The debate around Denver will be sweet, mainly because the Broncos won.
Was Ron Dayne the biggest star of Denver’s come-from-behind 20-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday?
Or does Champ Bailey deserve the credit for saving Denver from a debacle of a first half that had Bronco fans booing?
Dayne came off the bench and ran six times for 38 yards in the drive that set up Jason Elam’s game-winning 41-yard field goal with five seconds left.
Bailey opened the third quarter with a 25-yard interception return for a score that started the rally, cutting Denver’s 11-point halftime deficit to 14-10.
“Champ Bailey won the game. Let’s call it like it is,” defensive end Trevor Pryce said. “It shows how one play can make such a big difference.”
Sparked by that play, the Broncos (1-1) allowed San Diego’s offense only 41 yards in the second half, thus avoiding an 0-2 start that would have put them, as Pryce put it, “so far behind the eight-ball, we would’ve been behind the pool table.”
On the winning drive, Dayne ran for 13, eight, three, three and one yard. Then, on fourth and one from the San Diego 33, he took a pitch around left end for 10 to set up Elam’s kick.
“It was a no-brainer to me, and our confidence level was there,” Coach Mike Shanahan said of the fourth-down gamble. “There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to go for it.”
The Chargers fell to 0-2 and lost for the 10th time in their last 11 games in Denver.
The loss also spoiled a record-setting day for LaDainian Tomlinson, who ran for both San Diego scores in the second quarter, the first giving him the NFL record with a rushing touchdown in 14 straight games.