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Chargers look to extend win streak vs. Broncos
The Denver Broncos seek to get back on track against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
The Chargers, thank you, prefer to stay on their current path.
The Broncos (3-2) have lost two of their last three games. With one of those defeats coming to the previously winless New York Giants last week, Denver is hardly in a cheery mood.
L.A. (2-4) is riding a solid vibe and it's different. After dropping their first four games -- three at their new StubHub Center home -- the Chargers won twice on the road.
They're still riding high from beating the Oakland Raiders on Nick Novak's 32-yard field goal at the buzzer last week.
So two teams headed in opposite directions meet in L.A., with the Chargers aiming for their first three-game winning streak since 2014.
"We're just trying to keep a narrow focus and just trying to take care of the job we have in front of us and that's the Denver Broncos," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.
The Broncos' mission is to rinse-and-spit their dreadful effort against the Giants. Quarterback Trevor Semian turned the ball over twice -- one for a pick-six -- and was sacked four times directing the Broncos' sputtering offense.
That performance had some questioning his job security.
"Absolutely Trevor is our quarterback right now," Broncos coach Vance Joseph said, answering the first question in Wednesday's media briefing. "We are 3-2 and as a team we are getting better. As a team, nothing has been perfect, including myself."
It's a perfect time, Joseph said, to see what the Broncos are all about. What was a smooth ride in the season's early stages, and even going back to preseason, has suddenly turned bumpy.
"This is a hard league; it's early in the football season," Joseph said. "Every team is going to have some adversity from losing football games and injuries, and it's our turn. The key is to overcome adversity with our depth and by staying with the process.
"But I knew it was going to come. It's here now and I'm not surprised it's here. We can't panic and we can't blame. We have to do more and say, 'OK, we got to deal with it and get through it.'"
The Broncos, who were steamrolled for 148 rushing yards by the Giants, will have to tame the Chargers' Melvin Gordon. He ran for 83 yards and a score on 20 of his 35 touches that produced 150 total yards.
"It's his running style and yards after contact, that is what Melvin does," Lynn said. "We have a good running back in this league and we have to use him."
Gordon also added a scoring reception in Sunday's win, his third in his last two games. He is tied for the league lead (non-kickers) with 42 points on seven touchdowns.
Gordon's four receiving touchdowns pace all running backs. Against the Raiders, his nine catches for 67 yards were career highs.
"His touches are on pace, but maybe his rep count is a little high," Lynn said. "But I am fine with his touches. He is a very unselfish player, but at the same time we recognize his talents and we use him."
Gordon, of course, wants more.
"All the good ones do," said Lynn, a former NFL running back. "And that is what makes them good."
Both sides have better-than-good pass-rushers with the Chargers' tandem of Melvin Ingram (7.5 sacks) and Joey Bosa (5.5) and the Broncos' Von Miller (5).
"In this division, you have those guys every single week," Lynn said of Miller, who has a sack in four consecutive games. "We have schemes to try and help in the protection and things we are going to do, but he is a great player, no doubt about it. You have to account for him because he can wreck a game."
Ingram and Bosa aren't hard for Siemian to find on the Chargers' highlights.
"We are playing one of the best fronts in football," he said. "Those guys are going to get around to the quarterback some way or somehow."
The Broncos, who split the series with the Chargers last year, are going for a sweep. In the NFL's opening week, the Chargers lost at Denver 24-21.
Updated October 19, 2017