Chargers ready to face Denver ghosts

Turnovers could be the key. The atrocity that is the San Diego Chargers when in Denver has a chance to rewrite history on Sunday. Over the last seven games in Denver – dating back to Dec. 21, 1997, the Bolts have turned the ball over at least three times in all but one game.

Think about the odds. The accountants' tally shows 12 fumbles lost and 11 interceptions thrown during that time frame.

It is no surprise to see the record in those seven games – 1-6.

Over the last 20 games between the teams, where the Chargers are 6-14, they have averaged 2.65 turnovers per game. In fact, they have turned the ball over at least once in all but two of those games.

"It‚s particularly important when you get into the elements," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said of the Denver crowd and keeping them out of the game. "That, along with field position, will be the two most significant factors, I would expect."

From Champ Bailey, healthy or not, in the secondary to the Mile High crowd, it all threatens to suffocate the Bolts and drop them to 0-2.

"It always seem like they play their best game of the season against us," quarterback Drew Brees said.

Brees suffered his worst quarterback rating of the year (46.2) last year – in a win at home versus Denver. He was 14-27 for 106 yards with one interception while getting sacked twice. In Denver he wasn't much better, going 14-for-29 for 121 yards while getting sacked three times and losing a fumble (59.7 rating).

To put that in perspective, Brees had just one other game below 82.3 all last year.

Denver simply hasn't been kind to them through the years.

"If we bring our best game, it should be a solid match all the way around," Brees said. "The huge emphasis is ball security, as it is every week. Move the chains, be patient and take care of the football."

That has proved to be a constant. Take care of the football and odds are you will win. Coach Schottenheimer looked up the stats last week and found that over 95 percent of the teams that lost the turnover battle also lost the game in 2004.

No need to explain why the emphasis on ball control is a fuel to Schottenheimer. Giving the ball away feeds his fire and his ire.

"Mix the run and the pass," Schottenheimer said of his gameplan. "A big play every once and a while."

Not rocket science here. Executing that plan versus a talented squad is another story. A win in Denver could drastically change history and the future of this franchise.

They accomplished the feat last year in Kansas City, another place that has been evil to the Chargers in the past. That has the team believing they can exorcise the demons in Denver. A win in Denver will make everyone believe that 12-4 was no fluke.

"Last year we went to Kansas City in November and that was the first time we won there in seven or eight games," Brees conveyed. "We feel like we can go into Denver and win."

Just in case – keep your voodoo dolls handy.


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