Chargers fall to Broncos despite playing most starters into fourth quarter
🏈 Broncos 31, Chargers 28 — FINAL
Despite playing most of his starters into the fourth quarter, coach Brandon Staley watched his team lose an otherwise meaningless game in Denver.
The Chargers locked up the AFC’s fifth seed moments before kickoff when Baltimore lost at Cincinnati.
Still, Staley played his starters extensively with poor results. Wide receiver Mike Williams (back) and linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. (stinger) both were knocked out of the game because of first-half injuries.
Edge rusher Joey Bosa did not play in the second half, the Chargers announcing nothing about his status health-wise. Bosa suffered a core-muscle injury that cost him 12 games before he returned last week.
The Chargers will travel to Jacksonville for a wild-card round playoff game next weekend. The NFL is expected to announce the day and time of that matchup Sunday night.
Chase Daniel connects with Keenan Allen for fourth-quarter TD
Broncos 31, Chargers 28 — 6:02 left in the fourth quarter
Chase Daniel passed to Keenan Allen for a three-yard touchdown and then hit Joshua Palmer for the two-point conversion to pull the Chargers to within 31-28 with 6:02 remaining in regulation in Denver.
The Chargers took over possession on a muffed punt that was recovered by Alohi Gilman at the Broncos’ 29-yard line.
Daniel replaced Justin Herbert in the fourth quarter. Herbert finished 25 of 37 for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
Allen is up to eight receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
Broncos capitalize on costly Chargers fumble to extend lead
🏈 Broncos 31, Chargers 20 — 11:15 left in the fourth quarter
A shaky day for the Chargers continued when Courtland Sutton caught a 20-yard pass from Russell Wilson to extend Denver’s lead in the fourth quarter. A costly lost fumble by DeAndre Carter after a 27-yard catch put the ball back in Wilson’s hands ahead of the eight-play, 89-yard scoring drive.
Defensively, the Chargers have given up several big plays against the NFL’s worst scoring offense.
Their four-game winning streak appears to be about to end despite coach Brandon Staley playing his starters into the fourth quarter.
Chase Daniel finally replaced Justin Herbert and several other subs entered following Sutton’s score.
Chargers still playing starters as they cut into Broncos’ lead
🏈 Broncos 24, Chargers 20 — 6:42 left in the third quarter
Cameron Dicker kicked a 36-yard field goal to pull the Chargers to within 24-20 with 6:42 remaining in the third quarter.
The boot capped a five-play, 28-yard drive that was set up by an interception by defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day on a Russell Wilson pass that was deflected by Kyle Van Noy.
Chargers coach Brandon Staley has continued to play his starters in a game that has no impact on the playoff picture, opening himself up to national ridicule as the team lost wide receiver Mike Williams and linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. to injury in the first half.
Edge rusher Joey Bosa has not played in the second half. He is on the sidelines, still in uniform, but appears to be done for the day. The Chargers have not announced anything officially regarding Bosa’s health.
He missed 12 games because of a core-muscle injury before returning last weekend.
Starters continue to play for Chargers as Broncos take the lead
🏈 Broncos 24, Chargers 17 — 11:42 left in third quarter
Chargers coach Brandon Staley continued to play his regulars into the third quarter of an otherwise meaningless game here in Denver.
The team lost wide receiver Mike Williams to a back injury and linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. to a stinger in the first half.
Edge rusher Joey Bosa, who missed 12 games because of a core-muscle injury, also was not visible on the sidelines during Denver’s opening drive of the third quarter.
The Broncos took a 24-17 lead on a 24-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Tyler Badie with 11:42 remaining in the third quarter.
Mike Williams sustains back injury; game tied at halftime
🏈 Chargers 17, Broncos 17 — HALFTIME
The Chargers lost wide receiver Mike Williams late in the first half because of a back injury.
The team’s top deep threat, Williams was injured after making a six-yard reception in the final three minutes of the second quarter.
He limped off the field and spent an extended period in the medical tent, the team announcing that Williams is questionable to return. He was later carted off the field.
The Chargers played their starters throughout the first half despite having locked up the AFC’s fifth seed moments before kickoff.
They are tied with Denver 17-17 after two quarters. Cameron Dicker made it 17-10 with a 48-yard field goal with 26 seconds left.
The Broncos came back to tie the score on a three-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Eric Tomlinson.
Chargers take lead on Gerald Everett touchdown catch
🏈 Chargers 14, Broncos 7 — 10:57 left in the second quarter
Justin Herbert hit Gerald Everett for a three-yard touchdown to put the Chargers up 14-7 with 10:57 remaining in the first half at Denver.
The score capped a 12-play, 53-yard drive. Herbert has opened the game 11 of 15 for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
Keenan Allen has three receptions for 56 games and a score. Mike Williams has three catches for 26 yards.
Broncos strike back with first-quarter touchdown
🏈 Chargers 7, Broncos 7 — 3:55 left in the first quarter
Denver’s Latavius Murray scored on a two-yard run to make it 7-7 with 3:55 remaining in the first quarter.
The Broncos rolled 75 yards in 13 plays against the Chargers’ starting defense to pull even.
Since they are locked into the fifth spot in the AFC, the Chargers aren’t expected to play their starters for long in this game.
Quarterback Justin Herbert and the No. 1 offense has taken the field to start the team’s second offensive series.
Justin Herbert connects with Keenan Allen for early touchdown
🏈 Chargers 7, Broncos 0 — 11:17 left in the first quarter
Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen led the Chargers on an eight-play, 75-yard game-opening touchdown drive at Denver.
Herbert hit Allen for the 14-yard score on third and four to make it 7-0. The two also connected for 30 yards to convert a third and eight on the series.
