Six-Pack of Observations: Broncos 34, Chargers 23

1. Royal is making his presence felt in other facets of the game
After hauling in 91 receptions for 980 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie last year, Eddie Royal has largely been a bust in his second year. But he proved Monday night that he could contribute in other areas, especially on special teams. He returned a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter and a 71-yard punt return in the second quarter. As Denver’s offense sputtered in the first half, Royal provided a major spark.

2. The Broncos’ offensive line has been fantastic
Kyle Orton has turned out to be a great fit for Josh McDaniels’ offense, but he owes a lot of his success to his O-line. They’ve protected him like Fort Knox all season and did so again Monday night. Orton had all day to throw and was accurate when his receivers broke free from defenders. The Broncos’ front five continues to be one of the better units in the league.

3. The Chargers’ defense is a mess
One would have thought Ron Rivera would have fixed some of San Diego’s defensive issues during the team’s bye week. But the same problems that the Bolts had heading into the bye were evident again tonight: They couldn’t generate any pressure, they didn’t tackle well and they couldn’t come up with the big stop when they needed it. The Broncos did whatever they wanted offensively in the second half.

4. Turner needs to get Sproles a more active role in the offense
A player as explosive as Darren Sproles should never touch the ball less than 15-20 times a game. Yet tonight, Sproles had one carry for zero yards and one reception for four yards. That’s absolutely unacceptable and while Sproles can make his presence felt on special teams (which he did on a 77 yard punt return for a touchdown right before half time), Norv Turner needs to figure out ways to get him more involved. The Chargers have enough weapons to score 30-plus points a game. But if Turner isn’t going to use all of them, then San Diego’s offense will never reach its full potential.

5. Dumervil is a beast
Elvis Dumervil has emerged as one of the better young defenders in the game. He was almost a one-man wrecking crew in the second half tonight and finished with five tackles, two sacks, a forced fumbles and one tackle for loss. He’s already compiled eight sacks on the season.

6. Scheffler abused San Diego’s safeties
The Chargers’ safeties had no answer for Denver tight end Tony Scheffler tonight. He made an incredible touchdown catch over Eric Weddle in the second half and also had a 52-yard catch and run to set up a Brandon Stokley score in the fourth quarter. He could continue to see more opportunities in the Broncos’ offense as teams concentrate on doubling Brandon Marshall on the outside.

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