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Scouting Report: Chargers at Broncos
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The San Diego Chargers look to close out the 2015 season on a high note when they travel to Denver to take on the Broncos. Kickoff from Sports Authority Field is set for 1:25pm PST.
A Look Back At Last Week
The Chargers dropped a 23-20 overtime thriller to the Oakland Raiders on Christmas Eve, marking their eighth one-score loss of the season and fourth on the final snap of the game. Philip Rivers completed 31 passes for 277 yards while Dontrelle Inman caught a career-high eight passes for 82 yards and a score. The Bolts have been plagued by injuries all year long, and that was once again the case as seven Chargers left and did not return. Things got so bad that in overtime, Inman had to play safety with the game on the line.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Sunday will be Malcom Floyd’s final NFL game as the wide receiver has announced his intention to retire following the 2015 campaign. M80 has 321 career receptions for 5,550 yards and 34 touchdowns, and his 17.3 yards per catch average is the fourth highest in Chargers history. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers has already set franchise marks in completions (416) and attempts (626), and needs to throw for 239 yards to break Dan Fouts’ single-season record (4,802). With 1,209 yards from scrimmage, Danny Woodhead needs just six more on Sunday to set a new career-high.
On Offense for the Broncos
Wide receivers Demaryius Thomas (1,187 yards) and Emmanuel Sanders (1,036) have each eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards on the year to mark the 10th time a pair of WRs has reached that mark in franchise history. Brock Osweiler remains under center for an injured Peyton Manning, and has completed 253 of 156 attempts (61.7%) for 1,735 yards and nine touchdowns for an 87.3 passer rating. Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson share the load at running back, with Hillman carrying the rock 192 times for 746 yards and six touchdowns and Anderson 137 times for 625 yards and four scores.
On Defense for the Chargers
The Bolts have boasted one of the top defenses in the NFL down the stretch. They’ve surrendered only 64 points over the past four weeks, tied for the fourth fewest in the league. Melvin Ingram ranks third among all outside linebackers with 9.5 sacks, and needs just 0.5 sack on Sunday to become the first Charger to reach double digits in a single season since Antwan Barnes in 2011. Manti Te’o is only three tackles shy of his first career 100 tackle season while Denzel Perryman needs 17 to become the first rookie in franchise history with a 100-tackle season. He has 67 in his last six games.
On Defense for the Broncos
The number one defense in the league is led by a pair of tackling machines in Brandon Marshall (102) and Danny Trevathan (100). They also boast a pair of elite pass rushers in Von Miller (10.0 sacks) and DeMarcus Ware (6.5 sacks). In the secondary, both starting cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris were voted into the Pro Bowl this year.
The Chargers and Broncos have met 112 times, with Denver leading the all-time series 62-49-1. The Bolts have won six of the last 10 played at Sports Authority Field, most recently a 27-20 victory in 2013.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank sixth in total offense (375.2 yards per game), fourth in passing (292.3 ypg), 32nd in rushing (83.2 ypg) and 26th in points (20.0). The Broncos rank 19th in total offense (345.7 ypg), 16th in passing (245.1 ypg), 18th in rushing (100.5 ypg) and 20th in points (21.9).
Defensively, the Bolts rank 18th in total defense (352.5 ypg), 10th in passing (232.9 ypg), 23rd in rushing (119.7 ypg) and 18th in points allowed (24.7). Denver ranks first in total defense (280.0 ypg), first in passing (199.1 ypg), second in rushing (81.8 ypg) and fourth in points allowed (18.4).
Noteworthy vs. the Broncos
During the Chargers’ Oct. 23, 2014 game at Denver, Antonio Gates became the Chargers’ all-time leading receiver, surpassing Lance Alworth (9,854 yards). He passed Alworth on a 31-yard catch to the Broncos’ two-yard line on a 3rd-and-20 that set up a touchdown which tied the game, 7-7. He also had two second-half touchdowns in that game. Later, in the season’s second meeting on Dec. 14, 2014, Gates had his 10th touchdown catch of the season, joining New England’s Rob Gronkowski as the only tight ends in NFL history with four 10-touchdown seasons. Back on Dec. 10, 2006, Gates had his first NFL 100-yard game and two touchdowns against the Broncos.
