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Denver expected to rest players

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/chargersvbroncos03.jpg" alt="Ladanian Tomlinson runs against the Broncos" />

    SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- A year after capturing the AFC West title, the San Diego Chargers can complete a 10-win season on Saturday. But they are not going back to the playoffs.

    A 20-17 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 2 is one of a number of painful setbacks that prevented the Chargers from making a return trip to the postseason. It also was one of 12 wins that helped propel the Broncos to their first AFC West crown in seven years.

    The teams meet again in the regular-season finale. The Broncos are locked into the second seed, earning them a first-round bye. Coach Mike Shanahan is expected to rest quarterback Jake Plummer, running back Mike Anderson and Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey.

    "Everyone has different opinions on what to do," Shanahan said. "Some people will say you should play the starters the whole way, then when somebody gets hurt they change their minds and say 'you guys are dummies.' We'll go with our gut feeling."

    If Plummer starts, he likely will play just one quarter before making way for backup Bradlee Van Pelt. Pro Bowl middle linebacker Al Wilson definitely will not play on Saturday. He underwent thumb surgery on Monday and is expected to return for the Broncos' first playoff game on either January 14 or 15.

    Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer has experienced more than his share of playoff disappointment. Now he may have the distinction of coaching the first 10-6 team to miss the playoffs since the 2003 Miami Dolphins.

    San Diego snapped the New England Patriots' 21-game home winning streak and handed the Indianapolis Colts their first loss of the season after they started 13-0. But five of the Chargers' six losses were by a combined total of 14 points.

    In the loss at Denver on September 18, the Chargers squandered a 14-3 halftime lead. Bailey started the comeback when he picked off a pass by Drew Brees and returned the interception 25 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the third quarter.

    Jason Elam's 41-yard field goal with five seconds left in the fourth quarter lifted Denver to the win. It was one of four losses of three points or less for the Chargers.

    Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson scored both of the Chargers' touchdowns, but was limited to just 52 yards on 19 carries.

    The Chargers were officially eliminated from the playoffs last week after a 20-7 loss at Kansas City. Ironically, a win by San Diego on Saturday would officially eliminate the Chiefs and put Pittsburgh into the final AFC wild-card spot.

    Matchup to watch: Broncos' center Tom Nalen faces Pro Bowl nose tackle Jamal Williams.

    Series: The Broncos lead, 51-39-1, including wins in four of the last five meetings.

    Next week: Denver hosts a divisional playoff, January 14-15
     

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