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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Broncos

Posted Nov 8, 2013

Here is your scouting report for this week's game between the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos.

The San Diego Chargers return to Qualcomm Stadium for the first time in nearly a month when they host the division rival Denver Broncos.   Kickoff is set for 1:25 p.m. on Sunday and a capacity crowd is expected to be in attendance for the highly anticipated meeting.

Photo Gallery: Know Your Opposition: Denver Broncos | More Photos

A Look Back At Last Week

The Bolts fell in heartbreaking fashion to the Washington Redskins, 30-24, in overtime.  San Diego was down three with 21 seconds remaining in regulation and had the ball on the Washington one-yard line.  However they were turned away on three straight tries before settling for a field goal to tie the game.  The Redskins won the overtime coin toss and marched downfield to score the game-winning touchdown, barring Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense from ever possessing the ball in extra time. 

What to Watch For…

On Offense for the Chargers

In a game featuring two of the top quarterbacks in the league, the Chargers will once again rely on the right arm of Rivers.  He has the highest completion percentage of any QB at 72.2 percent, nearly eight points higher than his career average of 64.3.  In fact, if the season ended today, it would set a new NFL record for completion percentage in a single season.   Rivers also ranks third in passer rating (106.5), fourth in touchdowns (19) and average yards per pass (8.38), and is tied for fifth in completions (213).  He is on pace for a 4,946-yard campaign, which would mark the first time in his career that he has averaged more than 300 yards per game. His career high is 4,710 (294.4 yards per game).

On Offense for the Broncos

Denver’s offense this season has been one of the most prolific in NFL history.  The Broncos rank first in yards per game (466.4), passing yards per game (358.5) and points per game (42.9).  In fact, their 42.9 average is 12.9 points higher than the second highest scoring offense in the league, the Chicago Bears, who are putting up 30.0 points per game.  The man who makes it all tick is Peyton Manning.   “The Sheriff” is first in passer rating (119.4), yards (2,919), touchdowns (29) and completions (237) and second in completion percentage (71.2) and average yards per pass (8.77).

On Defense for the Chargers

The Chargers franchise-record 12 straight quarters without allowing a touchdown came to an end last week in Washington.  After allowing four touchdowns in the red zone, the unit will look to rebound against the potent Broncos.  Leading the way is Eric Weddle, who leads the team in tackles with 62, while Jarret Johnson and Corey Liuget both pace the Bolts in sacks with three.   The Chargers scored their first defensive touchdown of the season against the Redskins when Lawrence Guy’s pass deflection ricocheted into the arms of Sean Lissemore in the end zone. 

On Defense for the Broncos

The Broncos possess an opportunistic defense that leads the NFL with 13 interceptions.  Danny Trevathan and Chris Harris Jr. both pace the team with three picks apiece.  Trevathan also leads Denver’s defense in tackles with 59, followed closely by Duke Ihenacho’s 50 tackles.  Meanwhile, former Charger Shaun Phillips has 6.5 of the team’s 22 sacks.

Series History

The Chargers and Broncos renew their storied rivalry that sees Denver leading 57-48-1. Denver has won three straight, including a sweep of last year’s meetings (35-24 in San Diego and 30-23 in Denver).  Prior to that, the Chargers won four straight from 2009-11. The Chargers are 31-21 all-time in games played between the two teams in San Diego.

By the Numbers

For the year, the Chargers rank sixth in total offense (403.8 yards per game), fourth in passing (300.0 ypg), 20th in rushing (103.8 ypg) and 15th in points (24.0). The Broncos rank first in total offense (466.4 ypg), first in passing (358.5 ypg), 17th in rushing (107.9 ypg) and first in points (42.9)

Defensively, the Bolts rank 28th in total defense (393.8 ypg), 27th in passing (275.4 ypg), 23rd in rushing (118.4 ypg) and 11th in points allowed (21.8).  Denver ranks 24th in total defense (380.6 ypg), 30th in passing (299.1 ypg), third in rushing (81.5 ypg) and 25th in points allowed (27.2).

Milestones on the Horizon

Philip Rivers has three games this season in which he’s completed at least 20 passes and 80 percent of his pass attempts. Brett Favre (2009) and Drew Brees (2011) are the only other quarterbacks in NFL history to do so three times in a season. If Rivers accomplished the feat again in 2013, it will set a new NFL single season record.

Keenan Allen had his third 100-yard game of the season last Sunday in Washington when he posted a season-high 128 yards on eight catches. Just eight games into his rookie NFL season, Allen has already tied John Jefferson’s team rookie record for 100-yard games, which is three set in 1978. All three of Allen’s 100-yard outings have come in the Chargers’ last four games, as have all three of his touchdown catches. With 527 yards on the season, Allen is leading all NFL rookies in receiving yards. Allen is also closing in on the team record for receiving yards by a rookie (1,001), which was also set by Jefferson in ’78.

Antonio Gates heads into Sunday’s game against the Broncos with 690 career catches, 10 shy of 700. Should he reach 700 against the Broncos in his 156th-career game, Gates would become the third fastest tight end in NFL history to reach the 700-career catch plateau.

Ryan Mathews (2,956 career rushing yards) is currently sixth on the team’s all-time rushing list. He needs 354 to move past the late Chuck Muncie (3,309) for fifth. Mathews has 15-career rushing touchdowns. He needs two more to break into the team’s Top 10 for career rushing touchdowns. Hank Bauer, Rod Bernstine, Dick Post and Clarence Williams all scored 17 rushing touchdowns during their Chargers careers.

