Three numbers to know for Broncos-Chargers
A significant reason why the Broncos traded for Russell Wilson seven months ago was because of the stacked deck they faced regarding the other starting quarterbacks in the AFC West.
And with Justin Herbert in particular, the Broncos appear set to face him twice a year for the foreseeable future. At age 24, he’s already been a Pro Bowler and the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
But the Los Angeles Chargers with Herbert are not unbeatable. The four Broncos-Chargers meetings since he became their starter are split evenly — two wins apiece.
In the Broncos-Chargers series as a whole, the home team has five consecutive wins. However, in Herbert’s starts, a pattern has developed — which is where the numbers begin:
Interceptions thrown by Herbert in two of his four career starts against the Broncos.
Such games are increasingly rare for the third-year quarterback; he hasn’t had a multi-pick game in his last seven starts, the longest such streak of his career.
But when he does, it always means defeat. Los Angeles is winless in Herbert’s 6 career multi-pick games.
When including fumbles, Los Angeles is 1-8 when Herbert is responsible for at least two giveaways. With one turnover, the Chargers are 3-9, giving them an overall park of 4-17 when he gives it away. And remember, the Broncos entered the weekend ranked second in the NFL with nine forced fumbles.
But the Chargers are 14-2 when Herbert doesn’t turn over the football. They are also 14-2 when Herbert posts a passer rating of at least 106.0.
This set of numbers is why you shouldn’t get discouraged if the Broncos trail after three quarters. This is the Chargers’ record in Herbert’s 37 starts when they lead by one score (1 to 8 points) after three quarters. That includes three overtime losses.
The Chargers actually possess a slightly better record in winning percentage when they trail by one score after three quarters in Herbert’s starts, going 5-7.
Double digits either way has usually held up for the final score in the Herbert era. Los Angeles is 0-4 when trailing by at least two scores after four quarters in his starts, and 8-1 when leading by the same margin.
But the “1” came against Denver, when the Drew Lock-led offense rallied the Broncos back from a 24-10 deficit to a 31-30 win. The comeback came despite the fact that the Chargers scored on both of their fourth-quarter drives, marches of 46 and 60 yards. However, Denver’s defense held Los Angeles to field goals, leaving the door ajar for a rally.
Points the Broncos must score to climb out of the NFL’s bottom five in offensive points per game. Denver limps into Monday night 31st in the league in offensive points with 14.6 per contest.
Denver is dead last in average total points per game with 15.0 per game. But Carolina has fewer offensive points per outing — a meager 13.7, including just 3 on Sunday in a loss to the Rams at SoFi Stadium. Carolina has a league-leading 21 points generated by its defense and special teams via returns and safeties.
With 75 points through 5 games, the Broncos have their eighth-lowest point total at this point in the season. This is also their lowest since 2006 (62 points). Denver also had just 75 points through 5 games of the 2007 campaign.