By Keaton Monier
DENVER- The Denver Broncos opened the the Vance Joseph era with a 24-21 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night. Chargers Younghoe Koo’s game tying kick was rocketed through on his first attempt, and if it wasn’t for a timeout by the rookie head coach to ice him, the game would have been sent to overtime.
“I had two timeouts and I wasn’t going to leave with those in my pocket,” Joseph said.
Shelby Harris was able to get a hand on Koo’s second attempt leaving the Chargers kick and comeback hopes just short. Harris who started because both Nose Tackles Jared Crick and Zach Kerr were out with injuries. Harris was as astonished as anyone else with his late game heroics.
“I have no clue what happened,” Harris said. “I just felt it. I just couldn’t tell you where I felt it.”
Denver’s first three quarters looked reminiscent the days when they dominated the AFC West for five straight seasons. Trevor Siemian looked unstoppable throwing two touchdown passes to Bennie Fowler and running one in himself. The Broncos were 175-0-1 when leading by 17 or more in the fourth quarter, so to say the least they were confident about getting the win.
But after two turnovers, that were converted into touchdowns, and a missed field goal by the newly extended kicker worth 11.25 million. The Broncos were falling apart on national television for everyone to see.
After keeping Phillip Rivers under wraps for the first three quarters only allowing him 115 total passing yards. Rivers threw touchdown passes to Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin following the Denver turnovers. Rivers avoided the “no-fly-zone” of Chris Harris Jr. and Alqib Talib, targeting safeties Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons.
The pregame hype around the week one AFC West rivalry had little to do with football, with the Chargers playing their first game as a representative of Los Angeles since their inaugural season in 1960. In the booth Beth Mowins became the fist women play-by-play commentator during the regular season since 1987 when Gayle Sierens of NBC was on the call. Mownins joined Rex Ryan in the booth for ESPN’s annual Monday Night double-header, as Ryan made his debut as an ESPN analyst. Also making his head coaching debut on the other side was Anthony Lynn, marking the first time in history two African-American head coaches worked their first NFL game against each other.
Even though Philip Rivers caught fire in the fourth quarter, which would have led to a colossal collapse of the Denver Broncos, Vance Joseph was able to escape with his first career victory as a head coach.