Media Level Sports Authority Field
If you’re anywhere near the 303 area code you may want to hold your ears – it might get loud. At least that’s what the 70,000+ here at Sports Authority are gearing for. Parking lots broke ground at 8:00 am and most everybody was drunk by 8:05. Saw a guy in a brand new Philip Rivers jersey but we didn’t make eye contact so I think I’m safe….
Networks are breaking out the big guns for this one – ran into some California friends I hadn’t seen since the OJ chase. Kinda like This should be fun…. Highlight of the morning so far – watching NFL Network guru Sal Paolantonio brush out his hair for an on-camera spot. Man I love my job.
Hope this isn’t a bad omen – inflatable horse head the Broncos generally run through out of the tunnel has sprung a leak. So much for modern technology.
BTW – here’s a list of all the kids that don’t get to play today – QB Zac Dysert, RB Ronnie Hillman, CB Tony Carter, G Chris Kuper, TE Joel Dreesen, DE Derek Wolfe and DT Sione Fua…. Chargers have their own list of Inactives, but the idea of actually typing out all the names definitely takes a back seat to waiting in line for what appears to be Pasta. Those interested can check in with NFL.com for a complete list.
Be sure to refresh often for all the latest madness
Broncos win the toss -defer to the second half and Rod Smith is getting it pumped on the Jumbo-Tron – can’t wait for Philip Rivers.
Ok, Rivers is here and the Chargers look to make a statement early. Not exactly sure what that statement was, but third and two rolled into a five yard completion and the chains officially moved another ten.
First sack of the day goes to Jeremy Mincey – popped Rivers for an 8-yard loss to the 26. Second sack of the day goes to Shaun Philips – equally as exciting – San Diego drive is officially over. Here comes Peyton Manning.
Broncos drive officially opens on the 11 – two-plays later it’s Manning to Julius Thomas for a 16-yard completion. Butterflies are gone and Manning’s rolling it past midfield. Fifteen yard shot to Andre Caldwell spots it at the Chargers 29 and we’ve hit the “Deer in the Headlights” look for San Diego. Chargers have already burned two time outs trying to adjust.
Creeping it closer Montee Ball inches it to the three with first and goal for Denver. Encore performance moves it to the two and this crowd is completely pumped… Manning to Thomas (Demaryius) for the deuce makes it official – Denver Broncos take an early 7-0 lead.
Wonder if it could get any louder?
Rivers and Co. get buried in a sea of noise – Three and out adds more fuel to the fire – camera catches a shot of Rivers heading to the sideline looking like Eddie Haskell on steroids. First quarter closes on a beautiful note if you’re wearing orange….
Manning moves it to midfield and hits Julius Thomas on a quick shot across the middle – ball gets stripped on impact and after what seemed like the world’s longest review the San Diego Chargers take possession on the 44. Major package punch for the beer crew.
Short field for Rivers but the Broncos D apparently has it covered – five-yard sack for Malik Jackson forces a 53-yard field goal attempt. Doesn’t even come close – karma is definitely catching up with the Bolo – Broncos take possession on their own 43.
Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball are my new best friends – ground game continues to pound and Denver is inside the 10 with first and goal from the eight. Out of the shotgun Manning keeps it on the ground – Moreno breaks it to the three. Two-plays later it’s an easy shot to Welker in the corner and the scoreboard reads 14-0 for the good guys. Hard to beat the momentum at this point….
Spotted a Bill Romanowski jersey in the stands – guess they’re going old school for the occasion.
Rivers is back out to a chorus of boos – three plays later the boos have only magnified – Chargers are forced to punt. Decker on the return – breaking tackles like he’s in a contract year – nothing between ED and the end zone but a crappy cut of grass near the 30 – trips over his own feet as the crowd bursts into uncontrollable laughter – you’ll see that it on SportsCenter.
Manning on a short field – this can’t end good for San Diego. Back to back for Moreno and it’s first and goal from the four. Clock continues to roll and we’re under a minute left in the half.
Ok, so I was wrong – I guess it could end good for San Diego – Manning tries to thread the needle to Decker in the end zone and CB Crezdon Butler nails the pick. No harm no foul, first half closes with Denver holding a 14-0 lead over the San Diego Chargers.
Now who didn’t see this one coming?
