San Diego stunned the Denver Broncos five weeks ago, making Peyton Manning look average and claiming a road victory that was part of a late-season surge that helped sweep the Chargers into the playoffs.
They’ll have to do it again today in an AFC divisional-round game against the top-seeded Broncos to keep their January joyride going.
“We’re going to come in there with a vengeance and see if we can shock the world again,” Chargers Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle said.
As much as the Chargers’ offense contributed to the 27-20 victory at Denver on Dec. 12, defensive coordinator John Pagano came up with a game plan that helped frustrate Manning and the high-powered Broncos.
The Bolts held the Broncos to season lows in points and total offensive yards (295). The Broncos had only 18 yards rushing. The Broncos were forced to punt on four straight possessions in the second and third quarters, a streak that started with three straight three-and-outs.
“It’s always a challenge for us as a staff for putting those things together when you see an opponent for the third time,” Pagano said. “There’s so many things that they know about us and we know about them. It really comes down to between the lines, players going out and executing. Sometimes you can’t worry about, ‘Oh, they’ve seen this before, or done this before.’ You’ve just got to go out and execute. If players go at a high level no matter what the call is and we got execute, you’re always going to have that success.
“We know each other so well that you’ve got to disguise a little bit and change it up a little bit.”
Pagano said the Chargers communicated well, didn’t give up big plays and tackled well.
“When you do those three things defensively, it always gives you an opportunity to win.”
While Manning is 3-1 against San Diego since coming to the Broncos, the Chargers eliminated the Manning-led Indianapolis Colts from the playoffs following the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
Chargers vs. Broncos
WHEN: Today, 1:40 p.m.
WHERE: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
TV: CBS (KPIX, Ch. 5)