Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn expressed his frustration postgame following Sunday’s 20-13 loss against the Denver Broncos at Dignity Health Sports Park, while L.A. failed to find the end zone offensively for the first time in 56 games.
“Sorry to keep you good people waiting, and sorry for watching that damn game. We play like that, we won’t beat anybody,” Lynn said to reporters. “That team came here more desperate to win, played harder, out-coached us. It was disappointing. But we have a resilient group, I think. We’ll see how we respond next week.”
The Broncos (1-4) rushed out to a 17-0 lead and never looked back, putting together an impressive performance the Chargers (2-3) may have not seen coming from a winless divisional opponent.
“We weren’t getting pushed around,” Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said. “We got pushed around a little bit last week. It didn’t feel like we got pushed around today.”
Broncos running back Philip Lindsay rushed for 114 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown, while play caller Joe Flacco finished 14 of 20 for 182 yards and a passing score.
Denver totaled 350 yards from scrimmage (159 rushing), while Los Angeles was held to 246, compiling only 35 yards on the ground between Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler.
Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers was 32 of 48 for 211 yards with two interceptions and never was able to get in a rhythm, failing to get the ball in the endzone.
Ekeler finished with 15 receptions for 86 yards, Gordon had 38 scrimmage yards in his first game back after a 64-day summer holdout.
“Physically, I was good… You just have to get used to running, guys hitting you and stiff-arming,” Gordon said. “It’s just so different, but it’s just getting back into the just of things, but definitely going up from here.”
Already leading 7-0 in the first quarter after a Lindsay rushing score, Flacco then connected with wide receiver Courtland Sutton for a 70-yard touchdown pass give Denver a commanding 14-0 advantage.
Sutton caught the ball just shy of midfield, juked and broke a tackle against Rayshawn Jenkins, only before eluding another defender on his way to the end zone.
Los Angeles tried to respond on the last play of the first half in the red zone, but Ekeler fumbled while getting hit, stretching his hands out while attempting to score at the one-yard line.
The third quarter was no different for the Chargers when it came to turnovers, as Rivers was baited and intercepted by Alexander Johnson on a third-and-goal play at the 2.
“We have to score when we get into the red zone, and we can’t let them score 14 points in the first 10 minutes,” defensive end Joey Bosa said. “They came out ready to play, and we didn’t match their energy in the first half. That’s something we have to change.”
“We just didn’t capitalize and finish, and we turned the ball over,” Rivers said. “It just wasn’t going to be one of those 350-yard days where we were going to go up and down the field. I think I’m going to look at it and go, Gosh.”
With 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Los Angeles finally got on the board after Desmond King returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown. However, in the fourth period, Lindsay and the Broncos were able to control the clock and ultimately ended its final drive with a Brandon McManus’ 46-yard field goal, essentially putting the game way at 20-10 with 1:55 remaining.
Los Angeles added a last-second field goal late, cutting their deficit to seven, but failed to recover the onside kick which then ended the game.
“Obviously, we’re doing some things right to keep them to three points in the second half, but we have to play better in the first half,” added Bosa. “It could be an energy thing. It could be nerves, anxiety, who knows?
The Chargers will host the (1-4) Pittsburgh Steelers at Dignity Health Sports Park Sunday night with a primetime 5:20pm kickoff time.