A Coming of Age Win for the Young Chargers Over the Broncos

Joey Bosa

Thursday night was a coming out party for the young Chargers, a possible coming of age for a team that clearly needed it after two weeks of awful late let downs against the New Orleans Saints at home and the Oakland Raiders on the road.

This time around they would not allow themselves to fall into the same trap, despite a gaffe on a punt return by new wide out/returner Travis Benjamin, the team was able to rise up, hold the Broncos to a field goal, and eventually pull out a 21-13 win over the defending Super Bowl Champions.

“You’ve seen the last couple weeks, haven’t you?,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said

“We made it a little too interesting there. Like I say every week, we’re going to learn a ton from this game as a team. But the most important thing was we found a way to win today.”

The MVP of this game was a Chargers defense that at the start of the fourth quarter, had the Broncos gaining just 129 yards of total offense. If you were betting at harrahs casino, you probably would never have guessed that’s who would have rose up against Denver.

With new first-round pick Joey Bosa finally getting on the field and playing valuable minutes, the team seems to finally have gelled on defense to the point of being able to harass quarterbacks and make plays when needed.

None was more important than holding the Broncos to a field goal after the Benjamin fumble, a play that ended up keeping the Chargers ahead for good, and also kept the momentum on their side.

A night that belonged to the young players showed how good the Chargers could be if they just stop making careless mistakes, and with Bosa adding to the mix, they just might be a team that can finally put their 1-4 start behind them.

“Hats off to the Chargers for the draft class,” Bosa said. “Not only great players but great guys. That’s the kind of people you want in your organization. Obviously, it showed tonight.”

Jatavis Brown was another Charger that came up with a big play, one that saw a breakup of a pass in the final minutes by Broncos wide out Demaryius Thomas which forced a fumble that was recovered by Craig Mager, and another huge play being a sack of Brown of Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian to seal the win.

How big was the win for the Chargers? It was their first win over a team with a winning record since they beat the Baltimore Ravens back in late November of 2014. If you’re counting that close to two seasons.

Since then, there’s not been too much to cheer about, but now with a quality win under their belt, here’s hoping the Chargers can follow up on it and keep up the momentum next week when they have a tough test at Atlanta against the Falcons.

Keys to the Game: Chargers Look to Get a Big AFC West Win over Denver

Denver Broncos versus the San Diego Chargers

The Chargers have laid big eggs the last two weeks in games they really could have won, and after a three-point loss to the Raiders on Sunday they are back in action Thursday against another AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos.

If San Diego is going to get back in the race in any fashion in the division, they need to get a big home win over one team that showed some cracks last week in Denver.

Here’s three keys to a Chargers win on Thursday, and our pick of how it will go down below.

1. Turnovers

The Chargers have eight lost fumbles on the season, and right now this team isn’t good enough to be giving up the football on a weekly basis like they have. If they are going to overcome what is still a very good Broncos defense. Philip Rivers also has to be careful with throwing the ball downfield, as the Broncos defense isn’t afraid to go ball hawking. A minus two or more in the this game and they will be on the losing end.

2. Keep Rivers Upright

The Denver defensive unit has sacked opposing quarterbacks 19 times this season, and if the Chargers are going to win, they have to give the Chargers QB time to throw without having Von Miller and the Denver D in his face all night. The Chargers’ offensive line, which could be without starting right tackle Joe Barksdale again this week due to a foot injury, has given up only 11 sacks, which is a good sign, but Thursday isn’t a good time to not have a good night when it comes to giving up sacks.

3. Spread the Ball Around

Last week Atlanta used a variety of screens and their running backs as wide outs to spread the field, if the Chargers want to win, they should take a page from the Falcons book. While Danny Woodhead would be excellent in a game plan like this, look for Melvin Gordon to get a chance to catch a couple passes, and for Rivers to use check downs if the pressure starts to get to him. Getting rid of the ball is as important as ever against the Denver D.