Beer run complete and the Orange Faithful are thirty-minutes away from AFC Championship. Trindon Holliday with the return and the Broncos will take it from the 36. Quick shot to Thomas picks up nine and it’s third and one from the 45. Easy pick up for Moreno – drive continues to gain momentum.
Manning to D. Thomas on a nine-yarder crosses midfield and the excitement continues to build. Starting to feel like a playoff game or something – Manning to Welker pushes it to the 26 and the chains continue to advance. Heartbreaker to Welker comes up one bobble short – leaves Prater to try and salvage a few more bulbs on the scoreboard.
Dude nails it with 9:39 left in the quarter… barely. Broncos may have gotten away with one there – either way it’s still three on the board and Denver pulls out at 17-0.
Trying to start a wave here in the Press Box to stay warm – no one’s with me.
Mr. Congeniality is back and the Chargers will officially start it at the 20. Two plays later they’re staring at third and three from the 27.
Anyone remember the last time San Diego converted on a third down?
This would be it – Rivers to Keenan Allen down the sideline moves it all the way out to the San Diego 46. Drive pretty much closes shop after that – an injured Mike Scifres trots out to punt and Denver will take it from their own 20. Interesting fact – as Scifres is barely able to make it off field – who’s San Diego got on board as a backup punter?
Manning to Decker adds 19 to the mix and Denver quickly crosses midfield. Back to the shotgun and Manning hits Welker again cutting down the right side. Montee Ball goes ground for the required yards and Denver grabs another first at the San Diego 46. Clock continues to play out in Denver’s favor. Drive eventually stalls on the Chargers 29 but it’s well within Prater range.
Unless you’re still rattled about the near-miss on the last field goal attempt…
Prater shanks it to an absolutely stunned crowd. Seriously hope this isn’t a momentum changer – quarter closes when they announce its last call. This might be a long fifteen minutes….
Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, Philip Rivers spoils the parade – six plays, sixty-three yards and very little whining involved – Chargers avoid the shutout and are ten points away from sending this into overtime.
That would completely blow…
Holliday is back for the return – out of the end zone, down the right sideline and, outside of the flag for an illegal block to the back, he’s got this banked. No points, no touchdown, no kidding…. kick return is officially called back and the Broncos will start it from the 19.
Everybody clap your hands….
This is like the longest drive of the century – two mental health breaks and they’re still not even inside the 20. Ok, Moreno takes care of that – 14-yard gain to the 10 and the Broncos get a fresh set of downs heading into the South Stands.
You don’t have to be a genius to understand this one’s important – Moreno on the ground moves it back to a three score game – nine plays, 81-yards and they’re dancing in the aisles at Sports Authority.
Not that it matters to Philip Rivers – dude seems intent on busting the Broncos party. Kinda like that kid in third grade who always peed in the pool just to make it tough on the rest of us.
Seven plays, 80-yards and we’re back to a ten point game at 24-14. Not that I’m worried or anything – but you might want to be ready for the onside kick.
Or not – Chargers recover and hold possession on their own 40. WOW not quite sure how that one jacked up – but the mood has certainly shifted. Chargers are inside the 20 and look more than capable on tacking on another seven. Or three.
Novac drills it and San Diego is now one touchdown away from tying this up…..
Holliday returns it to the 27 where Manning and Co. will take it over. Make that the 22 after the Broncos get flagged on a false start. Drop another two the wrong direction on a Moreno carry and Denver continues to inch themselves backwards. Second and 17 and Manning rolls out of the shotgun – incomplete to Thomas.
Bailout to Julius Thomas along the sideline – 21-yarder with both feet in bounds – that left some breathing room. Back to Thomas for a nine-yard bailout on third and six. Even more breathing room
Cue ZZ Top – there’s nothing wrong with tush….
Buck fifty-seven on the clock and it’s second and seven from the 43. More shotgun, more Moreno – six-yard gain to the 37 brings up third and one.
Manning surveys the situation and decides he needs to hear a little more music – Broncos take their second time out.
Know-shon, Know-shon, Know-shon…. seals the deal with his 23rd carry of the afternoon and all that’s left is a Manning kneel down.
The Denver Broncos advance and will host the New England Patriots next Sunday for the AFC Championship.
So much for having next week off…