Chargers vs. Broncos: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Denver

Travis WakemanCorrespondent IIJanuary 12, 2014

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12:  Wes Welker #83 of the Denver Broncos completes a second quarter touchdown pass against the San Diego Chargers during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos staved off a late rally from the San Diego Chargers en route to a 24-17 victory in the AFC divisional playoffs.

Denver will now host the AFC Championship next Sunday against the New England Patriots.

The Broncos were 9-of-13 on third downs and held the ball for over 35 minutes. Still, the Chargers were able to get back into the game late with big plays from Philip Rivers to Keenan Allen.

On 3rd-and-17 from their own 20-yard line, Peyton Manning hit tight end Julius Thomas for a 21-yard gain that essentially put the game away.

Denver Broncos Game Grades
Positional Unit1st-Half GradeFinal Grade
Passing OffenseB+A
Passing DefenseAC+
Rushing OffenseB+A-
Rushing DefenseB+A
Special TeamsB+C-
Divisional Playoffs vs. Chargers


Final Score

Chargers- 17

Broncos- 24


Final Analysis for the Denver Broncos

Passing Offense: Manning threw for 230 yards in the game but he completed several passes on third down that really hurt San Diego and allowed Denver to get the win.

Passing Defense: San Diego was able to get back into the game with several big pass plays on the fourth quarter. On many of them, Quentin Jammer was beat in coverage. Allen finished the game with 142 yards on six catches, two of which went for touchdowns.

Rushing Offense: Knowshon Moreno gained 82 of the Broncos' 133 yards on the ground. He also scored what would be the decisive touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Rushing Defense: Ryan Mathews did not play in the second half and without him, the Chargers weren't very effective running the ball.

Special Teams: Eric Decker had his hands on an onside kick but he dropped it, allowing San Diego to recover. On the ensuing kickoff, Trindon Holliday made a good play on the pooch kick the Chargers tried.

Coaching: Defensively, the Broncos called a great game, aside from the pass defense in the fourth quarter. Why were Jammer and Michael Huff on the field so much? On the offensive side of the ball, the team was very balanced. The play selection was 36 passes to go along with 34 run plays.


DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12:  Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos and head coach Mike McCoy of the San Diego Chargers embrace after the Broncos defeated the Chargers 24 to 17 during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

First-Half Analysis for the Denver Broncos

Passing Offense: Manning completed 11 passes for 100 yards in the first half but the Chargers were able to come up with a critical interception on a deflected ball in the end zone just before halftime.

Passing Defense: The Denver defensive line has been the story of the game so far, registering three sacks. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers has been held to just 20 yards passing.

Rushing Offense: Denver has moved the ball well on the ground, gaining 77 yards on 17 carries. The team is doing a good job of using both Moreno and Montee Ball.

Rushing Defense: Aside from a 16-yard run by Mathews in which several tackles were missed, the Broncos have defended the run well. This has forced San Diego into several 3rd-and-long situations.

Special Teams: The decision was made to have Decker return punts today and that has been a good move. Decker had a 47-yard return late in the second quarter that he nearly broke for a touchdown.

Coaching: Jack Del Rio has called a good game from a defensive standpoint. The pressure they have applied to Rivers is the primary reason Denver has a 14-point halftime lead.