Prediction: The Chargers have lost four of five, and this game is really going to be what team makes the less mistakes. I like the Chargers in this game from the standpoint of Rivers looking to make plays, but don’t like them from the standpoint of they have turned the ball over too much. If San Diego is going to win, they need to avoid the same mistakes that have plagued them the last two weeks. Won’t happen as they fall to 1-5. Denver 20 San Diego 14

Broncos vs Chargers NFL Week Six Capsule

DENVER BRONCOS (4-1) AT SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (1-4)

REGULAR SEASON SERIES

  BRONCOS CHARGERS
SERIES LEADER 62-49-1  
STREAKS Past 4  
COACHES VS. OPP. Gary Kubiak: 3-2 Mike McCoy: 1-5
LAST WEEK L 23-16 vs. Atlanta L 34-31 at Oakland
LAST GAME 1/3/16: Chargers 20 at Broncos 27. Denver RBs Ronnie Hillman & C.J. Anderson combine for 212 rushing yards. Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas has 5 receptions for 117 yards & TD.
LAST GAME AT SITE 12/6/15: Broncos 17, Chargers 3. Denver WR Demaryius Thomas has 6 receptions for 61 yards & TD. Broncos LB Danny Trevathan records 25-yard INT-TD.
REFEREE Craig Wrolstad
BROADCAST CBS/NFLN/Twitter (8:25 PM ET): Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton. SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (Den), 81 (SD). XM: 226 (Den), 225 (SD).

STATS

PASSING Trevor Siemian: 68-101-824-6-3-99.6 Philip Rivers: 117-172-1469-11(T3L)-3-108.4
RUSHING C.J. Anderson: 84-293-3.5-3 Melvin Gordon: 89-299-3.4-6 (T1L)
RECEIVING Emmanuel Sanders: 32-373-11.7-3 Travis Benjamin: 28-394-14.1-2
OFFENSE 327.2 373.2
TAKE/GIVE +3 -2
DEFENSE 301.0 375.0
SACKS Von Miller: 6.5 (2L) Melvin Ingram: 3
INTs Aqib Talib: 3 (T2L) Casey Hayward: 3 (T2L)
PUNTING Riley Dixon (R): 47.3 Drew Kaser (R): 39.1
KICKING Brandon McManus: 41 (11/12 PAT; 10/11 FG) Josh Lambo: 44 (17/18 PAT; 9/10 FG)

NOTES

BRONCOS: QB TREVOR SIEMIAN has won 1st 4 career starts. Is 2-0 on road with 5 TDs, 0 INTs & 134.9 rating…RB C.J. ANDERSON has 8 TDs (7 rush, 1 rec.) in past 10 (incl. playoffs). Rushed for 95 yards & TD in last meeting…WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS is 1 of 2 in NFL with 6,000+ rec. yards (6,168) & 40+ rec. TDs (44) since 2012. Aims for 4th in row with TD. Has 8 rec. TDs in past 8 meetings. Has 25 catches for 406 yards (101.5 per game) & 3 TDs in past 4 vs. SD. WR EMMANUEL SANDERS has 24 catches for 285 yards (95 per game) & 3 TDs in past 3…LB VON MILLER has 11 sacks, 14 TFL, 3 FFs & FR in 10 games vs. SD. Has 11.5 sacks, 3 FFs & INT in past 7 (incl. playoffs). Since 2011 (incl. playoffs), ranks 2nd in NFL with 73 sacks. CB AQIB TALIB has 3 INTs in past 4, incl. INT-TD. Has 9 career INT-TDs, tied for 4th in NFL history. LB SHANE RAY has 4 sacks & FR-TD in past 4…CHARGERS: QB PHILIP RIVERS aims for 4th in row with 300+ pass yards. Had 359 yards & 4 TDs last week. Since 2008, has 36,228 pass yards, 2nd most in NFL…RB MELVIN GORDON leads NFL with 7 TDs (6 rush, 1 rec.). Has TD in all 5 games in 2016…WR-PR TRAVIS BENJAMIN has 15 career TDs (12 rec., 3 PR) & 9 have been 40+ yards. Had 9 catches for 117 yards in last game vs. Den. (10/18/15 with Cle.). WR TYRELL WILLIAMS had 1st career 100-yard game (117) last week (5 catches, 1 TD). Had career-long 80-yard TD in last meeting. TE ANTONIO GATES ranks 2nd in NFL history among TEs with 106 rec. TDs. Has 4 TDs in past 4 meetings…LB MELVIN INGRAM aims for 4th in row vs. Den. with sack. Has 9.5 sacks & 2 FFs in past 10. Rookie DE JOEY BOSA had 2 sacks in NFL debut last week. CB CASEY HAYWARD has 3 INTs in past 4.

