DENVER (30) d SAN DIEGO (23)
The Headline: Manning and co complete the sweep of the Chargers
Boy you would hate to be an NFL coach sometimes wouldn’t you, after just saving your job two weeks prior by beating possibly the worst team in the league, then blowing a winnable game; you just have to travel to Peyton Manning’s place. Sure that seems so easy to do, what with your quarterback struggling for form at the moment while Manning is surging. At least you’re playing a divisional rival so that should take some of the pressure off, right? An early pick-six for Eric Weddle had the Chargers thinking this might just be their day after all. But before long it was the same old Manning driving his team up and down the field to take home a seven point victory. A late rally from the Chargers had things getting tense at the end but an onside kick recovery made the result a certainty.
Key Stat: San Diego: 60 pass yards before trailing 24-9
When you struggle to move the ball as much as the Chargers did, you know you are stuffed. The fact that Rivers was able to post a semi-respectable yardage total in the end was a testament to how hard the Chargers were still pressing despite their tough position. At 7-3 with a three game lead (plus the tiebreaker) the Denver defense’s efforts shutting down the Chargers usually impressive passing game sealed the division for them.
Key Play: Peyton Manning 31 yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley
At 10-7, despite the Chargers offensive struggles, the game was somehow still in the balance thanks to a bevy of Broncos turnovers. A blocked punt straight after the two minute warning gave Manning the ball and on the first play of the drive he hits Stokley for a crucial touchdown just before halftime which allowed the Broncos to open up a significant buffer over the Chargers.
Man of the Match: Von Miller
6 tackles (6 solo), 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Last year’s second overall pick is really starting to make his mark again after fading badly down the stretch. In this game he was a constant threat in the backfield forcing Phillip Rivers into several bad decisions and bringing him down three times. For those efforts (and the fact I wanted to give it to someone other than Peyton Manning) Miller gets the nod as this weeks man of the match.