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It sure feels good to get a win.

    • 308 posts
    April 28, 2019 2:26 PM HKT

     I know that the Arizona Cardinals are one of the worst teams in the league and that they very well could be drafting #1 overall next season (if the Oakland Raiders don’t beat them to it) Adam Gotsis Jersey , but I thought the same thing about the New York Jets on the Denver Broncos way into that game and they stomped our team. So at least for 10 days, I can feel like this team is heading in the right direction and not sinking like that 4-game losing streak would seem to suggest. So for one week, at least the coaches made some good moves. On defense that resulted in us not allowing a 200-yard rusher for the third week in a row. The Cardinals pretty quickly become one-dimensional after they got down to 21, but even before that they were not running the ball effectively. They managed to gain 69 yards on 21 carries (3.29 ypc) which is worlds better than the average ypc allowed by the Broncos defense in the two games before. The Cardinals tried to run the ball on first down, which was a strategy that had been very successful for the Los Angeles Rams and the Jets. The Cards were held to 14 yards on nine first down carries (1.56 ypc) and most of those came on J.J. Nelson’s 7 yard run. The Broncos maligned run defense held the dangerous David Johnson to 6 yards on 7 first down runs. The run D had two stops for no gain and one TFL on first down runs against the Cardinals. David Johnson would finish the game with 39 yards rushing on 14 carries, but 17 of those 39 came on one run. On his other 13 runs he gained 22 yards; that is what this Broncos run defense has generally looked like in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and it would be great if they could get back to that level. Why is it important to stop the run on first down? Because it will allow them to keep opposing offenses off-schedule and force them into 3rd and long situations, which has been the forte of our defense for the past three years. After their performance on Thursday (with Monday night’s game yet to occur) they are no longer dead last in ypc allowed on first down runs. They have moved all the way up to 30th. Their 5.45 ypc allowed on first down runs is better than the Kansas City Chiefs (5.49) and Detroit Lions (5.60). The Houston Texans currently lead the league at 3.08 ypc allowed on first down runs. The Broncos only forced the Cards into 3rd and long five times. They converted one of five - on a 14 yard scramble by Josh Rosen. The Broncos have now allowed 15 conversion on 46 3rd & long situations (32.6%) which is 26th in the league. The Chiefs are still leading the league in this category having only allowed six conversions on 42 3rd & long situations (14.6%). The Broncos have a long way to go to get close to how well the defense has performed in these situations over the last three years. They were 7th in 2017, 5th in 2016 and 9th in 2015. The 2018 Broncos now stand at a cross-roads. They are poised to play on the road in Arrowhead stadium as heavy underdogs. Arrowhead has always been a tough place for the Broncos to play, even when we were routinely beating the Chiefs twice per year. So this game presents a monumental challenge for both the players and coaches. The team has a “mini-bye” to prepare for the Chiefs, but that did not help this coaching staff last season as they lost to the woeful Giants in Denver after our actual bye last season. They also have a coaching staff that has produced two road wins in two seasons and in both of those road wins the Broncos were the favored team. The Broncos have not won a road game where we were underdogs since 2016 (against the New Orleans Saints). I have little confidence in this coaching staff’s ability to game plan for an opponent in the way that the coaching staff could in 2015, but a win next Sunday would go a long way to change that lack of confidence. Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers offense have been sensational during their six-game winning streak. The veteran quarterback noted this week as they prepare for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos that things can turn south quickly.“We haven’t won six in a row in a while, but it can be a one-game losing streak just like that. So I think, again, it’s week to week,” Rivers said. “Again, now we’ve reset and get ready for the Broncos on Sunday.”The Chargers (7-2) have one of the league’s most-balanced offenses. Rivers is third in the league with a 115.4 passer rating and running back Melvin Gordon is third in yards from scrimmage (1,033).Rivers has been sacked only 12 times Jake Butt Jersey , third least among quarterbacks who have started nine or more games. But the Broncos have one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing duos in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, who have combined for a league-high 17 sacks.Miller, who has nine sacks this season, has sacked Rivers 15 times since entering the league as the second overall pick in 2011. That is the most by an active player against an active QB.“I’m a big Philip Rivers fan. I feel like he’s always played great, but the difference this year is he doesn’t have as many interceptions,” Miller said. “He can make all the throws but he don’t take all the shots. He is still accurate as hell, the running game is lights out, and he has a pretty good team.”Miller added that the biggest difference with the Chargers this season is they are relying more on the running game with Gordon and Austin Ekeler, which has allowed Rivers to take fewer risks.Chubb, the fifth overall pick in last April’s draft, has 6 1-2 of his eight sacks over the past four games. Chubb said he got to meet Rivers last season at North Carolina State when he came in to talk to the team.“He throws the ball out quick. It’s making sure that when I get there, I make sure I try to get the ball out,” Chubb said. “He’s kind of a bigger guy, he’s not going to try to move around too much. But a lot of guys slip off of him. If I get to him, just make sure I secure it and get the ball up.”Rivers is tied for fourth in the league with 21 touchdown passes and has thrown two or more in nine straight games. Only five quarterbacks have done it in 10 or more straight games. He has thrown two or more TDs the past three times the Chargers have faced the Broncos.Denver (3-6) is rested after having its bye last week, while the Chargers return to StubHub Center for the first time in six weeks. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said he sees a lot of similarities between this year’s Broncos and his team last year, which was 3-6 before winning six of its last seven.“This team (Denver) has lost four of the six games to division leaders, and they were close games. So this is a good football team Brendan Langley Jersey ,” Lynn said. “So, you know, I think it’s a matter of time that this team gets going on a streak, but we’re just trying to prevent that from being this week.”Here are other things to watch in the meeting of AFC West rivals:GORDON’S STREAKGordon has five straight games of at least 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. Only four players in NFL history have done it in six straight games or more. Coincidentally, the last to do it was the Chargers’ LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.FREEMAN’S RETURNBroncos RB Royce Freeman, who has missed the last two games due to an ankle injury, is likely to be back for this week. Freeman is part of a prolific rookie trio that also features RB Phillip Lindsay and WR Courtland Sutton. They have combined for 1,462 yards from scrimmage, sixth-most yards by a rookie trio through nine games since the 1970 merger.CHALLENGING CORNERBACKBroncos star Chris Harris Jr. is hardly being challenged by quarterbacks this season. In his last game, he locked down on Texans No. 1 receiver DeAndre Hopkins and was only thrown at twice. But he knows that will change Sunday.“Against Rivers, I’m excited this week because he always gives me a chance. I know Rivers is going to let me play ball.”CENTER OF ATTENTIONWith Matt Paradis on IR with a broken right leg, Connor McGovern will get his first start at center Sunday after moving over from right guard. QB Case Keenum said losing Paradis puts a lot more on everyone’s plate.“Everyone needs to step their game up,” Keenum said. “What’s great is that nobody has to be anybody but themselves. Everybody’s confident in what their ability is and everybody’s confident in what their job is. I think everybody is going to step up on the offensive line, including me, too. I definitely can help out with those guys.”KEEP AN EYE ONChargers DE Joey Bosa is back practicing and could he see action. Bosa has missed the first 10 games due to a bone bruise to his left foot, but will be a game-time decision. The Chargers struggled with their pass rush early this season, yet have 15 sacks over the past four games.___AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton contributed to this report.

     

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