On Oct. 23, 2014 at Denver, Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes to raise his career total to 241, passing Len Dawson (239) for 19th all-time. That same day, Rivers passed Johnny Unitas (2,830) for 25th all-time in career completions.
In 2011, Malcom Floyd put up 100 yards receiving on three catches on Oct. 9 in Denver. Floyd closed out the first half with a 42-yard TD catch for a 23-10 lead.
Kendall Reyes’ first two NFL sacks came against Peyton Manning on Nov. 18, 2012 at Denver.
On Dec. 14, 2013, Jahleel Addae had a regular-season, career-high 10 tackles against the Broncos.
On Oct. 9, 2011, Donald Butler had his first career interception off the Broncos’ Kyle Orton.
Playing for Oakland in 2011, Joe Barksdale made his NFL debut on ESPN’s Monday Night Football during a 23-20 win over Denver on Sept. 12.
Playing for Buffalo on Dec. 24, 2011, Stevie Johnson had a season long 55-yard catch against the Broncos.
Milestones on the Horizon
Philip Rivers needs to throw for 239 yards to break Dan Fouts’ single-season record (4,802) set in 1981.
Rivers has 27 touchdown passes this season, leaving him three shy of a fifth-career 30-touchdown season. Rivers is tied with Dan Marino and Tony Romo for the sixth-most 30-touchdown seasons in NFL history (four).
Rivers needs to throw for 300 yards to set a new franchise record (nine).
Rivers is 436 passing yards away from 5,000 for the season. Should he get there, it would go down as just the ninth 5,000- yard season in NFL history.
Danny Woodhead is six yards shy of setting a career-high for yards from scrimmage, and needs five receptions to set a new personal high as well.
Malcom Floyd has 5,550 career yards from scrimmage and he needs 18 more to move into the team’s all-time Top-10 past Ronnie Harmon.
Floyd ranks 10th in franchise history with 34 career touchdown catches. He needs two more to move into a tie with John Jefferson for ninth in team history,
Manti Te’o is just three tackles shy of his first career 100-tackle season.
Denzel Perryman needs 17 tackles for the first 100-tackle season by a rookie in Chargers history.
Melvin Ingram is 0.5 sacks away from the first 10-sack season by a Charger since 2011.
Mike Scifres is expected to play in his 195th career game on Sunday, which would tie Doug Wilkerson (1971-84) for fourth in team history.
Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy spent the 2009-12 seasons in Denver as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator.
Guard Orlando Franklin was drafted by Denver in 2011 and spent four seasons with the Broncos (2011-14), starting 63 of a possible 64 regular-season games.
Center J.D. Walton was drafted by the Broncos in the third-round in 2010. Walton spent his first three-plus seasons in Denver, starting all 36 games he appeared in.
Linebacker Joe Mays was traded to Denver by Philadelphia in 2010 and played there for three seasons (2010-12).
Defensive Coordinator John Pagano is a native of Boulder, CO, and was an all-state linebacker at Fairview High School.
Secondary Coach Ron Milus spent two coaching stints in Denver, first as the defensive backs coach from 2001-02 and as the nickel backs coach in 2002, and then later as the secondary coach from 2011-12.
Linebackers Coach Mike Nolan also coached two stints in Denver, his first (1987-92) as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator, and later his second as the defensive coordinator in 2009.
Assistant Special Teams Coach Craig Aukerman spent one season (2010) with the Broncos where he worked on the same staff as McCoy.
Broncos Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips spent three years (2004-06) as San Diego’s defensive coordinator.
Offensive Line Coach Clancy Barone spent two seasons (2007-08) as the tight ends coach with the Chargers.
Guard Louis Vasquez was drafted by the Chargers in the third round in 2009 and he spent his first four years in the NFL in San Diego (2009-12).
Wide receiver Andre Caldwell’s younger brother, Reche, played four seasons (2002-05) as a wide receiver for the Chargers.
Running back Ronnie Hillman and long snapper Aaron Brewer played collegiately at San Diego State.
CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Phil Simms (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (reporter)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Curtis Conway (analyst), Nick Hardwick (reporter)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst)
All Chargers radio broadcasts are now being streamed live on the team’s official website, www.chargers.com. XTRA Sports 1360 Broadcasts with Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Curtis Conway (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage.
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