The last time the Chargers faced off against the Broncos, the Peyton Manning-led Denver side overcame a 24-0 halftime deficit to beat San Diego 35-24. The Chargers allowed the Broncos to score five unanswered second-half touchdowns in the come-from-behind victory.
Following the September match, QB Philip Rivers was understandably disappointed, especially with his own performance. The 30-year-old threw four interceptions and finished the game with two fumbles and later expressed his growing frustration.
“When you lose it’s rough, especially in a game where you had a big lead and so much at stake. Regardless of what negative or bad plays or how you lose a game … every loss hurts. It’s not the way I, and we, wanted to perform.”
Coming into this Week 11 matchup, Rivers continues to face personal demons and increased scrutiny over his position on the team. Many are questioning his skill, his commitment and his ability to lead the team to their first playoff appearance since 2009. So far this season he has been intercepted 12 times and has been sacked on 22 occasions.
But Coach Norv Turner is sticking behind his #1 QB, praising him for his dedication and the effort he puts in week in, week out.
“The thing about Philip is there’s no one who works harder at it, there’s no one who cares more about it, there’s no one who tries harder,” he said. “He obviously is trying as hard as he can to go win, and in a couple of those cases he’s trying to do too much.
The Chargers, and Rivers, have to do something different if they have any hope of beating the Broncos. They are currently ranked 16th in passing yards and 18th in rushing yards. Although somewhat surprisingly, their defensive stats are more favorable. A victory for the men from Southern California will take them to 5-5 for the season; a loss would see them slip to 4-6, and the distance between them and their Colorado rivals, who are on a four-game winning streak coming into this weekend, would become even greater.
With games against Baltimore, Pittsburgh and the Jets to come, a loss would make it incredibly difficult, if not outright impossible, for them to catch the Broncos and win the AFC West.
“It’s a challenge for us coming into Denver, but certainly to have a chance to stay in the division race, we need to go win a game,” Coach Turner said.