5 Takeaways From Chargers’ 19-16 Week 6 Win Over Broncos

What are the main takeaways we learned from the Chargers’ Week 6 win over the Broncos?

The Chargers pulled out a 19-16 overtime win over the Broncos Monday night at SoFi Stadium to improve to a 4-2 record.

Here are five takeaways from the Chargers’ fourth win of the season:

Dustin Hopkins guts out game-winner on injured leg

The Chargers offense found the end zone just once against the Broncos defense. That meant the majority of their points would come in the form of field goals.

Kicker Dustin Hopkins, who injured his leg early in the second quarter following an extra point attempt, gutted out the remained of the game with a tweaked hamstring.

“Before every kick you knew that it was going to feel like somebody stabbed you with a knife,” Hopkins said of the pain he was dealing with. “Pain is temporary. I was just kind of committed to swinging and dealing with the pain after after the kick.”

In overtime, Hopkins hit the 39-yard game-winning field goal to seal it. He went four-for-four on the night, making each kick while dealing with noticeable pain, and in some cases, dropping to the ground and grabbing a hold of his leg after completing his kicking motion.

“I knew I was trying to focus on a little backswing and just get through the ball,” Hopkins said of the game-winner. “I wasn’t thinking about the circumstance or anything like that. I was trying to repeat my swing thoughts in my head, even though that changed from pregame to mid-game.”

Hopkins is now nine-for-10 on field goal tries this season.

Ja’Sir Taylor and Deane Leonard uplift special teams unit

Hopkins’ 39-yarder to win it was setup by the special teams takeaway sparked by rookies Ja’Sir Taylor and Deane Leonard.

Punter JK Scott uncorked a 48-yard punt with plenty of hang time that allowed the Chargers’ gunners to get downfield. With Broncos return man Montrell Washington planted under the ball, signaling the fair catch sign, his teammate P.J. Locke tried putting a block on Taylor right in front of the return man, but was driven back into Washington, resulting in a muffed punt.

“Once I saw the fair catch and saw him relax, his teammate was standing right in front of him,” Taylor said. “Instead of just letting him catch it, I decided to just make a play and bump the defender into him.”

Leonard came in and recovered the ball, setting the Chargers up in field goal range to then bring out Hopkins four plays later for the game-winner.

“We knew when they need a return, they’re gonna put a second blocker back there,” Taylor said. “We practice that all the time and when the opportunity presented itself, I made the most of it.”

Defense makes second half adjustment 

The Chargers defense got off to a rough start, allowing the Broncos to score 10 points on Denver’s first two drives of the game. Russell Wilson started the contest 10-of-10 for 116 yards and one touchdown.

But when things got tight down the stretch, the Chargers defense came through when they needed it most.

“We didn’t have our best stuff in the first half on defense and we came out and played a lot better in the second half,” linebacker Drue Tranquill said. 

In the second half and overtime, Wilson was held to completing 3-of-11 passes for 15 yards and 0 touchdowns.

“In the second half, punt-punt-punt, field goal after a takeaway, three-and-out, punt-punt-punt,” Staley said. “Our defense came to play tonight.”

J.C. Jackson gets benched

The Chargers’ high-priced free agent addition has gotten off to a rough start getting acclimated to Brandon Staley’s scheme. And in Week 6, things didn’t go in J.C. Jackson’s favor yet again.

After allowing two catches for 86 yards and one touchdown across the first two quarters, per Pro Football Focus, the Chargers benched Jackson in the second half, turning to Michael Davis as his replacement.

“It just wasn’t good enough in the first half and we felt like we needed to make a change,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said of the decision.

Davis, who played 32 defensive snaps, allowed one catch for five yards in replacing Jackson.

“I thought Mike [Davis] gave us a chance in the second half. I liked the way that he played. He was ready. Proud of him.

The offensive line shakeup

The Chargers entered the game without starting center Corey Linsley due to food poisoning. That meant Will Clapp would make the start in Linsley’s absence.

Right tackle Trey Pipkins gave it a go despite playing through an MCL sprain that he suffered last week.

As the Chargers offensive line was piecing together their protection, at one point, Clapp went down with an injury that forced third-string center Brenden Jaimes into action.

With many moving parts to the offensive line, the Broncos delivered eight quarterback hits on Justin Herbert, but were held to two sacks.

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Read more from Charger Report:

Chargers K Dustin Hopkins Hits Game-Winning Field Goal on Injured Leg to Beat Broncos in OvertimeLive In-Game Updates: Chargers vs. Broncos Week 6Pregame Report: Chargers vs. Broncos Week 6Chargers vs. Broncos Game Day Betting Odds: Week 6 Point Spread, Moneyline, Over/UnderChargers vs. Broncos Week 6 Game Prediction

Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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