Broncos vs Chargers Monday Injury Report

DENVER BRONCOS at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS on Thursday night
DENVER BRONCOS
 
Practice Report
  DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
  Monday LB DeMarcus Ware (forearm)
 
  LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Monday QB Trevor Siemian (left shoulder), CB Kayvon Webster (hamstring)
 
  FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Monday WR Bennie Fowler (elbow), TE Virgil Green (calf), S Shiloh Keo (knee), S Justin Simmons (hand), T Donald Stephenson (calf), LB Dekoda Watson (elbow), DE Billy Winn (low back)
 
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (San Diego did not conduct a practice on Monday. The Monday practice report is an estimation.)
 
Practice Report
  DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
  Monday S Jahleel Addae (collarbone), T Joe Barksdale (foot), CB Brandon Flowers (concussion), G Orlando Franklin (ankle), T Chris Hairston (groin), CB Craig Mager (shoulder), LB Denzel Perryman (shoulder)
 
  LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Monday P Drew Kaser (back)

Chargers Fail Late Again; Fall to Raiders 34-31 to Fall to 1-4

San Diego Chargers v Oakland Raiders

The Raiders keep finding new ways to win late in games, while the Chargers somehow manage to find even more painful ways to lose.

Derek Carr threw a go-ahead 21-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree on a fourth-and-2 gamble and the Raiders survived when the Chargers botched a potential tying kick late in a 34-31 win Sunda

“Sometimes you just have to find ways to win and get it done at the end,” Carr said. “It would be nice if we didn’t have to do all the stress and drama at the end. That would be nice.”

After using a late 2-point conversion to win the opener, stopping a late Tennessee drive in a Week 3 win and using a late score and defensive stop to beat Baltimore last week, the Raiders (4-1) survived against the Chargers (1-4) to post their first three-game winning streak in five years.

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Offense The Best Form Of Defense For San Diego?

San Diego Chargers v San Francisco 49ers

Without a doubt, the Chargers have one of the best and most reliable quarterbacks in the National Football League. Philip Rivers has been consistently good for so long but San Diego have failed to hit the heights in recent times.

This year, injuries to Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead have hindered Mike McCoy’s men in the early stages of the campaign – with the Chargers winning just one of their opening four games this season.

If truth be told, McCoy’s side have really stepped up to the plate on offense since losing two of their integral offensive starters. The Keenan Allen injury, as described by Ryan Ward of Bettingsports.com, has hurt San Diego’s chances of reaching the playoffs in what is a very competitive division.

With Super Bowl champions Denver Broncos, the solid Kansas City Chiefs and rising Oakland Raiders, the Chargers are up against it in the AFC West. Whilst McCoy’s men are capable of putting points on the board, they have to face three solid defensive units twice a year; and that will take its toll on San Diego in the coming months. A run to the playoffs looks very difficult indeed…

Despite their poor start, San Diego have been scoring points freely – and that will give some confidence ahead of what may be a difficult season. McCoy’s men are scoring over 30 points per game; which tells us that their 1-3 record says a lot more about their leaky defense than their flourishing offense.

Ultimately, it looks like the Chargers are going to have to out-score their rivals instead of relying on their defense to step up and make a game-winning play or two. According to the NFL.com website, San Diego are conceding 27 points per game – the ninth-worst record in the league.

McCoy is under serious pressure at Qualcomm Stadium and the Chargers need a big game on defense in order to boost confidence around the franchise.

If Rivers can keep fit and Melvin Gordon continues to perform well out of the backfield, the Chargers could climb up the rankings; especially when it comes down to offensive statistics.

In fact, San Diego are on the verge of something very special on offense and McCoy’s side will prosper significantly when they have everybody fighting fit. For now, the Chargers have to make the most of a bad situation and who knows, a playoff wildcard slot could fall into their hands…

Chargers at Raiders NFL Week Five Capsule

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (1-3) AT OAKLAND RAIDERS (3-1)

REGULAR SEASON SERIES

  CHARGERS RAIDERS
SERIES LEADER   60-50-2
STREAKS 3 of past 5  
COACHES VS. OPP. Mike McCoy: 3-3 Jack Del Rio: 4-3
LAST WEEK L 35-34 vs. New Orleans W 28-27 at Baltimore
LAST GAME 12/24/15: Chargers 20 at Raiders 23 (OT). Oakland QB Derek Carr passes for 204 yards & TD. Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski kicks GW 31-yard FG in OT.
LAST GAME AT SITE 12/24/15
REFEREE Gene Steratore
BROADCAST CBS (4:25 PM ET): Tom McCarthy. Adam Archuleta. SIRIUS: 145 (SD), 83 (Oak). XM: 227 (SD), 226 (Oak).

