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Random thoughts from Denver at half

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

DENVER -- Here's some halftime thoughts as Denver leads San Diego, 31-17:

  • Darren Sproles is a major weapon. He returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown to cut Denver's lead to 21-10. The backup running back gave San Diego life when it needed it most. The 103-yard return tied a 46-year old team record for a kickoff return.

  • Denver tight end Tony Scheffler is having a big game with two touchdown catches from Jay Cutler who is continuing his fine early season.

  • The Chargers miss Shawne Merriman. The Chargers have not been able to establish much of a pass rush against Cutler without Merriman, who is out for the year with a left knee injury. Cutler has thrown for 230 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.

  • Denver receiver Brandon Marshall has 10 catches for 117 yards in the first half.

  • LaDainian Tomlinson was out late in the second quarter, getting his injured toe checked. He was questionable going into the game.

  • This has been very chippy game. Both teams are going after each other very aggressively.

  • Denver linebacker D.J. Williams, who just signed a lucrative contract extension, may have to dip into his wallet.

Williams hit San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers under the helmet with his helmet and was penalized 15 yards. Williams could be facing a fine.

  • The on-field instant replay machine, which wasn't working when San Diego challenged a call in the first quarter that led to a Denver touchdown, was working when a Denver touchdown was challenged by the officials, inside the final two minutes of the first half. The play on the field stood.