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Week 5: Mile high expectations!

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    By Curtis Egan
    <em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>

    <img align="right" width="247" src="http://i1.chargers.com/assets/151/29614_282wh.jpg" alt="LT runs for a score vs the Broncos." height="235" />The Chargers stumble into the hell that is Invesco Field at Mile High Sunday. Owning sole possession of the basement of the AFC west, with their recent home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers bring them a three game losing streak, and a plethora of disappointed fans.

    However things are not completely bleak with the Chargers. Star Running Back LaDanian Tomlinson has"  broken 100 yards for the first time this season, and Tomlinson has had good games against the Broncos defense in the past. If the Chargers are to have any success, it will be through ball and clock control. They will have to keep their defense on the bench, and well rested. They will have to convert downs, keep the chains moving. All of that speaks to a heavy dose of Tomlinson.

    The question is, will the Coaches agree? Tomlinson against the Chiefs had 116 yards in the first half. In the second half he ran the ball only a handful of times for 16 more yards. The Chargers seemed to go away from the run, and the game got away from them. This is not all because of the lack of running though. The pass protection in the second half was not very good. Something the Broncos defenders are reviewing on tape and licking their lips about.

    The opposition is seeing that Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers is not handling the pressure well, which in part has lead to him posting more interceptions on the season than touchdowns. Rivers will enter the game with 5 touchdown passes, 6 interceptions and a passer rating of 76.

    The Broncos come in at 2-2 and find themselves in an uneasy position. A loss to the Chargers could be very detrimental for them as their season, while a win puts them two wins against division opponents.

    Denver Quarterback, Jay Cutler comes into the game with 4 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and a passer rating of 82.8. Denver will look to get it's offense going quickly, and passing against the San Diego pass defense which is rated 27th in the league.

    This game is important to both teams, a Chargers win and they are right back into the thick of things in the AFC West, however, a 4th straight loss and they will be looking up from a two game divisional deficit. The Broncos will want to prevent from losing their 2nd straight game and want to put more distance between themselves and the rest of the division.

    This will be a hard fought game, one that the fans should enjoy. However, momentum can swing on a moments notice, a few turnovers and either team can find themselves spinning out of control fast.

    <strong><em>Chargers on Offense, Broncos on Defense:</em></strong>
    The Chargers will look to protect Rivers, and let him build his confidence slowly. However, that will not be an easy task as the Broncos boast the number pass defense in the league going into week 5.

    That means a heavy does of smash mouthed football, running the ball down the throats. The Chargers may find success there as the Broncos while very good against the pass are struggling against the run this season and their run defense is currently rated 31st in the league.

    Look for the Chargers to continue to run behind big Left Tackle Marcus McNeil, and the lead blocking of the crushing Fullback Lorenzo Neal. In this match up the Chargers should have the edge as the Broncos have had some key injuries along their defensive line. The Chargers will have to stick to the run, passing only when the defense bites up to stop Tomlinson.

    The Chargers will be able to, upon establishing the run, to use the short to intermediate passing game to their big bodies receivers Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd and Craig Davis. However Rivers has not been able to hit the long passes, and the Broncos secondary are not the people you want to roll the dice against. The Chargers need to limit their signal caller to high percentage passes and allow him and the entire offensive unit to build confidence.

    The Broncos will look to challenge the line of scrimmage, using their speedy secondary players such as Cornerback Champ Bailey to blitz in an attempt to rattle Rivers and force him to put the ball up for grabs. Stacking the line of scrimmage will also allow them to try and hold Tomlinson in check.

    The Broncos want to force the Chargers into third and long situations, to force Rivers to throw into the strength of their defense. They will place Dre Bly on Antonio Gates in an attempt to protect their Safety John Lynch who are ailing and may be a game time decision. Their backup Safety Hamza Abdullah is out till late in October. The Broncos will be forced to drop a linebacker into coverage when the Chargers run a receiver into the center of the field.

    If the Broncos can stuff the run and force the Chargers to rely on the pass, look for them to step up the pressure even more on Rivers. The Broncos want to challenge Rivers and the Chargers pass catchers to beat them.

    <strong><em>Chargers on Defense, Broncos on Offense: </em></strong>
    The Chargers are looking for answers on the defensive side of the ball and their opposition knows it. The Chargers pass rush is not pressuring the opposing quarterbacks and the Broncos are going to look to exploit the San Diego secondary which has struggled so far this season. San Diego is ranked 12th against the run, and Broncos Running Backs Travis Henry and Mike Bell are ailing right now. Do not look for the Broncos to challenge the Chargers rush defense right away.

    The Chargers will have to pressure the Cutler and make his put the ball up for grabs. The Chargers while beleaguered on pass defense have been able to make plays when the quarterback is pressured. They will need to create that pressure to force the Broncos to slow the game down and try to establish the run to create play action pass opportunities.

    If the Chargers can keep the Broncos offensive attack grounded, they can rely on their big bodies up front to control the line of scrimmage and force the quick out. The Defense will have to do that to remain fresh and prevent them from wearing down as they did last week against the Chiefs.

    Denver however will look to stretch the field, with Tight End Daniel Graham, Wide Receivers Brandon Marshall, and Brandon Stokley. They will look to move the Chargers safeties out of position to allow for their receivers to make a catch in the gap and get the yards after the catch. This has been done to the Chargers in the past four games, and the Broncos will be reviewing that game footage.

    The Chargers will have to play disciplined coverage to be able to prevent this. Denver is bringing in the 13th rated pass attack and the 5th best rushing attack in the league. As pointed out before their running backs are banged up, but the threat of the play action pass will keep the Chargers Line Backing corps on their toes.

    Denver's game plan should be simple, attack the Chargers pass defense to set up the last game runs to grind out the clock. If they can take a first half lead they will start to move to the run in order to keep the Chargers offensive off the field and their defense well rested.

    <strong><em>
    The monkey and the wrench:</em></strong>
    Turnovers. No other way to put it. Both passers have thrown ugly interceptions this season, and the difference will be the pass rush. Which team can rattle the young Quarterback out of their comfort zone will have a much better chance at winning the game. So far the Chargers pass rush ahs been largely nonexistent, and the rarified air at Mile High won't make it any better.

    The Chargers have looked tired while playing at home, they will not have it any easier in the high altitudes of Denver. Pressure and conditioning. Which team will break first?

    <strong><em>Concudan's Prognostication: </em></strong>
    I haven't been very good at this so far this season. Invesco field and Mile High Stadiums have not been a good place to the Chargers. If the Chargers were clicking I would say this is a game the Chargers can win. But they are sputtering, looking for focus and consistency.

    Both Quarterbacks can turn the ball over, and both have done so this year, having more interceptions than touchdowns. Turnovers will make or break this game. However, I have to give the nod to the Broncos at home.

    Chargers 13, Broncos 17.

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