STATS

PASSING Philip Rivers: 96-142-1110-7-1-104.5 Derek Carr: 104-153-1066-9-1-104.6
RUSHING Melvin Gordon: 73-230-3.2-6 (1L) Latavius Murray: 40-172-4.3-3
RECEIVING Travis Benjamin: 21-277-13.2-2 Michael Crabtree: 26-308-11.8-4 (T1L)
OFFENSE 360.8 392.3 (3L)
TAKE/GIVE +1 +4
DEFENSE 371.5 460.0
SACKS Melvin Ingram: 3 Bruce Irvin: 2
INTs Casey Hayward: 3 (T2L) 3 tied: 1
PUNTING Drew Kaser (R): 40.5 Marquette King: 50.0 (T3L)
KICKING Josh Lambo: 37 (13/14 PAT; 8/9 FG) Sebastian Janikowski: 20 (11/11 PAT; 3/4 FG)

NOTES

CHARGERS: QB PHILIP RIVERS has won 14 of 20 career starts vs. Oak. Since 2008, has 35,869 pass yards, 2nd most in NFL. Aims for 3rd in row with 300+ pass yards. Has 97.9 rating in past 9 meetings…RB MELVIN GORDON leads NFL with 6 rush TDs. Aims for 5th in row with rush TD & has scored TD in all 4 games in 2016…WR-PR TRAVIS BENJAMIN has 15 career TDs (12 rec., 3 PR) & 9 have been 40+ yards. Had TD in last game vs. Oak. (9/27/15 with Cle.). WR DONTRELLE INMAN had 1st career 100-yard game (120 yards) last week with 57-yard TD. TE ANTONIO GATES ranks 2nd in NFL history among TEs with 105 rec. TDs. Is only TE in NFL history with 100+ rec. TDs with 1 team. Has 98 catches, 1,284 yards & 12 TDs in career vs. Oak., his 2nd most vs. opp…LB MELVIN INGRAM has 9.5 sacks & 2 FFs in past 9. Had sack in last meeting. CB CASEY HAYWARD has 3 INTs in past 3. LB DENZEL PERRYMAN had 11 tackles & sack in last meeting. S JAHLEEL ADDAE had sack in last game vs. Oak…RAIDERS: Won both meetings in 2015…QB DEREK CARR went 2-0 & had 101.9 rating last year vs. SD. Had 4 TDs, 0 INTs & 123.4 rating last week. RB LATAVIUS MURRAY aims for 3rd in row vs. SD with rush TD. Aims for 3rd in row at home with 100+ scrimmage yards & TD…WR AMARI COOPER had 5 catches for 133 yards & 52-yard TD in 10/25/15 meeting. Has 6 career 100-yard rec. games & Oak. is 5-1. WR MICHAEL CRABTREE had career-high 3 TDs last week. Had TD in both meetings last year. Has TD in 4 of past 5 vs. division. WR SETH ROBERTS aims for 3rd in row with TD…DE KHALIL MACK has 11 sacks in past 10. Has 7 sacks & 9 TFL in past 4 division games. Since entering NFL in 2007, S REGGIE NELSON is only active player with 30+ INTs (31) & 5+ sacks (6.5). Has 2 INTs & 2 FFs in 5 games vs. SD. Since 2014, LB BRUCE IRVIN is 1 of 2 in NFL with 10+ sacks (14) & 2+ INT-TDs (2). LB MALCOLM SMITH has 25 tackles, sack, INT & FF in past 2 meetings.

In Terms of Success – Chargers Rank Near the Bottom of the NFL in New Article

San Diego Chargers v Indianapolis Colts

Mike Freeman, Lead NFL National Reporter for Bleacher Report, has written a long piece which talks about each and every NFL franchise, and their success.

There’s a number of factors involved, including Super Bowl, Conference and division titles. The Chargers didn’t get much love on the list, as according to Freeman, they are coming in at 26.

Here’s what Freeman has to say about the Chargers:

“Leadership can’t be fabricated. If it is fabricated and rehearsed, you can’t fool the guys in the locker room. So when you talk about leadership, it comes with performance. Leadership comes with consistency.” —Junior Seau, per The Life and Death of a Football Icon

The Chargers have had success. In fact, a solid amount. The problem is this team has been one of the most inconsistent in the AFC. The Chargers are the best at taking two steps forward and three back. They make the playoffs, then fall off the postseason map for years.

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