The Denver Broncos won ugly in Week 10 as they defeated the San Diego Chargers 28-20 at Qualcomm Stadium. The Broncos' offense has performed like a well-oiled machine so far this year, but they had trouble moving the ball in the second half this week.
They scored 21 of their 28 points in the first half against the Chargers. They did this despite only having the ball for seven minutes and 31 seconds. San Diego employed a game plan that called for a ball control offense to keep Peyton Manning and the offense on the sidelines.
That would have worked except for the fact that Denver's offense made big plays in the limited time they were on the field. Manning threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns this week, but most of that damage was done in the first half.
The Broncos had scored 30 or more points in 11 straight regular-season games entering Sunday. That was the third-longest streak in league history. Against the Chargers in Week 10, however, they failed to reach that mark, scoring a season-low 28 points.
In the last two games, Manning had completed 58.1 percent of his passes to Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker. Manning completed 73.6 percent of such passes in the first six games of the season.
On Sunday Manning was slightly better, targeting his top three receivers. He finished the game with 61.9 percent completion to the talented trio.
Manning lost a fumble against the Chargers on a sack. That was the lone turnover of the day for the Broncos. That mark stopped the streak the team was on. They had turned the ball over three times in three straight games entering Sunday.
Beating the Chargers extended their winning streak of eight straight divisional games. This was the Broncos' longest streak since 1997-98 when they won 11 straight games.
The Broncos have now won seven straight road divisional games, beating the franchise record of six that was set during the 1976-77 season.
This game was the 300th win under owner Pat Bowlen. He becomes the first owner in the NFL to reach that mark in the first 30 years of owning a franchise.
After the game, interim head coach Jack Del Rio talked about Bowlen and the Broncos win.
This is Mr. Bowlen’s 300th win in 30 years. What a tremendous atmosphere he created for us to work in. No wonder he’s been this successful, just based on the way he treats everybody. I am very appreciative of that. It was a good hard-fought game. This is a divisional game against a team that’s been in all eight games. They’ve had a chance to win all eight games. We knew they’d have plenty of resolve, plenty of fight to win here. Last year they had us up at halftime. This year we had control at halftime and then we made enough plays to close it out late. Not everything was exactly how you’d like it but I thought it was a good divisional win.
Although the Broncos offense had some struggles in the second half, the defense continues to improve each week.
Entering Sunday the team was allowing an average of 27.3 points per game, tied for 25th in the NFL. Against the Chargers, they only allowed 20 points, and they seemed to be playing with a chip on their shoulders.
Part of that inspiration has been the return of linebacker Von Miller. He's an elite pass-rusher who has bulked up and become a better run defender this year. The team is playing much better since Miller returned from his six-game suspension.
Miller talked about the team's chemistry after the game.
"We have great guys in the locker room," he said. "All the guys continue to stand on each other, support each other and keep on working together.”
Check out the grades for each Broncos player against the Chargers.
Cecil Lammey is a B/R Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this article were obtained firsthand. Record information was provided via email from the Denver Broncos.