Woo Hoo Broncos fans, Thursday is finally here! Yes, it’s just four days since the Broncos last played, but since that one turned into an ugly loss, game day could not get here fast enough.
And what could be better for washing Sunday’s game from our minds than a Color Rush game on prime time at the Broncos’ West Coast home stadium - where Philip Rivers remains one of every Broncos’ fans favorite QBs to hate.
And if you’re Von Miller, it’s apparently your favorite QB to sack.
Von Miller has sacked Philip Rivers more than another QB, 11 times in his career. Tom Brady 2nd with 7 1/2.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) October 12, 2016
And we have the perfect Ultimate Fan to preview this game for us because the_prodigal_fan is a regular around here, and he’s a big fan of the Color Rush game. He’s also a third generation fan, so this rivalry with the Chargers is in his blood. But many of you diehards will appreciate that San Diego is even close to his favorite AFC West team to beat (I’ll let you guess who it is).
For now...we’re on to San Diego.
Week 6: Denver at San Diego
MHR – The Broncos got their first loss on Sunday. What do you think was the biggest breakdown from the team’s performance that led to that loss – rookie QB, OL, running game, defense, game plan, a really good Falcons team?
the_prodigal_fan: Each of the things you mentioned played a part in the loss. I think three of them shared the biggest responsibility for it. Those were the quarterback, the offensive line, and the game plan. As much as I love what Paxton Lynch brings to the table, he looked out of his depth and unprepared. Of course, the OL wasn't doing him any favors. He was running for his life all afternoon. And the game plan...well, this may have been the biggest factor of all. The offense never utilized short, easy throws to any significant degree, which would have helped Lynch find a rhythm. And on defense, the Falcons were able to take advantage of our linebackers in pass coverage all day long, and we had no answer for it. To be fair, I'm not sure how much of that is issues with the game plan and how much is just that our LBs suck in coverage, but for simplicity's sake I will call it the game plan.
MHR – Gary Kubiak is taking the week off after being diagnosed with a complex migraine condition, and Joe DeCamillis has been tapped as the interim. Why/why not do you like this choice for this week?
the_prodigal_fan: I'm fairly ambivalent on this, to be honest. I don't have strong feelings about DeCamillis either way. That said, I much prefer having him do it than having Wade. This isn't because I don't trust Wade. He does have head coaching experience, and I think he would do a fine job. But I would much rather have him concentrate his efforts on the defensive side of the ball, because that is where his greatest strength lies, and he may be the single most important key to a Broncos win. .
MHR – Trevor Siemian is likely to start this week after being sidelined with an injury last game. Will this help the offense get back on track against the Chargers?
the_prodigal_fan: I have been down on Siemian from the beginning, and this is where I need to eat a little crow. Siemian being back is important in several ways. First of all, he has a greater command of the offense, which means the whole playbook is back on the table. He has shown more poise in every game than Lynch did last week. No, I don't think that was all Lynch's fault, but the facts are what they are. And lastly, Siemian has better accuracy and is faster in his reads at this point than Lynch is. Assuming Siemian is actually healthy, we should see a better performance on Thursday from the quarterback position.
MHR – The Chargers are 1-4 but three of the losses were by less than a touchdown and often on crazy plays. They are going to be due for a win, especially at home in prime time. What do the Broncos need to do to really prepare to play this prolific offense and improving defense well?
the_prodigal_fan: The single biggest thing is to watch the tape from the Falcons game. Atlanta exposed the weaknesses on this team. We need to self-scout to really gain an understanding of those weaknesses so that we can address them, whether by adjusting personnel or simply better disguising what we are doing.
MHR – Joey Bosa got off to a rocky start in his NFL career with a holdout and then an injury. But his NFL debut last week looked pretty good with two sacks. How do you think this suspect Broncos O-Line can hold up this week? How much of an impact will having Donald Stephenson and Virgil Green back help this?
the_prodigal_fan: I'm not gonna lie, this is a big concern. Bosa seems determined to show himself as the real deal right out of the gate. The importance of having Stephenson and Green back cannot be overstated. Even with those two we do not have a particularly impressive OL, but it is considerably better with them than without them. I think between having them back and doing some proper game planning, we can do a good job of minimizing the impact of Bosa and the Chargers front seven.
