L.A.’s Chargers* are away to a 0-1 start after a sloppy performance Monday night that was almost salvaged with a turnover-fueled comeback.
If the Denver Broncos blocked an attempted 44-yard field goal in the final seconds Team Spanos dropped, 24-21.
Was this a case of “same old Chargers” despite the L.A. designation and the presence of a brand new head coach, Anthony Lynn, on the sideline?
Yes and no.
Since the failed block was equal to a that denied San Diego a tying field goal in winless Cleveland.
By creasing between center and right guard in both cases, a defensive lineman bulldozed a blocker.
This time, it was long-armed Shelby Harris with assistance from lineman Derek Wolfe driving rookie guard Dan Feeney backward and swatting the kick of Younghoe Koo. Feeney, A draftee is scrappy and quick-handed, but NFL scouts said before that the draft his strength would need to improve.
Joseph saved Denver
New Broncos head coach Vance Joseph played a key role.
Before the block, the first kick from 44 of Koo had gone between the uprights, but officials ruled that Joseph had called timeout before the snap.
When the second kick was started and the Harris redirected it, a special-teams collapse had Team Spanos.
Specials still subpar
Failures on particular teams had plagued all of four of Mike McCoy’s teams .
Lynn replaced him with a special teams coach, and fired when he was promoted to the job the previous special teams coach, who was new to the coordinator role.
The overall results were bad again.
In the first halfof L.A. punt units dropped five yards with a false start, dropped three yards on a yield and let a 31-yard yield that led to a Broncos touchdown.
Other recognizable problems resurfaced, beating L.A.
Philip Rivers was at a state deep in the play clock on several plays. Furthermore, the defense of Denver dialed to the crime’s habit of never snapping unitl the play clock was expired.
Ingram led all
But, L.A. got several big plays from Melvin Ingram, who was the best actor for both group.
This summer Ingram, whom the front office signed into a extension, created pressure in high altitude for four quarters. Broncos blockers were whipped by him on the border and inside.
Fellow end Joey Bosa had a subpar first half, jumping offside to create a drama that Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian turned into a touchdown pass against pass defenders that are slow-reacting. Siemian evaded Bosa from the field and ran from there for six points.
Bosa made plays in the second half, as did Drew Kaser, who had a punt.
Both the defense and offense clicked in the fourth quarter.
Cashing in on turnovers created Adrian Phillips, Korey Toomer and by newcomer Desmond King, the visitors scored 14 points within 70 seconds to cut the deficit to 3 points.
After discovering Antonio Gates was double-teamed rivers, who was with an abysmal game hit on Keenan Allen for a pass. When Travis Benjamin got behind the defense, Rivers struck him for a very long touchdown that pulled L.A. to 24-21.
Rather than finishing the comeback that would have dealt Denver a stunning defeat — that the franchise had dropped when leading by 17 or more points in the fourth quarter — Team Spanos reprised the numerous close defeats of this Norv Turner and Mike McCoy eras.
Yet, the performance through three quarters has been worse than “same old Chargers.”
L.A. let Denver control the match and build a 24-7 lead. Two remarkable completions were made by Siemian while getting hit directly on. And the play-calling of McCoy seemed to reap the offense of Denver.
But the L.A. defense had problems in policy, handling and pass-rush integrity.
The typical dynamics of a offense proved absent, as if Mark Sanchez, Lynn Jets passer, was the quarterback as opposed to a passer at Rivers. The up-tempo offense was mothballed. Gates was a decoy. Rivers seldom moved to Hunter Henry, either (he was open on a quick course on a play that turned into a 2.85-second sack) or the crossing patterns to speedsters led by Tyrell Williams.
En route to the kick that is failed, the clock management was suspicious.
Distributing Melvin Gordon, who had been effective as pass-catcher and a rusher, was inquisitive coming out of the warning at the first half. A third-down failure ensued.
The defense was sluggish on third downs. On one lousy play, a good profit was created by Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders by crossing the field, against defenders.
The Chargers were better from the four openers.
Consistency was — seen by even the cluttered Week 1 loss three years back in Arizona — a contest the Bolts frittered away by dropping no fewer than six passes .
Cornerback Jason Verrett, as expected, revealed he has a ways to go from knee surgery in his comeback.
Casey Hayward will wince this week when he recalls dropping a Siemian pass.
Rather than an interception that could have gone for a 7-0 lead and a touchdown, it moved for a reprieve that Denver turned into a 7-0 lead.
In the end, it was more than a blocked kick that gave Angelenos a taste of what San Diegans experienced in the past few years.
Tom.Krasovic@SDUnionTribune.com; Twitter: SDUTKrasovic