The San Diego Chargers are maybe more emotionally invested into this week’s matchup than they were in week 6. That’s what a 35-24 loss to a division opponent will do to you after amassing a 24-point lead at halftime.
“Obviously it’s a real challenge coming into Denver, and playing against right now, the most completed team in the league,” Chargers’ head coach Norv Turner said in a conference call Wednesday.
The Chargers are 4-5, so it may come as a surprise that they sit just one spot below Denver in scoring defense. Not only that, but they’ve got the league’s second best rush defense, giving up just 82.9 yards per game.
Overall, Peyton Manning can appreciate the Chargers’ defense. They shut the Broncos out in the first half earlier this season.
“A team’s record can be misleading, but their defense, they’re not giving up yards versus the run or the pass,” Manning said. “They’re causing problems for offenses to get into a flow. That’s what I remember from that game. I felt like in the second half when we scored points, I felt like we were really doing something because we were doing it against a good defense, and we know they’re going to be good this Sunday.”
The Chargers have a veteran secondary that generally plays well together. Quentin Jammer intercepted Manning in the Monday night meeting. However, that same night, five different Broncos’ receivers had catches for at least 21 yards, including Eric Decker who had the big 55-yard reception before tripping over the 40-yard line. The point is the Chargers are giving up too many big plays, and that’s where the Broncos can take advantage.
“I would think from a complete team standpoint, defensively, I think we’ve improved, we’re playing awfully well up front, but we have at inopportune times, given up big plays in the passing game,” Turner said.