CARSON, CALIF. - Their biggest gains ended with a lost fumble and penalty.
Their defense came up with a four-down, goal-line stand, only to watch from the sidelines as the opponents scored a touchdown, anyway.
An inept offense and poor special teams coverage left the Denver Broncos with an embarrassing, 21-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers here on a sweltering hot, late-October, Sunday afternoon at the StubHub Center.
It was the first time since Nov. 22, 1992 that the Broncos were shutout, snapping a scoring streak of 394 regular-season games. That game was also played in Los Angeles. Tommy Maddox, filling in for the injured John Elway, threw two interceptions in a 24-0 loss to the Raiders.
In this shutout, Siemian completed 22 of 32 for only 182 yards with one interception. He was sacked five times.
The Broncos are in serious trouble. Not only did they lose to the heretofore 0-5 New York Giants and 2-4 Chargers, they have a daunting schedule ahead with games at 5-2 Kansas City, at 5-1 Philadelphia, and home against the defending Super Bowl-champion New England Patriots.
It was a crying shame the Denver defense played with a team that was down, 7-0 after the first quarter.
Siemian started the game with a scramble left and wild heave downfield, where tight end A.J. Derby made a nice adjustment for a 23-yard gain. Derby fumbled the ball away, though, and the Chargers were in business at the Denver 45.
A misdirection rollout pass from Philip Rivers to tight end Hunter Henry picked up 34 yards and the Chargers had first-and-10 at the Broncos’ 11.
Rivers then drew a pass interference penalty on Broncos safety Darian Stewart in the end zone, giving the Chargers first and goal at the 1.
Handoff to Melvin Gordon, who ran off left tackle Russell Okung. Nothing. Will Parks filled the hole from his safety position.
Handoff to Gordon off Okung. Nothing. Shaq Barrett blew up the play.
Handoff to Gordon up the middle. Nothing. Inside linebackers Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall filled in the gap.
Handoff to Gordon up the middle. Nothing. Davis and Parks and many others made the play.
An old-fashioned, four-down, goal-line stand by the Denver D.
And before it came back on the field, the Chargers scored. The Broncos’ offense picked up one first down to get out of the hole, but a Riley Dixon punt was short and low so that Travis Benjamin fielded at on a hop at his own 35-yard line.
Once Benjamin got through the first wave of Broncos’ chasers, he was up the middle before veering left in the open space. He went all the way for a 65-yard touchdown return.
Eventually, the Denver D began to wilt beneath the burdens of carrying its poor offense and special teams, not to mention 90-degree temperature at kickoff. Rivers put together a 65-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter that was again sparked by a long completion to the tight end Henry, this time for 19 yards.\
Rivers completed another 19-yard pass to Keenan Allen, who beat Bradley Roby on the play to set up another first-and-goal from the 1.
This time the Chargers didn’t try to run. Rivers flipped a pass to running back Austin Ekeler, who hails from Eaton, Colorado and Western State and scooted in the left side of the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
Siemian was 11 of 17 passing for 89 yards at halftime. He was sacked twice. The Broncos combined for only 31 yards rushing on 12 carries – with 14 yards coming off two Siemian scrambles.
The Broncos were about to rally in the second half when Siemian from his own 9-yard line rolled right and hit Demaryius Thomas on a deep comeback route. Thomas took off and wasn’t tackled until he reached the Chargers’ 1-.
An 81-yard gain for naught. On a late flag thrown by the official, Thomas was called for offensive pass interference.
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