SAN DIEGO – It seems unavoidable.
Two days before Monday Night Football between the Broncos and Chargers, the team’s quarterbacks and pass offenses are a natural topic of conversation.
The NFL has shifted toward the pass for years but might be continuing to grow unbalanced as teams employ multiple backs and tight ends that catch in addition to a stable of receivers.
“When a team makes that many big plays in the passing game, I don’t think you’re going to stop them,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “You try to contain them. You try to create negative plays. We’ve got to pressure the quarterback. We’ve got to create some turnovers.”
Denver receiver Brandon Lloyd, who hadn’t caught more than 26 passes or gained more than 365 yards in a season since 2005, will reach a career-high 49 catches on his next reception. The eight-year pro, on his fourth team, already has smashed his single-season best with 968 yards.
“If you put the film on, you’ll see why,”
Jabar Gaffney (48 catches) and Eddie Royal (43 catches) also provide options, as does rookie Demaryius Thomas (19 catches).
But neither team could churn out those figures without a quarterback that could get them the football.
“I’m sure a lot will be made of that and certainly both players have had very fine years,” Denver Head Coach Josh McDaniels said. “I’ve long thought that Philip Rivers is in that same class as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and Drew Brees and he does nothing to force you to believe otherwise.
“He’s as good a long-ball thrower as I’ve ever seen. He’s got great poise, tremendous toughness. I’ve never had the opportunity to be around him but you can just see from the way he plays and his energy what a wonderful leader he is on the Chargers’ football team and that’s exactly what you want from that position.”
STILL WAITING: It’s been 13 days and counting since San Diego (4-5) played a football game. Many NFL teams will have played two games well before the Chargers and Broncos kick off Monday night at Qualcomm Stadium.
San Diego’s two-game win streak started on Halloween. With the bye and the Monday game, they won’t get a chance to extend it to three until Nov. 22.
“The hardest part to me is when you finish practice on Saturday and you have your Sunday walkthrough, it’s a long time before you play,” Turner said. “You feel like everyone’s played a lot of football before you go play again.”
The extra 28.5 hours in addition to the bye week is notable but not overwhelming, Rivers said.
“I think the schedule (was) set up as such from a practice standpoint that it’ll allow us to peak on Monday night and gear up, not to where we’re over-prepared but where we’ve managed not only the mental preparation but the emotional preparation to where we’re ready to roll,” Rivers said.
PRACTICE WEATHER: Light rain, 58 degrees.