Last night’s game between the Chargers and Broncos took locker room adjustments to a whole new level.
After trailing 24-0 at halftime, Peyton Manning rallied the Broncos to one of the greatest road comebacks in NFL history, as Denver scored 35 unanswered to win 35-24. The win also gave Denver a share of first place with San Diego in the AFC West at 3-3.
“It sure was special considering what was on the line,” said Manning via ESPN.com.
Manning caught fire in the second half, completing 13 of 14 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. He ended the night with 24 completions on 30 attempts and 309 yards, but he wasn’t the only one responsible for the comeback.
After finally getting on the scoreboard early in the third quarter on a Manning pass to Demaryius Thomas, Denver’s defense helped the cause as Tony Carter returned a San Diego fumble 65 yards to the house, cutting the deficit to 10 at that point, 24-14. After Manning threw two more TDs to give Denver the lead, Chris Harris iced the game with a 46-yard pick-six off Philip Rivers. San Diego ended the game with six turnovers, including four Rivers INTS.
“When you lose it’s rough, especially in a game where you had a big lead and so much at stake,” Rivers said.
The loss marks the second straight week that San Diego has blown a double digit lead, as the Chargers failed to hang on against New Orleans last week after having a 10-point advantage in the third-quarter. Since starting 3-1 and looking like one of the league’s best teams, the Chargers are suddenly 3-3 and in search for answers. They should have plenty of time to find some as they enter their bye week. San Diego’s next game will be on Oct. 28, a road contest against Cleveland, who is currently 1-5.
Denver is also entering its bye week and will return to the gridiron on Oct. 28 as well to face the New Orleans Saints at home. The Saints have started to find their rhythm in recent weeks, so it could prove to be an interesting matchup of two surging teams.
The offseason acquisition of Manning gave Denver a slight edge with odds makers to win the AFC West at 9/5 before the season began. Not surprisingly, the Chargers were not far behind at 2/1. With Oakland and Kansas City struggling, it could be a neck and neck race between these clubs all season, although we are only entering week seven and as we’ve already seen, things in the NFL can change rather quickly.
However, the Broncos play in recent weeks has to get bettors exciting about the team and about Manning as he now seems to adapting to his new surroundings. The Chargers remain as one of the most unpredictable teams in the league; playing like the best team in the NFL one week, and the worst the next. This is understandably scary for bettors who want consistency. That’s why, for now at least, I’d go with Denver to win the West and most of their remaining regular season games. They also have been strong on the road this season, so don’t shy away from spreads when they are the visiting team.