Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) hands the ball of to running back Ryan Mathews (24) during second quarter of the AFC wild card playoff football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The San Diego Chargers have had some good success against the Denver Broncos this season. We split the season series against them and we could have swept it, but came up short in the first game. We have done well though because we have the formula to beat that team.
Part of the formula to beat the Broncos is keeping possession of the football on offense and milking that clock. The Chargers have won the time of possession game against the Broncos in both games this season, so there should not be a problem doing it again in the third meeting. We have been the best in the league and running that clock down on offense. Even our no-huddle offense milks the clock. It keeps the defense in base sets, but Philip still lets that clock run while at the line to read over the defense and then makes the call on what they want to do.
Ryan Mathews will be a big key for the Chargers to hog that football. He gets the ball in the early downs to set up short and manageable third down situations. Mathews rarely loses yards when he is given the football and that is a big reason for our success this year. His success on the early downs will be huge for the Chargers to keep the chains moving. His status is still up in the air, but I can’t see a way for him to sit on the sideline in the game unless he is missing a foot.
With Broncos LB Von Miller on the sideline and in street clothes, the Chargers will not have to worry about his threat on defense. He is their best defender and he causes problems against the run game and by putting pressure on the quarterback. Just that extra little time in the passing game could open up some big plays down the field to our receivers and tight ends.
Controlling the clock will be a big part of the formula for success and the Chargers should be able to do it again. Watching Peyton Manning sit on the sidelines helpless will be the best thing for us. He starts to get anxious on the sideline and tries to force the ball in situations that he really shouldn’t. That’s when the defense will need to make a play.
Will the Chargers control the clock again against Denver? YES.