Broncos cruise to victory while Chargers lose Justin Herbert

Dec 10, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws the ball during the first half in a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Wilson threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns Sunday and the Denver Broncos’ suddenly ferocious defense knocked out Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert in the first half of a 24-7 win in Inglewood, Calif., that kept Denver in the AFC playoff hunt.

Wilson completed 21 of 33 passes with an interception. He gave the Broncos (7-6) a 17-0 lead with 5:55 left in the third quarter when he found Courtland Sutton for a 46-yard strike. Sutton caught the ball with his right arm in the back of the end zone while being interfered with by a Los Angeles defender.

After Austin Ekeler scored on a 3-yard run to pull the Chargers (5-8) within 17-7 with 10:37 remaining in the game, Denver chewed up nearly 7 1/2 minutes on a clinching touchdown drive. Wilson capped it with a 10-yard scoring pass to Adam Trautman.

Herbert was 9-of-17 for 96 yards with an interception when he left with a finger injury in the second quarter. Backup Easton Stick completed 13 of 24 passes for 179 yards.

Herbert had been playing through a fractured finger on his non-throwing hand, but Sunday’s injury was to his right (throwing) hand.

Neither Los Angeles quarterback enjoyed a lot of time to throw. The Broncos logged six sacks for 68 yards.

The same Denver defense that in Week 3 allowed 70 points at Miami completely dominated Los Angeles, beginning when Herbert was intercepted by Jonathon Cooper on a third-down throw deep in his territory.

After Cooper returned it 4 yards to the 3, Javonte Williams cashed in on the short field with a touchdown run on the next play for a 7-0 lead at the 4:55 mark of the first quarter.

The only other scoring in the first half was the result of a well-executed two-minute drive by Wilson, who took his team 65 yards in 10 plays over just 1:23. Wil Lutz converted a 23-yard field goal with five seconds left, enabling the Broncos to head into the break with a 10-0 advantage.

–Field Level Media

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