Denver been home to such a rejection artist.
DOWN: Taking shots. Jeudy couldn’t have been much more open that he was on a play-action bomb with 10 minutes left in the game. Drew Lock’s pass, unfortunately, wasn’t there to meet him in stride. Of course, he might not have caught it anyway.
UP: Motley glue. Signed off the Broncos practice squad two weeks ago, defensive back Parnell Motley made a nice play sticking to the back of Mike Williams in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal — coverage that coaxed a much-needed drop on the second play of the fourth quarter.
UP: Four for fourth. The Broncos’ plan to target Jeudy was nice, but it also neglected Tim Patrick… until they absolutely needed a play on fourth-and-7 near midfield in the fourth quarter. The lack of activity mattered little to Patrick, who hauled in his fourth target over the middle for a 27-yard gain that set up Denver’s lone TD.
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