The Broncos scored 13 straight points in the fourth quarter to draw even with the Chargers, but the Chargers got the last laugh.
Michael Badgley hit a 37-yard field goal with 41 seconds left and Drew Lock‘s Hail Mary was picked off by wide receiver Mike Williams to secure the 19-16 win.
The Chargers led this game 13-0 at halftime and 16-3 after Michael Badgley’s third field goal of the game early in the fourth quarter, but they picked up just 11 yards on their next two possessions and the Broncos Offense finally got into a groove. They scored on three straight drives with a Drew Lock one-yard touchdown run coming between two McManus field goals.
Kick No. 2 tied the game and the Chargers quickly flipped the field. Austin Ekeler had a pair of runs for 45 yards and Justin Herbert hit Jalen Guyton for 23 yards to get into field goal range. Denver was forced to use all of their timeouts and the Chargers’ choice to pass on third down before the kick wound up eating even more time because Herbert was sacked.
Ekeler’s big runs came at the end of a sluggish day on the ground for the running back. He had 10 yards on seven carries before breaking free to set up the game-winning kick. He did catch a touchdown from Herbert in the first half and the score was the 28th of the season for the Chargers’ first-round pick.
That’s a new rookie record and Herbert will try to extend his mark against the Chiefs in Kansas City next weekend. The Chiefs have nothing to play for after locking up the top seed in the AFC and the Chargers will be trying to finish the year with a 7-9 record.
Denver will close its fourth straight losing season and fifth straight year out of the playoffs against the Raiders. The Broncos will finish with a worse record than they had last year, but word this week is that head coach Vic Fangio will return in 2021 despite extending those streaks.
Lock finished 24-of-46 for 264 yards and an interception and one of the questions Fangio and others in Denver will have to answer is whether he’ll be the starter when they return to action next year.