SAN DIEGO – Fumble. Punt. Interception. Interception. Interception. Fumble.
The Broncos defense made life miserable during each of the San Diego Chargers’ six drives in the second half on Monday night.
Of those possessions, five resulted in turnovers, two of which were returned for scores. San Diego passed midfield just twice in the half, and both of those drives ended in turnovers. The defensive shutout helped Denver overcome a 24-0 halftime deficit.
“We don’t look at the scoreboard, we just keep digging,” defensive end
With both sides of the ball thriving and feeding off one another, the Broncos began to add touchdown after touchdown.
“I tried to run with him, but I couldn’t,” Dumervil said of the Carter’s fumble return, which was the sixth-longest in team history. “He’s one of the fastest guys on the team. Tony Carter has been playing great all year for us. He stepped up today, his name was called and he was able to make some big plays for us.”
With the defense delivering touchdowns, the Broncos offense had to shoulder less of the scoring burden when points were at a premium as the clock continued to tick.
“Defense scoring with the ball – they scored 14 points,” wide receiver
After the defense forced a three-and-out and the offense responded with another touchdown, San Diego led by just three early in the fourth quarter.
Knowing that San Diego might go for the knockout punch on its next possession, Carter came up with another big play.
With Rivers looking deep down the field for wide receiver Robert Meachem, Carter stepped in front of the wideout and made his first career interception.
“It was a point in the game where you kind of knew they were going to try to put us away and take a shot,” Carter said about his first career interception. “It was just playing technique. Once the ball is in the air, we play it like it’s ours.”
That turnover set up the offense with prime field position, which it converted into seven more points to put the team ahead for the first time all game.
Now charged with defending a lead, the defense was able to pin its ears back and go after the quarterback.
The result? Defensive linemen in the backfield snap after snap. Denver sacked Rivers four times in the second half, including twice on the Chargers’ final drive of the game.
“The pressure, man. I can’t take anything away from Tony Carter and Chris Harris. They played great,” cornerback
For the icing on the cake, the defense punctuated its stellar second-half performance with another strip-sack that resulted in a fumble recovery on its last play of the game.
It was Dumervil that again got to Rivers and knocked the ball loose on the Chargers’ fourth-down desperation play. Safety
"If you had to tell me the perfect day, that was it,” Bailey said. “We made plays, we scored on defense. That’s what great defenses do.”