NFL Football

16
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Denver 0 0 3 13 16
LA Chargers 3 10 0 6 19
19
1:05 PM PT2:05 PM MT3:05 PM CT4:05 PM ET21:05 GMT5:05 2:05 PM MST4:05 PM EST3:05 PM CT1:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ET19:05 , December 27, 2020
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California  Attendance: 0

Broncos-Chargers Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers

  1. The Broncos and Chargers have played 15 one-score games since the start of 2010 (including postseason), tied for third most among all matchups in that span. The Broncos have won 11 of those games, including the last six such games -- most recently, a 31-30 game in Week 8 in Denver this season.
  2. Denver has clinched its fourth consecutive losing season, the second longest such streak in franchise history (10 straight, 1963-72). They've gone 23-39 since 2017, tied for the fifth-worst record in that span -- only the Giants (17-45), Jets (17-45), Bengals (18-43-1) and Jaguars (22-40) have been worse.
  3. Jerry Jeudy has caught just four of his 14 targets over the last four games, totalling 66 yards in that span. He had four or more catches in six of his first 10 games this season, averaging 58.9 yards per game.
  4. The Chargers have won back-to-back games for the first time since Weeks 8-9 last season and look to win three straight for the first time since Weeks 12-15, 2018 (four straight). Last week's win over Las Vegas came in overtime, the Chargers' third OT game this season, the most in the NFL.
  5. Justin Herbert needs just 219 passing yards to reach 4000 yards in what would be his 14th career game. That would be the second-fastest all-time to reach the milestone, behind only Patrick Mahomes (13 games).
  6. This will mark the third time ever that the Broncos and Chargers faceoff with both teams at least three games under .500, and the first time it's happened with both teams four games under .500. Denver has won both of the previous such matchups, most recently taking a 23-20 win in Denver in Week 13 last season.
Team Comparison

Denver
 
Los Angeles
19.7 Points 23.4
219.3 Pass Yds 285.2
118.8 Rush Yds 111.4
12 Takeaways 16
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) Justin Herbert is on the verge of one of the best statistical years by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. Not bad for someone who didn't know how much he was going to play at the beginning of season.

The Los Angeles Chargers signal caller goes into Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos already with the most 300-yard passing games by a rookie. He has also tied Baker Mayfield's 2018 mark of 27 touchdown passes.

Herbert, the sixth overall pick in the April draft and third QB taken, is also 219 yards away from becoming the fourth rookie to throw for at least 4,000 yards. He would need 595 yards this week and in the Jan. 3 finale at Kansas City to overtake Andrew Luck's record of 4,374 yards in 2012.

"It would have been tough to imagine early on, especially not knowing when or if I'd play this year, " said Herbert about his record-setting season. "It's one of those things that (QB) coach (Pep) Hamilton and I talked about. He said I needed to be ready when and if the time came. So when it came around - and it was pretty quick turnaround - I felt pretty prepared to go in."

Herbert struggled during a stretch against the Dolphins, Bills and Patriots, but he has bounced back by directing winning drives against the Falcons and Raiders. The Chargers (5-9) come into the game looking for their first three-game winning streak in two years.

The Broncos are also 5-9 but have dropped three of their last four. Drew Lock has been inconsistent in his second season but general manager John Elway gave his young quarterback a vote of confidence this week.

"He's gone through his reads better and dumped some things off and continued to use the experience to get better," Elway told the team's website. "Obviously, the inconsistency, that comes with being young, especially if you're young and you've got young guys around you . like we do. ... I think that Drew's had an up-and-down year, but we still like what we see in him and still think that he's got a chance to be a very good quarterback in this league."

DOWN TO THE WIRE

All four of Los Angeles' games against division opponents have been decided on the final play. It had a 21-point lead midway through the third quarter at Denver on Nov. 1 before the Broncos rallied for a 31-30 victory. Lock directed a 14-play, 81-play drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD pass to K.J. Hamler.

The Chargers snapped a nine-game losing streak in the AFC West against the Raiders on Herbert's 1-yard sneak in overtime.

CORNERBACK CONCERNS

Denver's depleted cornerback corps, which has lost starters Bryce Callahan (foot) and A.J. Bouye (suspension) in addition to Kevin Tolliver II, Duke Dawson and Essang Bassey to season-ending knee injuries this month, allowed a combined 19 catches for 259 yards to the Bills' duo of Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley last week. They'll face the Chargers with De'Vante Bausby, rookie Michael Ojemudia (who was ejected for fighting last week), safety-by-trade Will Parks and maybe newcomers Nate Hairston and Parnell Motley, recently plucked off other teams' practice squads.

RUNNING ON EMPTY?

The Chargers have struggled stopping the run over the last month. They have allowed more than 150 rushing yards in three of the past four games, with quarterbacks going over 30 yards. Lock isn't known as much of a scrambling quarterback, but he did have 37 yards last week.

Los Angeles' bigger concern should be containing Melvin Gordon. Gordon, who spent five seasons with the Bolts before coming to Denver, was held to 26 yards in the first game but has run for 260 yards and averaging 6.7 yards per carry in the past three games.

Chargers nemesis Phillip Lindsay has been ruled out due to hip and knee injuries. Three of Lindsay's eight biggest carries have come against the Chargers, including a 55-yard touchdown in the first meeting.

OLD FRIEND

The Broncos didn't face former Denver CB Chris Harris Jr. the last time they played the Chargers.

"Chris was a great player here for the Broncos for many, many years," Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. "Obviously, a great nickel, a very good corner, good football player, good instincts, sees the game through a lens that is wider and deeper than most, and can be a good leader within the defensive back room as far as pointing out things and mentoring and tutoring young defensive backs. He has a lot of great qualities to him and he's been playing good now since he's gotten back into the lineup."

KEEP AN EYE ON

Chargers wide receiver Tyron Johnson, who has a touchdown in the past two games along with 11 receptions for 116 yards.

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Follow Joe Reedy at http://twitter.com/joereedy

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Updated December 25, 2020

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