The San Diego Chargers go for the season sweep of the Denver Broncos and their third victory in a row when they head to Sports Authority Field at Mile High this weekend. Kickoff on Sunday is set for 1:05pm PT.
A Look Back at Last Week
The Bolts stormed back from 17 points down for a thrilling 33-30 overtime road win in Atlanta. Melvin Gordon scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground and another through the air, while Tyrell Williams came through with seven catches for 140 yards. The comeback wouldn’t have been possible without a lights out performance by the defense as they limited the NFL’s number one offense to only three points after halftime. Denzel Perryman earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after his interception of Matt Ryan allowed San Diego to tie it late in regulation. Then in overtime, he dropped Devonta Freeman behind the line of scrimmage on 4th-and-1 to give the Bolts the ball in Atlanta territory, leading to Josh Lambo’s game-winning field goal.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Philip Rivers has the offense firing on all cylinders as number 17 has completed 162 of 245 attempts (66.1%) for 2,018 yards, 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions for a 102.4 passer rating. He ranks fifth in total yards, and is sixth in touchdowns and QB rating. Tyrell Williams has emerged as one of the game’s biggest deep threats, as he ranks 12th in the NFL with 526 receiving yards. Meanwhile, Melvin Gordon has been one of the most valuable running backs in the NFL as the second-year rusher leads the league with 10 total touchdowns (eight rushing, two receiving). He has proven to be an every down back as he is also excelling in pass protection as well as catching the ball out of the backfield.
On Offense for the Broncos
Trevor Siemian has been efficient under center, completing 112 of 176 passes (63.6%) for 1,211 yards, eight touchdowns and only three interceptions for a 91.8 passer rating. On the ground, C.J. Anderson continues to be one of the top running backs in the NFL, totaling 437 yards on 110 carries with four scores. Devontae Booker has been a capable change of pace, toting the rock 51 times for 244 yards (4.8 yards per carry).
On Defense for the Chargers
A pair of rookies have the defense at the top of their game. Fifth-round pick Jatavis Brown leads the team with 44 tackles, and ranks third on the team with three sacks. Meanwhile, first-round pick Joey Bosa has lived up to being the third overall pick in the draft as he is tied for the team lead with four sacks despite only playing in three games. Bosa is the only Chargers player to ever record a pair of multi-sack games in his first three appearances, and also has 12 pressures and seven QB hits.
On Defense for the Broncos
Von Miller continues to be a beast, ranking second in the NFL with 7.5 sacks. While his bookend Demarcus Ware has missed extensive time with an elbow injury, there is a chance he could return to the field this weekend in time to face the Bolts. His addition would bolster one of the league’s most intimidating defenses led by T.J. Ward in tackles (42) and Aqib Talib in interceptions (three).
The Chargers trail the all-time series 63-50-1, and their win two weeks ago snapped a five-game losing streak against the Broncos. Their last victory in Denver came late in 2013 when Keenan Allen led the Bolts to a 27-20 win.
By the Numbers
The Chargers rank 13th in total offense (365.3 yards per game), fifth in passing (275.4 ypg), 23rd in rushing (89.9 ypg) and second in points (29.4). The Broncos rank 26th total offense (326.7 ypg), 28th in passing (215.1 ypg), 16th in rushing (111.6 ypg) and 13th in points (23.9).
Defensively, the Bolts rank 21st in total defense (366.4 ypg), 24th in passing (276.3 ypg), eighth in rushing (90.1 ypg) and 24th in points allowed (26.4). Denver ranks third in total defense (291.6 ypg), first in passing (175.0 ypg), 22nd in rushing (116.6 ypg) and sixth in points allowed (16.7).
What to Watch for vs. the Broncos
Melvin Gordon has a league-leading 10 touchdowns (8 rushing, 2 receiving) through the first seven games of the year. Should he score twice on Sunday against the Broncos, he would tie LaDainian Tomlinson (2006) for the most touchdowns in the ﬁrst eight games of a season in franchise history. Three touchdowns will set a new franchise high.
A win over the Broncos would give the Chargers their ﬁrst season sweep of Denver since 2010 and their 11th all-time.
Milestones on the Horizon
Philip Rivers has 5,584 career pass attempts and he needs just 21 more to overtake Dan Fouts (5,604) for most in franchise history.
Rivers’ next 300-yard passing game will be the 50th of his career.
Antonio Gates is five touchdowns shy of tying Tony Gonzalez for the most receiving touchdowns by a tight end in NFL history (111).
Last Time vs. the Broncos
Philip Rivers passed for 178 yards against the Broncos to raise his career yardage total to 43,094. In the process, he passed Dan Fouts (43,040) for the all-time franchise passing mark and 13th in NFL history.
Hunter Henry caught his third touchdown pass in as many games. He joined Keenan Allen (2013) and LaDainian Tomlinson (2001) as the only Chargers rookies since 2000 to score touchdowns in three straight games.
Melvin Gordon had a career-long run of 48 yards in the second half. His 27 carries were also the most in his career.
Josh Lambo hit a career-best four ﬁeld goals (37, 21, 31 and 32 yards). He also connected on four field goals last week in Atlanta.
Caraun Reid drew a holding penalty in the end zone that resulted in a safety. It was the first safety the team had forced since Week 3 of 2014 (Buffalo).
Drew Kaser was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 47.4 yards per punt. Four of his ﬁve punts landed inside the 20, and he also connected on a career-long 60-yarder as well as a 59-yard blast. His punt downed at the three-yard line set up the safety.
Jatavis Brown was voted the Pepsi Rookie of the Week after recording a game-high 14 tackles, a sack and a game-changing forced fumble in the fourth quarter.
Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy spent the 2009-12 seasons in Denver as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator. In 2012, the Broncos won 13 games, second-most in a season in franchise history, and captured the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoffs. McCoy also played for the Broncos, signing as an undrafted free agent quarterback in 1995.
Guard Orlando Franklin was drafted by Denver in 2011 and he spent four seasons with the Broncos (2011-14), starting 63 of a possible 64 regular-season games.
Practice squad wide receiver Isaiah Burse spent time with the Broncos from 2014-15, including appearing in 12 games in 2014.
Defensive end Tenny Palepoi’s brother, Anton, played defensive end for the Broncos in 2004.
Defensive Coordinator John Pagano is a native of Boulder, Colo., and he was an all-state linebacker at Fairview High School.
Defensive Backs 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.
Special Teams Coordinator Craig Aukerman spent one season (2010) with the Broncos where he worked on the same staff as McCoy.
Offensive Line Coach Jeff Davidson played three seasons in Denver (1990-92) after being selected by the Broncos in the fifth round of the 1990 NFL Draft. During the 1991-92 seasons, Davidson started 16 games for the Broncos at left tackle and left guard, respectively, and in 1991 he helped protect John Elway’s blind-side as Denver reached the AFC Championship Game.
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.
Tight end John Phillips joined the Chargers as a free agent in 2013 and played for the Bolts from 2013-15.
Know Your Opponent
Take a look at who the Bolts will face for this week's divisional matchup in Denver.
CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego) – Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst) and Jamie Erdahl (reporter)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Nick Hardwick (analyst)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego)– Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (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 Nick Hardwick (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage.
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