Broncos fans have suffered through such a miserable season that they deserved the unexpected happy ending to Denver's game against the Los Angeles Chargers on December 1 — a 23-20 victory, thanks to a last-second pass interference penalty that prompted L.A. boosters on social media to complain as loudly as their favorite quarterback, the legendarily whiny Philip Rivers.
Prior to this play, the Broncos seemed on track to replicate a slew of prior choke jobs. The squad was under the alleged direction of their third QB of the campaign — rookie Drew Lock, newly freed from injured reserve. And like Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen before him, Lock proved capable of getting off to a fast start, pacing Denver to a 14-0 lead by way of two touchdown passes to the suddenly spectacular Courtland Sutton.
But then, as we've seen all too often in 2019, the offense stalled and the defense gave up late first-half points. After halftime, the Broncos' O went into suspended animation, managing just fourteen yards in the third quarter — and that gave Rivers the chance he needed to notch two TD heaves of his own.
In the final seconds, Denver and Los Angeles were knotted at twenty, and even though the Broncos had the ball, broadcaster James Lofton was certain Lock would take a knee in preparation for overtime. Instead, the University of Missouri product hurled a bomb to Sutton, whose goal was clearly to bait Chargers defender Casey Hayward into a penalty — and Hayward complied, setting Brandon McManus up for the winning field goal. This turn of events caused Hayward and Rivers to react with the sort of shock and disgust that thrills Broncos Country.
Granted, the victory wasn't without its downside. When Denver beat Los Angeles earlier this season, plenty of the Broncos faithful complained that the win would result in a lower draft position — and that's certainly the case again. Still, it was nice to see Lock, who looked (mostly) competent in his regular-season debut, get a win, despite the bizarre circumstances, and even better to watch another fan base experience the sort of misery to which those of us in Colorado have become all too familiar.
See what we mean by counting down our choices for the most memorable post-game tweets.
I normally like big personalities on the field, but I CANT STAND Philip Rivers. Big cry baby.— Larz Coy (@LarzCoy) December 2, 2019
This week the chargers committed pass interference on the last play of the game for 50 yards then broncos kicked a field goal and won lmaooooooooo— Daniel O'Keefe (@BlueCheck4Gamer) December 2, 2019
@NFLOfficiating— loggerincamp (@loggerincamp) December 2, 2019
Chargers pass interference call,
Worst decision in the history of the game. Officials terrible.
Complete rotten Call? Stinks.
so do the refs in the nfl.....they must all get together and smoke crack before they start the game...that pass interference call against the chargers stunk like a cow pattie ..and the rams play off last year a crucial past interference flag was not thrown— Marshall kealer franks (@KealerMarshall) December 2, 2019
We lost to the damn broncos again Philip Rivers is killing me— Caleb (@calebgoon) December 2, 2019
Does anyone else agree with me that the last pass interference on the @Chargers should have been on the @Broncos?— James Gilmore (@jagsqueak) December 2, 2019
The Wide Receiver clearly runs into the Db to get the call!
I hate that the @NFL fixes games to make the @Chargers always lose!
Can we please fix Pass Interference @NFL one guy gets molested no call, another play the defender plays the ball and gets 67 flags thrown. Then fix the stupid SPOT FOULS. Completely screwed the chargers. Its ridiculous— Shelby J. Wears (@TrAD1T10N) December 2, 2019
"Happy" 38th birthday, Philip Rivers? https://t.co/0z9PmF2IQa— Brad James (@BradfatherSpeak) December 2, 2019
The pass interference call at the end of the Chargers Broncos game was nonsense ... can’t imagine the swings in the sports book in the last 19 seconds.— Brendan McEvoy (@Coach_McEvoy) December 2, 2019
The Chargers got robbed by an unjust pass interference call. The DB has just as much right to ball as WR. Replay clearly showed DB looking at trajectory of ball when he ran into WR. Therefore, I conclude it was incidental contact. Not sure why booth review didn’t conclude same.— Sir John (@BlackProdigy73) December 2, 2019
The Philip Rivers Era for the Chargers. pic.twitter.com/1RcKk5p3gh— Rohit Puri (@RohPuri) December 2, 2019
Someone tell me what the standard is for Pass Interference? Does anybody even know? NO! The @NFL doesn’t even know! I just watched a terrible call against the Chargers and a horrendous non call against the chiefs that got challenged and still got it wrong! pic.twitter.com/KPB30Si9q4— WickedSportsContent (@KyleLynd) December 2, 2019
Honestly, I feel sick for the Chargers right now and especially Hayward, and for all us fans that had to watch that B.S!!!! Unreal???— Darin Poole (@PooleManXXL) December 2, 2019
I’m back to hating Philip Rivers again. He hasn’t won enough to whine as much as he does— clip III (@tweetingclip) December 2, 2019
The Chargers losing to Denver twice is so next level for draft position. What a great organization that cares about its fans and future— NICK (@nickgrodo) December 2, 2019
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TALKING HEAD: The Chargers find a new way to lose— NICK (@nickgrodo) December 2, 2019
ME: Therapy is expensive dawg
Drew Lock is Casey Hayward’s daddy— NinjaBread (@AirTrafficInfo) December 2, 2019