I hate to start an article off this way but here it goes.
With a final score of 35-24, the Denver Broncos score 35 unaswered second half points to beat the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm stadium.
That game has just now begun to form a scar over the wound that I didn’t believe would ever heal. It’s not often that a game in week 6 of the regular season would have so much importance.
Despite it’s importance, the Chargers blew a 24-0 first half lead at home against Peyton Manning and company. The rest is history.
On November 18th -week 11- the Bolts travel to Denver to face the Broncos on their turf. Whether it be the thin air, cooler temperatures, or just flat out being on the road, the Chargers face a bit of adversity in the second matchup with the Broncos.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. There’s that one guy that goes by the name of Peyton Manning. He’s pretty good. Although Manning is coming off of four neck surgeries, he has really started to turn it on this season. He has lost a bit of arm strength but his accuracy and intelligence haven’t wavered at all.
Manning has two very solid receivers on the outside in Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. Both players are very capable of getting open and giving the Chargers’ secondary fits throughout the game. Add in slot receiver, and longtime teammate with both the Colts and now Broncos, Brandon Stokley, Manning has many options at the wide out position.
Despite the Broncos’ weapons via the aerial attack, Willis McGahee is still running hard at halfback for Denver. McGahee is in his 10th year in the league and still putting up good numbers. He’s one of those running backs that always falls forward. That may seem like a silly statement but he constantly grinds out yards and finishes his runs very well.
Also at the running back position is the emerging rookie Ronnie Hillman. The former San Diego State Aztec is starting to pick up the offense and is seeing more and more playing time. Hillman has started to come in the game on third down and has flashed great speed and quickness with an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
The Bolts’ defense is sure to have their hands full facing a very talented and deep Denver offense.
On defense the Broncos are a tough matchup for Philip Rivers and the San Diego offense. Second year strong side linebacker Von Miller is constantly setting up shop in the backfield of NFL offenses. He is both quick and powerful using leg drive and multiple pass rush moves in an attempt to get to the quarterback.
Elvis Dumervil lines up at defensive end and has shown he is more than capable of wreaking havoc while pass rushing. Dumervil has made his fair share of plays against the Chargers in the past.
Another player that adds to a solid linebacking corp is Wesley Woodyard. Woodyard was recently named defensive player of the week.
The Bolts’ offensive line will have it’s hands full against the Denver front seven.
While looking at the Bronco secondary the name that stands out is Champ Bailey. Despite losing a step, Bailey is still one of the more heady cornerbacks in the game. Rivers has never hesitated to throw at top CBs in the game but should always be aware of where number 24 is at during pass plays.
Second year player Chris Harris made an obvious impact in the first game against San Diego. He made a couple of game changing plays.
The safeties of the Broncos leave a lot to be desired. Antonio Gates is a definite mismatch when singled up by either Mike Adams or Rahim Moore. Veteran Jim Leonhard comes in on nickel packages and returns punts as well.
My assumption is that Tracy Porter will most likely be healthy by the time week 11 rolls around. Porter was a great acquisition by Denver in the offseason. Porter is constantly jumping routes which will, at times, leave him susceptible to double moves.
On special teams, Matt Prater is one of the better kickers in the league. Prater definitely loves kicking in the thin air of Mile High stadium.
Newly acquired return man Trindon Holliday set a Broncos record with a 105 yard kickoff return for a touchdown recently. Holliday was cut by the Texans and picked up by the Broncos shortly after his release.
The Chargers are 3-1 in the division and will be when they go into the fifth of six divisional matchups for the 2012 season. It is easy to say that this will be a must win regardless of what happens against Tampa Bay in week 10.
The AFC West, minus the Chiefs, is closer than I would like it to be. After blowing the opportunity to open up a two game lead over the Broncos, by losing in week 6 to Denver, the Bolts then went on to lose to the Browns in Celeveland.
With the Chargers being a game behind Denver in the win-loss column, the Chargers are again facing a crucial game week 11 at Invesco field.
If Rivers is provided ample time to throw the ball, I feel as though the Chargers can score with the Broncos. I would really like Ryan Mathews to get going as he has in the past when playing Denver. His best games have been against them.
The importance of this second battle can not be overstated. This is a must-win for the Chargers.
Let’s hope that the team comes into the Denver game riding high off a two game win streak after polishing off the Chiefs and hopefully achieving a win in Tampa Bay this Sunday.
Thanks a lot for reading.