MHR – The Falcons exposed a major weakness for the Broncos’ defense by forcing so much of its offense through the Broncos inside linebackers. Do you foresee the Chargers following this blueprint after the Falcons success?
the_prodigal_fan: I expect every team we face from this point on to at least try to follow the Falcons blueprint. It's the only thing that's really worked for the better part of a year. That said, there are ways in which we can compensate for these issues.
MHR – Philip Rivers has been on the losing end of his games against the Broncos most of his career, but he’s also a dangerous quarterback – throwing 11 TDs and just 3 INTs in five games so far. What does the Broncos D do to keep him and his offense in check?the_prodigal_fan: Pass rush. Von Miller and company need to have a big day. The good news is that Rivers gets rattled fairly easily when he is under a lot of duress. If our pass rush can get home early, even if it's only a couple of times, Rivers will be in for a long day. Also, he tends to get frustrated when his receivers aren't making catches. If the No Fly Zone can break up a few passes, one of the patented Rivers Temper Tantrums™ won't be far behind.
MHR – Which defensive player NEEDS to be this week’s star?
the_prodigal_fan: Whoever is covering Antonio Gates.
MHR – Which offensive player NEEDS to be this week’s star?
the_prodigal_fan: C.J. Anderson. I realize that C.J.'s production is to a large extent dependent on the OL doing its job, but with Stephenson and Green returning, I expect the blocking to be considerably improved. That puts the onus on C.J. to perform. This will keep the offense on schedule in down-and-distance, and it will open things up in the passing game when San Diego has to start putting more guys in the box to stop the run.
MHR – Most important question…what do you think of the Color Rush uniforms and the "old-school D" with the modern blue?
the_prodigal_fan: I have absolutely loved the jersey and helmet from the first moment. I wasn't crazy about the pants, but they have grown on me. Overall, I really like the look. And I dearly wish we could keep the jersey and helmet permanently.
Stats for Trevor Siemian? 22/30 for 250 yards, 2 TDs and no INTs
Number of carries/yards rushing for Broncos? As a collective, 28 carries for 130 yards.
Number of yards receiving for Broncos? 95 for DT, 80 for Sanders.
Number of sacks to Siemian? 3
Number of sacks to Philip Rivers? 5
Broncos player with the most sacks? Shaq Barrett. I think Von Miller will be the most important pass rusher, but he will be double-teamed and chipped all day. Shaq Barrett is due for a big game, so I think he gets 2.
Broncos player with the most tackles? T.J. Ward.
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos? 3 INTs (Rivers gets frustrated and makes some mistakes) 1 FF, 1 FR
Final Score? Denver Broncos 27, San Diego Chargers 14
Favorite win against the Chargers? November 19, 1995. Broncos won 30-27. It was the first game I ever got to attend in person.
Favorite Super Bowl win? XXXII
Team you hate to lose to the most? The Chiefs, but only because of their fans.
Team you love to beat? See above answer.
Game most looking forward to this season? Super Bowl LI
Game most worried about this season? New England
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Chris Harris Jr. Guy works his tail off, plays bigger than he is, and is one of the best players in the league. Oh, and he took a discount to stay in Denver. Gotta love that.
Favorite Broncos player of all time? Number 7. 'Nuff said.
Superstitions on game day? I have a solid gold Broncos pendant and necklace that I have to wear every game day, along with a jersey and SBXXXII hat.
Favorite Broncos jersey color combo? Orange and white home unis.
How did you become a Broncos fan?
I was born into it. I come from a family of Bronco fans, starting with my grandparents, and I was raised first in Greeley, then Aurora, before moving to the hated Raider territory.