Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
The Broncos lost to the Los Angeles Chargers 21-0 at the StubHub Center, falling to 3-3 on the season. Listen to postgame interviews with Coach Vance Joseph, Trevor Siemian, Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons.
CARSON, Calif. -- The chant reverberated around the StubHub Center toward the end of Sunday's game. But unlike the previous three home games, the home team was being cheered. "Let's go Chargers," Los Angeles fans hollered.
The Los Angeles Chargers are winning over some new followers thanks to their recent success. The Chargers defeated the Denver Broncos 21-0 on Sunday for their third straight win after four consecutive losses.
"We turned over a leaf, man," Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram said. "We started to climb the mountain." The Chargers knocked off the Broncos mostly because of a stingy defense. L.A. spent much of the afternoon in the Denver backfield, sacking Trevor Siemian five times and possibly breaking his nose in the process.
The Chargers also broke the early season negative vibe at the StubHub Center. Each game brought with it a new set of road fans, who in succession rooted for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs while seizing control of the 25,000-seat soccer stadium.
But revved by the Chargers blanking the Broncos for the first time since 1992, the locals were vocal. "We hear everything and we are happy for them," Ingram said. And Ingram is just as happy for his defensive teammates. "It means a lot because we were trying to send a statement out that we are here to play and here to stay," Ingram said. "That is what we pride ourselves in."
On a day with temperatures in the 90s, the Chargers displayed their defensive depth. Mimicking a hockey team, the Chargers changed entire defensive lines at once. "We got No 1s and 2s," Ingram said after the Chargers' first shutout since 2014 against the New York Jets. "We got 1s and 1s. No matter who is out there, we are going to get the job done."
Joey Bosa and Chris McCain each had two sacks. The Chargers forced three turnovers. The Broncos struggled for every yard, never finding a rhythm against a disruptive defense that allowed but 167 yards through three quarters and 251 in the game.
The L.A. fans -- really, there are some -- signaled their appreciation for the Chargers' work in a venue that was sold out at 25,388. "Of course we heard them," Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward said. "No matter if it's 10 Chargers fans in there we're going to play for those 10 Chargers fans. There could be 20,000 Broncos fans, but we'll play for the 7,000 of ours."
But the tide shifted on the sizzling afternoon. Not only are the Chargers back in the AFC West, they've returned to the L.A. sports conversation, too. "Both L.A. football teams are doing pretty good right now," Hayward said, noting the NFC West-leading Rams. "Hopefully, we can continue to stack the wins up."
That comes through loud and clear.