ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --In the regular season, the Broncos made it a point to start fast.
Denver outscored its opponents 130 to 64 in the first quarter, and that 66-point advantage was second only to the team's fourth-quarter advantage of 83 points throughout the year.
Don't expect that gameplan to change in the postseason.
"Our philosophy really doesn't change, no matter what kind of game it is, whether it'd be the first game of the season, the 14th, or a playoff game," Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase said. "We're going to stick with what we've been doing and just continue to try to have success as early as we can, get our guys into a rhythm and let the game play out from there."
A fast start could be especially important against the San Diego Chargers team the Broncos will face on Sunday.
The last time the division rivals squared off, the Chargers nearly doubled Denver's time-of-possession en route to a 27-20 win.
So getting up early against a ball-control offense could help the Broncos' cause.
"We kind of headed that direction the second time we played them, where we got the quick seven and then we stalled in the red area and took three instead," Gase recalled. "It would have been nice to get 14 right there and to see what kind of pressure we would have put on them because we would have had a little better lead there. But obviously, anytime you can get up on a team that is a ball-control team, it puts a little more pressure on them to have to possibly do something they don't like to do."
Preparing for Pagano
Last week in the Wild Card Round of the AFC playoffs, the Chargers defense rattled Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton throughout a 27-10 San Diego win.
Dalton was sacked three times, hit five times and intercepted twice. The Chargers defense added six passes defensed and a forced fumble to their impressive stat line.
Gase said it's tough preparing against a San Diego unit led by Defensive Coordinator John Pagano.
"He does a good job of mixing his pressures – who is coming. He brings everybody," Gase said. "And then just the front movement. Sometimes you think you're getting pressure and then all of a sudden everybody drops out. He does a really good job of making sure that you're on it and then you constantly are challenged throughout the game."
The last time the Broncos and Chargers squared off, the San Diego defense hit quarterback Peyton Manning twice and sacked him once.
Gase said it will be important to be prepared to go against a defense that mixes up its pass rushes so often.
"Pagano does a great job as far as using the guys that he has – with [linebacker Melvin] Ingram back, obviously that causes a different dimension as far as a problem," Gase said. "He does a great job of mixing it up. It is not an easy scheme to play against and he does a very good job of keeping you off balance."