Rivers doesn't know any better

The best thing the San Diego Chargers have going for them this week when they head to Denver is a quarterback who hasn't experienced the misery – he doesn't know he is supposed to lose.

Philip Rivers is headed to play the Broncos on Sunday night, trying to do something many Chargers quarterbacks couldn't: win at Denver. The Chargers have won once there in their last 11 visits.

Rivers, though, hasn't blinked yet in what has been an amazing run in the first nine games. He has thrown 10 touchdown and three interceptions, has completed 66 percent of his passes and has ended four games with a passer rating of 100-plus.

Surprising? Not to the Chargers' veterans.

"No, I don't think so," LaDainian Tomlinson said. "I don't think anyone is surprised by the way Philip is playing.

"Philip has been here three years now, and every day we've seen the guy work and we've seen him making all the throws that you want from a quarterback, and then when he took over the spot as a starter, we seen him through offseason camps and minicamp and training camp, and so we've seen something special. We knew that we could continue to keep rolling as an offense."

Rivers has been at the helm of the highest-scoring offense in the NFL.

"I think a lot of guys knew that he was going to be good and he wasn't going to take a while to come in and adjust to the speed of the game," Tomlinson said.

Rivers said by sitting behind Drew Brees for two seasons, he watched how the starter prepared. And that has helped him greatly has he's led the Chargers to a 7-2 mark and a share of first place in the AFC West.

Tomlinson knew the Chargers were going to be good, not taking Rivers into the equation. But now that the QB has proven the game isn't too big for him, the Chargers are planning on going deep in the playoffs.

"You knew you had a chance to be good because for one, we knew that we had a good defense, we knew that we could run the football," Tomlinson said. "The only question was would we be able to throw it successfully?

"So obviously when you lose a quarterback, you wonder how good are you going to be. Now, we knew we were going to be good still, but 7-2 after nine games, that's pretty good."

Broncos:

Broncos starting tailback Tatum Bell is still hurting, and his status for Sunday's game at San Diego is up in the air.

Bell did not participate in the team portion of practice on Thursday, the Broncos announced, an apparent setback. The Broncos announced Bell did practice Wednesday.

Bell is questionable on the injury report with two injured big toes. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan admitted earlier this week that he played Bell too much against Oakland last week when it was obvious Bell was hurting.

"It's hard," Bell said. "It's pain. I'm dealing with it. As long as I can run, I'm going to go play."

If Tatum Bell can't play, the Broncos have to figure out who will start. Damien Nash was the backup last week, but he had a fumble and is only one week removed from being on the practice squad. Mike Bell was inactive against Oakland last week, but Shanahan has offered praise for him this week and said he wasn't in the doghouse.

Tatum Bell admitted he probably won't be 100 percent all year, but he'll try to battle through it.

"I think I lost a step a little bit, but I'm getting better," Bell said.


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