ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — This game isn’t for today or even the 2019 season.
This game is the Broncos' last chance to prevent a future sports researcher from scrolling through the microfiche 50 years from now. Or whatever technology may bring in 2069.
The Broncos are 0-4 going into their game Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Chargers at the soccer stadium named Dignity Field Sports Park in Carson, Calif.
No Broncos team has ever started 0-5. They were 4-12 in 2010, a season so bad head coach Josh McDaniels was fired with a month to go. But they still started 2-2.
They were 2-7 in a strike season of 1982. But they managed a win against the defending Super Bowl champion 49ers in game 2.
The Broncos were 2-11-1 in their back-to-back, pre-Floyd Little seasons of 1963-64. But neither started 0-5.
For the 2019 Broncos to avoid dubious history, they must beat Philip Rivers and a Chargers team that finished 12-4 last year and is 2-2 so far this season. The Chargers are 6-point favorites.
Here is a Klis List of ways the Broncos can go back to the future and prevent historians from checking back on them:
Put pressure on Philip
Rivers is so immobile, he makes Joe Flacco look like Russell Wilson in comparison. Rivers compensates by having the quickest release since Joe Namath. It would have been easier pressuring Rivers with a healthy Bradley Chubb. But the Broncos still have Von Miller and maybe the committee of Malik Reed, Justin Hollins and Jeremiah Attaochu can apply the necessary heat, along with a push inside from DeMarcus Walker, Shelby Harris, Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis and Dre'Mont Jones.
The Broncos are 14-13 lifetime against Rivers. You can’t shut him up. But by and large when the Broncos have been able to get to Rivers, they win.
*Force those long-lost turnovers
This is a tough ask. The current Denver defense has ZERO takeaways through four games. All other NFL teams have at least two. New England has 10.
The ball has to start bouncing the Broncos way. Denver upset the Chargers last year at the soccer stadium by picking off Rivers twice.
The Broncos scored 24 points last week, their best output in 8 games. Know why? They put it up. Flacco, Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton is how the Broncos get chunk plays. This is a passing league. The rules are set up so offenses can do damage in the passing game. Get a lead, then run the ball in the final 4 minutes.
Plug the run, please
The Denver D allowed 229 rushing yards in the second half last week to Jacksonville? Come on, guys. Buck up.
Chip the Esteem of Eaton
Austin Eckler is a mismatch problem for the Broncos. The Chargers’ versatile running back has 220 yards and 3 touchdowns rushing; 270 yards and 3 touchdowns receiving. In four games.
Starting running back Melvin Gordon returns from his unsuccessful contract holdout and the Chargers would be doing the Broncos a favor if they reduce the touches for Eckler.
Fight, scratch, claw to avoid history
Lose this game and 50 years from now, the media covering the Broncos will report: Denver has started 0-5 only once. In 2019. Give it everything you’ve got, guys, and then give a little bit more to avoid the worst in franchise history.
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