Chargers report: Joey Bosa returns to action, but Corey Liuget is finished for season

Chargers defensive lineman Joey Bosa takes the field in uniform for the first time this season during warmups before a game against the Denver Broncos at Stubhub Center on Sunday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

He was back on the field Sunday, scrambling after Denver’s Case Keenum and generally making things more difficult for all the Broncos.

Afterward, though, Joey Bosa was the one who did the escaping, the 2017 Pro Bowl defensive end in no mood to discuss his much-anticipated return.

“I’m outta here,” he told reporters assembled at his locker. “See you guys.”

After missing the first nine games of the season because of a foot injury, Bosa played about half of the Chargers’ defensive snaps.


He finished with one tackle, chasing down running back Phillip Lindsay on a screen pass.

“It was nice to have Joey back in there,” defensive tackle Brandon Mebane said. “He’s a good player. We’ve missed him. I think he looked good, and obviously, he’s gonna get better.”

Bosa hit Keenum once, grabbing him around the ankles to force an incompletion on a third down in the third quarter.

He also forced a Denver punt earlier when he sprinted more than half the width of the field to pressure Keenum into throwing the ball away along the Broncos sideline.


“He’s got to get his rhythm,” rookie safety Derwin James said. “That was his first game back. You gotta give him time.”

Liuget is done

The Chargers lost defensive tackle Corey Liuget for the remainder of the season to what coach Anthony Lynn described as a knee injury. The veteran was hurt midway through the second quarter.

A week ago, in a victory over Oakland, the Chargers lost linebacker Denzel Perryman for the season because of a knee injury.


They also are playing without rookie linebacker Kyzir White, who was starting before he went down with a knee injury. White is on the injured reserve list and still could return this season.

Fake news

For the second consecutive week, the Chargers were victims of a successful fake punt.

Early in the second quarter, Denver’s Colby Wadman passed to fullback Andy Janovich for a 12-yard gain to convert fourth-and-five near midfield.


On the next play, Lindsay went 41 yards for the Broncos’ first points.

“They schemed us, and they got it,” Lynn said. “Everybody’s screaming ‘Fake punt,’ but they still schemed and got the fake punt. It’s just not acceptable two weeks back-to-back. Just not acceptable.”

In Oakland last weekend, Raiders punter Johnny Townsend took the long snap and ran 42 yards for a first down.

That trick play didn’t cost the Chargers points as the defense eventually made a goal-line stand on fourth down to end the possession.


Flood Gates

The defeat obscured what would have been a headlining day for tight end Antonio Gates.

The veteran caught five passes for 80 yards, including a 27-yard scoring pass from Philip Rivers in the third quarter.

“He did a nice job, and it was good to have him be such a part of it again,” Rivers said. “I know it was important to him. But … it’s not fun when it ends like this.”


Bad picks

Rivers finished with 401 yards, completing 28 of 43 attempts, and was very good on third down as the Chargers converted on nine of 15 tries.

But he also threw two interceptions, including one that Von Miller returned 42 yards to set up a Denver touchdown that — along with the extra point — tightened the score to 19-14 late in the third quarter.


“The interception turned the game around to me,” Rivers said. “That spun the whole game. It was about to be a blowout, and he made that play, then the touchdown. … All of a sudden they made it a game.”

Rivers was eight for eight for 175 yards on third down in the first half, the Chargers continually extending drives.

Penalties, however, repeatedly thwarted their efforts and prevented them from opening a more comfortable gap.

“We shouldn’t have been in that situation,” Rivers said of trying to secure the game late. “It should’ve been about 33-7 at that point.”



Rookie Michael Badgley missed his first kick — a third-quarter extra point — in four games with the Chargers, a costly hook given the 23-22 final score. He is now 10 for 11 on extra points and eight for eight on field goals. … Keenan Allen on the 4-6 Broncos: “No, I don’t think they played well at all. We dominated the game. Turnovers. We gave them some points. That’s what happens. They suck.”… Melvin Gordon on the Rams playing AFC West-leading Kansas City on Monday: “We definitely need the Rams now, definitely, to go out there and help us out.”

Twitter: @JeffMillerLAT


Staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.