NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 12 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 28, Los Angeles Chargers 13

Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II (2) celebrates with linebacker Kenny Young (41) and linebacker Bradley Chubb (55) and linebacker Malik Reed (59) after scoring a touchdown on an interception in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In a key divisional matchup, the Denver Broncos pulled away with a sensational second-half defensive performance to beat the Los Angeles Chargers, 28-13, in Week 12.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater started for the Broncos but left the game with a minor injury before returning. Two Patrick Surtain II interceptions in the second half — one returned for a touchdown — was the difference. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert threw for over 300 yards, but the two late interceptions were costly. The Chargers head to Cincinnati next week for a key AFC matchup, while Denver hosts the Detroit Lions.

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Los Angeles Chargers

Quarterback

Once again, Herbert was forced to throw the ball underneath. Thirty-four of his 44 attempts traveled less than 10 yards downfield. He fared well in those situations but faced difficulties further on longer attempts.

Justin Herbert by Target Depth

Target Depth Completions Attempts Yds TD:INT
Behind LOS 2 3 -4 0:0
0-9 Yards 23 31 249 1:1
10-19 Yards 1 5 18 0:0
20+ Yards 2 5 40 1:1
Running Back

Lead back Austin Ekeler couldn’t find much room on the ground, as he finished with 31 yards on 12 carries. Twenty-six of those yards came after contact. He did come away with five catches on six targets for 34 yards, 19 of them coming after the catch.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Keenan Allen was the top target for Herbert, and he hauled in five catches on eight targets for 63 yards, three of which went for first downs. Mike Williams was the only other player from this group with more than two targets. He saw five and caught three for 32 yards. All three went for first downs.

Offensive Line

Tackle Senio Kelemete allowed five pressures and a sack, while Storm Norton and Michael Schofield III gave up two pressures each but no sacks. 

Defensive Line

Joey Bosa recorded four pressures and a sack as a pass-rusher while posting three run stops. Jerry Tillery and Uchenna Nwosu each had two pressures. 

Linebacker

Kyzir White made four run stops, one of which was for a loss. He was also targeted four times and gave up a reception each time, but only one went for a first down. He was credited with another three stops against the pass.

Secondary

Derwin James was targeted three times and pulled down an interception on one of them. He allowed just one catch for three yards. The unit as a whole allowed just 65 yards on 12 targets.

Denver Broncos

Quarterback

Bridgewater went out near the end of the first quarter, and Drew Lock played until halftime before ceding his spot back to Bridgewater.

Bridgewater vs. Lock

QB Dropbacks YPA Avg. Depth of Target Avg. Time to Throw TD:INT
Teddy Bridgewater 19 7.2 6.3 2.32 1:0
Drew Lock 8 3.7 6.0 2.26 0:1
Running Back

Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams split the carries almost even, with Gordon getting 17 handoffs to Williams’ 14. Gordon was given more room to operate, averaging 3.8 average yards before contact en route to 4.9 yards per carry. Williams was at just 2.9 average yards before contact and 3.9 yards per rush.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

No Denver player had over 26 receiving yards. Tim Patrick hit that number on three targets and two catches. Jerry Jeudy had the highest yards per route run on the team (1.32).

Offensive Line

Rookie guard Quinn Meinerz allowed four pressures, and tackle Cameron Fleming gave up two. They were the only two linemen with multiple pressures allowed.

Defensive Line

McTelvin Agim recorded a sack and three pressures, and Stephen Weatherly notched a sack and two pressures. Jonathon Cooper and DaShawn Williams each had a sack, too. Malik Reed and Dre’Mont Jones both tallied four pressures but no sacks.

Linebacker

Kenny Young made two stops against the run but gave up a touchdown and two first downs on five targets for 56 yards.

Secondary

Surtain allowed just 25 yards in his coverage on six targets and nabbed two interceptions. On the other side of the field, Kyle Fuller was picked on repeatedly. He allowed seven catches on nine targets for 93 yards, with five of those receptions going for first downs.

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