A good way to tell if your football team is having a bad season is if your star quarterback says, “We’re The Bad News Bears, man” on the sideline in the midst of a debilitating loss.
Those appeared to be San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers’ words Sunday when punter Drew Kaser fumbled the snap on a 36-yard field goal try.
The field goal would’ve tied the game with a little more than 2 minutes remaining; instead, Oakland took over and bled the clock to win the game. The miscue caused Rivers to liken his 1-4 team to the fictional California little league team that couldn’t seem to do anything right (at first.)
His frustration is understandable. The Chargers (1-4) have lost four games by a combined 14 points this year. In Week 1, they blew a 21-point lead to the Chiefs. In Week 4, they squandered a 13-point lead against the Saints. Sunday, there was the field goal debacle.
San Diego’s offense is putting up numbers. They’re averaging 30.4 points per game, which is second only to Atlanta, despite losing wideouts Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson, and tailback Danny Woodhead. But that gaudy points-per game mark isn’t translating into many wins.
Rivers is playing brilliant football once again. He’s second in yards per attempt (8.54), third in completion rate (68 percent) and has tossed 11 touchdowns against three interceptions. It’s a shame he’s spending what’s likely the tail-end of his prime on such incompetent teams.
San Diego has lost 10-straight games against AFC West foes dating back to 2014. Their chances of reversing that streak don’t look good against the 4-1 Broncos.
The Von Miller oversized glasses matchup to keep an eye on
Trevor Siemian and the Broncos’ offensive line vs. the Chargers’ passing defense.
Siemian, offensive lineman Donald Stephenson and tight end Virgil Green are almost assuredly coming back from injury on Thursday night. That should help pump some life into a Denver passing attack that looked terrible in a loss to the Falcons.
Siemian is clearly better than Paxton Lynch right now. Stephenson’s return should provide stability at right tackle, where Ty Sambrailo and Michael Schofield functioned as revolving doors against the Falcons.
The Chargers are giving up the 27th-most passing yards per contest (291.6) this season. Let’s see if Siemian, Denver’s offensive line, which gave up six sacks last week, and the Broncos’ talented receivers can take advantage.
How to watch the game
When: 6:25 p.m. MT Thursday
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
TV: CBS, NFL Network
Streaming online: Twitter
Denver -3 1/2
Broncos 27, Chargers 14