Denver Broncos (4-1) vs San Diego Chargers (1-4)
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego California
Thursday October 13, 2016/5:25 PM CBS
It is color rush week for the San Diego Chargers, as the team will sport the throwback royal blue jerseys with gold lettering. The team will also rock their old school white helmets with gold face masks. One thing will be for certain. The Chargers will look good on the field during Thursday nights’ game.
The type of play we see from this snappily dressed team will be another thing. The Chargers truly are an enigma, as you never know what you are going to get from them.
Coach Mike McCoy‘s coaching future in San Diego is most certainly on the line, as the Chargers have continued to falter in crunch time. The team could easily be undefeated, but has blown games that have played out before Chargers’ fans like a tragic Shakespearean play.
With the defending Super Bowl Champions in town, the Chargers have no easy task in front of them. The Broncos were just beaten at home by the suddenly resurgent Atlanta Falcons, but that does not mean the Chargers will have it easy come Thursday. The Falcons were able to pressure the Broncos, recording six sacks on the day. Paxton Lynch had a horrible time in the pocket and the Chargers will try to utilize that formula this week against the Broncos.
It appears Trevor Siemian will be behind center for the Broncos this week. The second year QB has more confidence than Lynch, but is still very raw. He is also recovering from a sore left shoulder. The Chargers must get to either QB and apply pressure. Siemian will start, but Lynch could see some playing time as well.
This game will be a tough one for the Chargers. In all seriousness, if this team cannot get up for this nationally televised game, then they have no business competing at this level, and something is wrong eternally.
Chargers on offense
Feeding Melvin Gordon will be essential to try to keep this Broncos team off of Philip Rivers. The veteran quarterback will be harassed all day by the Broncos, but if the Chargers can minimize the amount of times he is hit, the Chargers can prevail. Gordon will have to run tough against a stout defense that has no intentions of giving up cheap yardage. He has had some fumbling issues, but coach McCoy should still show confidence in this young man as his game has truly gone to a whole new level in this 2016 season. Tyrell Williams will need to continue to develop and make the big catches downfield. Dexter McCluster will also have a bigger role as he gets more familiar with the system.
Chargers on defense
Pressuring Trevor Simien will be the key to the game. The Chargers will continue to have trouble stopping the run. C.J. Anderson should have a good game as the Bolts fail to consistently make tackles on the second tier of the defense. Anderson will gain yards, but on third down the Chargers must get into the backfield and make Simien throw to his second and third options. Joey Bosa should have another decent game, as he is fresh. Look for him to play in at least half the defensive snaps this week as the Chargers get him ready for an every down role with the team. Jeremiah Attaochu needs to apply pressure on the other side and meet at the QB. The linebackers’ play will also be key this week as Denzel Perryman and Jatavis Brown each need to cut down on their mistakes. Both are young and have made excellent plays this season as they continue to blossom as players.
Players to watch
He has traditionally beaten the Chargers with huge games, and with all the defensive back issues, he might very well do it again on Thursday. Casey Hayward will probably be on him most of the time, but if the Chargers find themselves with Craig Mager or Steve Williams on Thomas, there could be real problems. Thomas is hard to bring down after the catch and the safeties will need to be on their toes downfield. Dexter McCoil is still getting his feet wet in the NFL, but I do expect a huge game from him fairly soon. Perhaps the national stage will be his coming out party?
Despite all the fumble issues, he is really having a breakout year. He looks more decisive with his cuts and has even become a major threat out of the backfield with some key receptions this year. Gordon is still extremely young so there will be growing pains. The fumbles are troublesome, but there is no indication he will not fix the issue. Against the Broncos, Gordon will struggle mightily, but he will be needed to keep the pressure off of Rivers. If he gets psyched up and can break some big runs off the Broncos, then Rivers will have an easier time carving up the secondary. That is a tough thing to ask. Gordon, and his ability to move the chains, will be key on Thursday.
Matchup to watch
Von Miller vs Chargers’ O- Line
If the Chargers fall behind early and cannot hand the ball off to Gordon, then Von Miller will just tee off on Rivers. That will be a horrible thing to witness for Chargers fans, as the talent that Miller has can only be contained. It cannot be stopped. He will pressure Rivers, and he will hit him. You can be sure of that. The question is if the offense can limit those times, and if Chris Hairston and company can man up to the challenge. Miller has the ability to take over a game. This will be a huge key for the Chargers to save their season.
In what will continue to be a frustrating season, the Chargers will save Coach McCoy’s job and prevail 24-23 on a last second 52-yard field goal by Josh Lambo off the left upright. This time he will skip of the field smiling and laughing and nobody will care. It will happen this way because we are the Chargers, and nothing ever goes the way it is supposed to.