Broncos top Chargers, reach AFC title game

DENVER, CO – JANUARY 12: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos warms up prior to their AFC…

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Team Stat Comparison

 

SD

DEN

1st Downs 13 26

Passing 1st downs

10 11

Rushing 1st downs

1 13

1st downs from Penalties

2 2

3rd down efficiency

4-12 9-13

4th down efficiency

1-1 0-0
Total Plays 49 70
Total Yards 259 363
Yards per play 5.3 5.2
Total Drives 9 8
Passing 194 230

Comp – Att

18-27 25-36

Yards per pass

7.2 6.4

Interceptions thrown

0 1

Sacks – Yards Lost

4-23 0-0
Rushing 65 133

Rushing Attempts

18 34

Yards per rush

3.6 3.9
Red Zone (Made-Att) 2-3 3-4
Penalties 8-63 6-50
Turnovers 0 2

Fumbles lost

0 1

Interceptions thrown

0 1
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 24:33 35:27

Passing Leaders

SD C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT SACKS
Rivers 18/27 217 8.0 2 0 4-23
DEN C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT SACKS
Manning 25/36 230 6.4 2 1 0-0

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTER SD DEN
TD 02:25 Demaryius Thomas 2 Yd Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Prater Kick) 0 7
SECOND QUARTER SD DEN
TD 06:00 Wes Welker 3 Yd Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Prater Kick) 0 14
THIRD QUARTER SD DEN
FG 09:35 Matt Prater 45 Yd 0 17
FOURTH QUARTER SD DEN
TD 12:59 Keenan Allen 16 Yd Pass From Philip Rivers (Nick Novak Kick) 7 17
TD 08:12 Knowshon Moreno 3 Yd Run (Matt Prater Kick) 7 24
TD 05:43 Keenan Allen 16 Yd Pass From Philip Rivers (Nick Novak Kick) 14 24
FG 03:53 Nick Novak 30 Yd 17 24

Research Notes

Much of the talk going into this game was how the Chargers controlled to clock for over 38 minutes in each of their meetings with Denver in the regular season, while outrushing them by an average of over 100 yards. The Broncos reversed the trend in this game, aided by converting on 9-of-13 3rd downs, including a key 3rd-and-17 on the final drive.

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The Broncos had the ball for over 16 minutes in the first half. In each of their two regular season meetings, the Chargers had the ball for 38+ minutes.

Not only did the Chargers keep the ball for more than 38 minutes per game against the Broncos this season, but they converted 46.4 percent of their 3rd downs, compared to 29.4 percent for Denver.

And while the Chargers only converted 4 of their 8 red-zone drives into touchdowns, they had three MORE red-zone possessions than the Broncos.

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The Broncos have drawn 5 neutral zone infractions on the Chargers today, the most drawn by a team in a single game since 2001.

The Chargers were 1-6 on third down in the first half. They converted an NFL-best 49% of third downs during the regular season, and were 6-12 in their Week 15 over the Broncos.

The last time the Chargers were shut out in the first half of a playoff game was the 2007 wild card game against the Titans. They were down 6-0 at halftime and won 17-6.

Eric Decker had 3 punt returns for 66 yards in the first half Sunday. Decker had 3 punt returns for 24 yards the previous two seasons combined.
Peyton Manning was 1-3 against the remaining AFC playoff teams this season (Chargers, Patriots and Colts) and was sacked as many times in those four games as in his other 12 games combined.

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Rivers has targeted his wide receivers just twice in the first half. Both passes were incomplete.

Much like last year in the Divisional Playoffs, the Broncos got the ball with less than 4 minutes left, leading by 7. Instead of just running the ball, they used runs and passes to successfully run out the clock.

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Manning’s interception just before halftime was his first red zone interception of the season, and the first red zone interception for the Chargers defense this season.

ESPN Stats & Information




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