STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Broncos QB Peyton Manning needs win to tie John Elway for second in all-time victories for starting quarterbacks with 148. … Chargers have won three straight and five of last six at Denver. … Chargers RB Ryan Mathews has rushed for more than 100 yards in three of four career games against Broncos. … In 35-24 win over Chargers in October, Broncos became first team in NFL history to trail by at least 24 and win by double digits. … With 76-yard punt return for touchdown, Broncos returner Trindon Holliday became third player in franchise history to score on kickoff and punt return in same season. … Former Broncos WR Eddie Royal returns to Denver. In first meeting against Broncos, he had two catches for 22 yards. … Chargers TE Antonio Gates needs one touchdown reception to tie Lance Alworth for most in team history (81). … Chargers CB Quentin Jammer had 80-yard interception return for touchdown in last meeting against Broncos.
Dumervil suffered what he called a muscle strain behind his left shoulder in the first quarter of Sunday’s victory over the Carolina Panthers. He initially left the game then tried to return for one play, before he went to the sideline for the remainder of the day.
The two players missed their second straight day of practice Thursday. Mathews has a neck injury and Gaither missed last week’s game with a groin injury. Neither player is definitely out, but they must show some progress Friday to have a chance to play. San Diego linebacker Antwan Barnes was limited Thursday after not playing Sunday with a hamstring injury.
Last month, the Chargers linebacker blitzed through the gap between left guard and tackle, had Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in his sights, and as he dove in the air, Manning dodged, his eyes locked downfield.
Of course, there’s no way to know exactly why the Chargers (4-5) are healthier this year than in other recent years, or why their first preseason opponents, the Packers (6-3), promptly went on to lose five starters to season-ending injuries.
Drape multiple defenders, and it creates opportunities for others. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what a scheme presents. He’ll find a crack in coverage, or simply create his own window of opportunity. When it matters most, Gates comes down with the football.