Having clinched the AFC’s fifth seed moments before kickoff when Baltimore lost at Cincinnati, the Chargers still opened the game with their starters on both offense and defense.
Chargers lock up AFC’s fifth seed with Ravens’ victory
With Baltimore’s 27-16 loss at Cincinnati, the Chargers locked up the AFC’s fifth seed.
They will travel to Jacksonville next weekend for the wild-card round of the playoffs.
The Ravens-Bengals game ended just before the Chargers’ game at Denver kicked off.
NFL readers Q&A: If Ravens and Chargers finish tied, who owns playoff tiebreaker?
How is it decided which team wins a tiebreaker for a higher seed in the playoffs? If Baltimore and the Chargers have the same record, which team is the fifth seed and why?
David Sanchez, Canoga Park
Miller: First tiebreaker is head to head. Since the Chargers and Ravens didn’t play each other this season, the next tiebreaker is conference record. The Chargers are 7-4 in the AFC and the Ravens 6-5, which gives the Chargers the edge. If the conference records are the same, the next tiebreaker is record against common opponents.
Chargers’ opponents for 2023 season announced
The Chargers’ opponents for the 2023 season are set, with the times and dates to be determined later.
The team’s home schedule will include: Kansas City, Las Vegas, Denver, Buffalo, Miami, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago and Dallas.
The away schedule: Kansas City, Las Vegas, Denver, New York Jets, New England, Tennessee, Minnesota and Green Bay.
Chargers’ Derwin James explains ejection; Joey Bosa reveals unnoted illness
The three-time Pro Bowl safety offered another emphatic declaration Thursday:
“I’m not a dirty player,” James said. “If you look at how I play every week, I’m not out to hurt nobody. I don’t play the game that way. I wasn’t taught the game that way.”
James, speaking for the first time since he was ejected for a high hit on Indianapolis wide receiver Ashton Dulin on Dec. 26, said the incident was the result of the play unfolding quickly.
Flagged for a 15-yard penalty, James was then kicked out after a consultation among game officials. The league later issued a fine but opted to not suspend James.
Joey Bosa and Chargers focus on the little things, not big picture, before Broncos game
They’ve won four games in a row and five of six, clinched a postseason berth and are as healthy as they’ve been in months, and suddenly the Chargers aren’t Chargering at all.
Entering the regular season’s final Sunday, they have a chance to complete the jump from 6-6 to the AFC’s top wild-card spot, which would bury even deeper the chronic notion that this franchise is cursed.
Still, as someone who has been a Charger longer than most, Joey Bosa wasn’t interested in contemplating the team’s turn of good fortune and what it might mean cosmically.
“[Let’s] just try to focus on what we do and not think about that,” Bosa said. “It reminds me of early in the season. ‘Oh, you have all these guys back healthy’ and then the [stuff] hits the fan.”
Chargers vs. Broncos inactives: Bryce Callahan will not play
Bryce Callahan is among the Chargers’ inactives for today at Denver.
The team’s top slot corner, Callahan has been dealing with a core-muscle issue in recent weeks.
Otherwise, all of the Chargers’ regulars are active for a game that might ultimately not mean anything in the AFC standings.
If Baltimore loses at Cincinnati — the Bengals are leading 24-10 early in the third quarter — the Chargers would clinch the conference’s fifth seed and play at Jacksonville next weekend in the wild-card round.
The Chargers’ other inactives: fullback Zander Horvath (ankle), quarterback Easton Stick, running back Isaiah Spiller, offensive tackle Storm Norton, wide receiver Michael Bandy and defensive lineman Tyeler Davison.
Here’s how Chargers can clinch top AFC wild-card spot before kickoff
On Sunday, the Chargers will play one of their most important games of the season.
Unless the game means nothing.
A victory at Denver or a loss by Baltimore clinches the AFC’s No. 5 seed for the Chargers, who have the same 10-6 record as the Ravens but hold the tiebreaker because of a better conference record.
The NFL on Wednesday set the kickoff of Baltimore’s regular-season finale at Cincinnati for 10 a.m., West Coast time.
That’s three hours, 25 minutes before the Chargers and Broncos will begin, meaning the Chargers should know by kickoff if the result of their game still holds significance.
Chargers vs. Denver Broncos matchups, how to watch and prediction
Breaking down how the Chargers (10-6) and the Denver Broncos (4-12) match up heading into their game at 1:25 p.m. PST on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver. The game will be shown on CBS (Ch. 2) and streamed on NFL+.
When Chargers have the ball
It’s impossible to know exactly what to expect when the Chargers have the ball against Denver because no one can be sure yet who those Chargers will be. If Baltimore wins earlier Sunday at Cincinnati, the Chargers will need to beat the Broncos to claim the AFC’s No. 5 seed. That means Herbert will play. If the Ravens lose, this game against Denver becomes meaningless, which could lead to Daniel playing sooner and more than he ever has for this team.
Chargers vs. Denver Broncos: Betting lines, odds and picks against the spread
The 2022 NFL season ends for one Los Angeles team on Sunday, while the other prepares to hit the road for the wild-card weekend. The Rams will look to end on a high note and potentially play spoiler against the Seattle Seahawks, while the Chargers will hope to stay healthy and maintain a grasp on the No. 5 seed against the Denver Broncos.
Chargers at Denver Broncos (-3, 40)
It has to be a little shocking to see the Broncos favored over the Chargers here, but there are tons of questions about who will play this week for Los Angeles. Maintaining the No. 5 seed is important because facing the AFC South champion is a much better draw than facing the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals or Baltimore Ravens.