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Broncos vs Chargers over the years

Here is a look back at the storied history between the two teams, as well as news and notes from Denver’s weekly release.

Good morning, Broncos Country!

This maybe the most under-appreciated rivalry of the Denver Broncos.

We know of the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, but it seems the Los Angeles Chargers are the stepchild for Broncos Country. There isn’t that hatred as there is with the other two AFC West rivals, nor the New England Patriots.

That doesn’t mean the rivalry isn’t historic or had classic moments. Think of the magical comeback orchestrated by Peyton Manning and the defense in 2012 on Monday Night Football.

Will today’s game be one that is added to the storied rivalry or one we all forget?

On the latest MHR Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I previewed the game, gave our keys to victory, players to watch and predictions. Also checkout my weekly Broncos segment with Michael Klahr and Mark Knudson on ESPN 1600 AM. Derek Wolfe spoke the truth earlier this week, Anthony Lynn and Vance Joseph have gone different directions and key for Denver to beat LA (segment starts at 23:20).

Here is the history of the Broncos-Chargers rivalry, courtesy of Denver’s weekly release.

  • Today’s game marks the 117th regular-season game between the Broncos and Chargers. The last game was, of course, Denver’s 21-0 loss in LA last season. The Broncos are 40-17-1 at home; 24-34 on the road.
  • The first game between the Broncos and Chargers was Sept. 16, 1960, in Denver, with then-LA winning 23-19.
  • Prior to that shutout loss last season, the last time the Broncos played the Chargers in LA was Dec. 10, 1960, at the LA Coliseum. The Chargers won that too, 41-33. Denver has lost its last 10 games played in LA. The last win came in 1987 vs Bo Jackson and the Raiders.
  • The Broncos all-time record when playing in LA is 5-15. Interestingly, the last time Denver was shutout before last season in LA (1992) also happened in LA. So one could say it’s the City of Dark Angels for the Broncos.
  • Prior to last season, the Broncos last two games in Los Angeles came against the Los Angeles Rams and Raiders. Denver lost to the Rams 27-21 on Nov. 6, 1994. Later that same season on Dec. 11, the Broncos lost to the Raiders 23-13.
  • The longest winning streak for the Broncos in this series is seven games, between Nov. 16, 1975-Sept. 17, 1978. The longest winning streak for the Chargers is six games, between Dec. 22, 1963-Oct. 30, 1966.
  • The last Broncos win at home was, obviously, the season-opening game on Monday Night Football to open the 2017 season. The last home loss to the Chargers was Dec. 12, 2013, when Denver lost 27-20.
  • The last road win for the Broncos was on Dec. 6, 2015, a 17-3 victory. That’s also the last time Denver won a road game in the AFC West. In that time the Broncos are 0-7 in such games.
  • The Broncos have recorded six shutouts in this series, with the last coming Oct. 2, 1988, when Denver won 12-0 in San Diego. The Chargers have amassed four shutouts. Take away last season, the most recent was Oct. 8, 1978, when they won 23-0 at Mile High.
  • The most points the Broncos have scored in this series is 50, a 50-34 win on Oct. 6, 1963, at then-Bears Stadium in Denver. The most points the Chargers have scored is 58, a 58-20 win on Oct. 22, 1963, in San Diego.
  • The Broncos largest margin of victory is 35, a 38-3 win on Dec. 22, 1997, in Denver. The largest margin of victory for the Chargers is 38, a 41-3 win on Oct. 7, 2007, in Denver.
  • The most combined points for the Broncos and Chargers is 84, the 50-34 Denver win in 1963. The fewest combined points is 7, a 7-0 Broncos win on Oct. 7, 1979, at Mile High Stadium. Our Jess Place wrote about that game.
  • You may have noticed a tie in the Broncos home record vs the Chargers. That happened on Dec. 13, 1970, at Mile High Stadium, 17-17. Denver scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to force overtime, both one-yard rushes.
  • The Broncos and Chargers have met only once in the NFL playoffs, Denver’s 24-17 win on Jan. 12, 2014, at Mile High. It was my wife’s first experience of the playoffs in person.

Things to watch for today

  • Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr needs one pass defended to tie Steve Atwater and Tyrone Braxton (78) for third-most by a Bronco since the statistic was tracked beginning in 1994.
  • Harris also needs one interception to become the only NFL player with multiple interceptions in each of the last seven seasons.
  • Broncos linebacker Von Miller needs one to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie While and former teammate DeMarcus Ware as the only players in NFL history with 10 sacks in seven of their first eight NFL seasons.
  • Miller also needs one sack to reach 100 for his NFL career (including postseason) and become the fifth-fastest player to reach that mark among those who began their career in 1982 or later.
  • Miller needs one sack to tie Henry Thomas (93.5) for 42nd on the NFL’s all-time sack list. Miller also needs five sacks to tie Broncos Ring of Famer Simon Fletcher (97.5) for most in team history.
  • With his 15 sacks on Philip Rivers, that serves as the most for any quarterback for Miller. No. 2 on that list is Alex Smith (8.0), followed by Tom Brady (7.5) and Derek Carr (5.5).
  • The Broncos pass-rushing duo of Miller (9.0) and Bradley Chubb (8.0) have combined for the most sacks (17) in the NFL by a pass rushing duo through Week 10.
  • The Broncos offensive rookie trio — Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, along with Courtland Sutton — have combined for 1,462 yards from scrimmage. That represents the sixth-most yards by a rookie trio through nine games since the 1970 NFL merger.

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