Broncos report card: A quality defensive outing propels Denver to home win over Chargers on New Year’s Eve

Offense — C

The Broncos offense in many ways looked similar to the work Russell Wilson did over the season’s first 15 games. Head coach Sean Payton had to burn a timeout on the third paly of the game. The Broncos struggled in goal-to-go situations and the well went dry for the entirety of the third quarter. At the same time, though, Denver ran the ball effectively and Stidham found something of a rhythm after a slow start. He threw for 165 yards in the first half and 224 overall. He didn’t wow, but he also didn’t turn the ball over. This one’s not going in the hall of fame by any stretch after 313 yards of offense (4.7 per play) and the team’s lowest scoring output since Week 6, but the Broncos controlled most of the game and did enough to get the job done.

Defense — A-

The Broncos defense shut down the Chargers’ makeshift offense from the start. They allowed just a trio of field goals on the afternoon and held quarterback Easton Stick and company to 2 of 11 on third downs. Los Angeles is playing out the string and doing it with several reserves on offense, but it never felt at Empower Field on Sunday like the Chargers were going to provide a real threat. That’s what you want from your defense in a game like this one.

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