Nick Novak has 275 career points and needs one more to move into the team’s Top-10. Running back Paul Lowe is 10th with 276 career points. Hall of Fame wide receiver Charlie Joiner is ninth on the list with 282 career points.

Past Milestones

Philip Rivers has had a number of big games against Denver. On Nov. 22, 2010, Rivers threw four touchdown passes in a game against the Broncos. It was his second straight four touchdown game, making him only the third quarterback in team history to pass for four scores in consecutive games. He passed for 377 yards on Sept. 14, 2008 at Denver.  On Oct. 7, 2007, Rivers posted a career-high 151.4 passer rating against the Broncos. He completed 13 of 18 for 270 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Bolts’ 41-3 win. That effort earned Rivers AFC Offensive Player of the Week and FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week honors. And on Nov. 19, 2006, Rivers helped the Chargers erase a 17-point deficit en route to a 35-27 win at Invesco Field.

Ronnie Brown became the 119th player in NFL history to reach 5,000 career yards in a game for the Chargers against the Broncos on Oct. 15, 2012.

Donald Butler had his first-career interception off Denver’s Kyle Orton on Oct. 9, 2011.

Antonio Gates caught two touchdown passes for his 15th-career multi-touchdown game when the Chargers and Broncos met in San Diego on Oct. 15, 2012.

Ryan Mathews rushed for a career-high 137 yards against Denver on Nov. 27, 2011, including a career-long 39-yard run. He also scored a career-high three rushing touchdowns against the Broncos in a game on Jan. 2, 2011.

On Oct. 9, 2011, Nick Novak hit a career-high five field goals against the Broncos, including a late 51-yarder, in the Chargers’ 29-24 win. Novak hit the longest field goal of his career (53 yards) in a game against the Broncos on Nov. 27, 2011.

Kendall Reyes had his first two NFL sacks against Peyton Manning in a Nov. 18, 2012 game at Denver.

Cam Thomas had the first sack of his career against Denver on a 3rd-and-20 play on Nov. 22, 2010.

Eric Weddle had a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown when the Chargers and Broncos met last Nov. 18 at Sports Authority Field.


Head Coach Mike McCoy came over to the Bolts from Denver where he spent the last four seasons (2009-12) as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator, in addition to serving as the team’s quarterbacks coach during his first season in 2009. McCoy’s last two seasons (2011-12) were spent working under Broncos’ Head Coach John Fox.

Secondary coach Ron Milus came over from Denver with McCoy, having spent the 2011-12 seasons coaching the Broncos’ secondary. Prior to that, Milus coached the secondary for Fox in Carolina during the 2009-10 seasons. This last stint in Denver was the second of Milus’ coaching career. For the 2000-01 seasons, Milus coached the Broncos’ defensive backs and in 2002, he coached their nickel backs.

Assistant special teams coach Craig Aukerman spent the 2010 season as a defensive assistant in Denver.

Chargers wide receiver Eddie Royal was a second-round pick of the Broncos in 2008. Royal played his first four seasons in Denver before signing with the Chargers in 2012. During his time with the Broncos, Royal caught 206 passes for 2,107 yards and nine touchdowns, while also returning two punts and a kickoff for touchdowns.

Defensive end Kwame Geathers’ uncle, James “Jumpy” Geathers played for the Broncos from 1996-97.

Tackle Mike Remmers originally came to the NFL as an undrafted rookie who signed with Denver in 2012.

Besides his connections with McCoy, Broncos’ Head Coach John Fox served as the Chargers’ secondary coach from 1992-93 under former Head Coach Bobby Ross.

Tight ends coach Clancy Barone held the same position with the Chargers from 2007-08.

Broncos cornerback Quentin Jammer signed with Denver as a free agent in 2013 after spending his first 11 NFL seasons with the Chargers.  Jammer was the Bolts’ first round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft and in 11 seasons racked up 727 tackles and 21 interceptions, including a team-high three in his final season in 2012.

Outside linebacker Shaun Phillips is another former Charger who signed with Denver as a free agent in ’13. A fourth-round pick in 2004, Phillips played nine seasons in San Diego and left as the team’s second all-time leader with 69.5 career sacks.

Denver also features former Chargers guard Louis Vasquez, a third-round pick in 2009, who played for the Bolts from 2009-12.

Broncos wide receiver Andre Caldwell is the younger brother of former Chargers wide receiver Reche Caldwell.

Wide receiver Wes Welker began his career as an undrafted rookie with the Chargers back in 2004.

Former Chargers seventh-round pick from 2012, Edwin “Rock” Baker, is on Denver’s practice squad.

Broadcast Information

CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) –Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (analyst)

Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst) and Mike Costa (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, XTRA Sports 1360 Broadcasts with Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Hank Bauer (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage after the game ends.

For a unique, one-of-a-kind look at the Chargers, be sure to tune in each week to Chargers Insider on Fox Sports San Diego.  The half-hour program will be the go-to destination for fans that want behind-the-scenes coverage and unique features on the team. Chargers Insider airs each week throughout the season on Thursdays at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. PT as well as Saturday’s at 11:35pm on KFMB, Channel 8.


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