That's What They Said: San Diego Chargers

  1. Division games are always a challenge

Quarterback Philip Rivers:  “It works both ways, right? It’s not like we know them better than they know us. And this defense, I’ll tell you what, they don’t really care if you know what they’re doing. I think there’s something to be said for that: ‘Here’s where we’re going to be and here’s what we’re playing, and we don’t care if you know what we’re doing, we’re better.’ That’s the way they play, and it’s proven to be true most of the time. They won the whole thing last year and the way they’ve also [been] just directly against us, they’ve certainly won more than we have. We had them right there at

20-20 last year with six minutes left in the game when they were fighting for the No. 1 seen and we barely could put 46 guys in a jersey. And we had them right there 20-20. We expect it to be a heck of a game and we definitely need to win a football game. I think that goes without saying both because we’re 1-4 and because of the way we’ve lost has kind of compounded the frustration and the way we all feel and how badly we need to get a win.”

2. The Chargers are thinking of Head Coach Gary Kubiak

*Head Coach Mike McCoy: *“I wish him a speedy recovery. I don’t know a whole lot about all the details of it and everything, just from what people have told me. But a great man, so I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.”

Rivers:  “I obviously wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully he’s back healthy. Seems to be -- reports are good -- that he’ll be back ready to roll next week. We fully expect, hey, Coach Kubiak’s a heck of a coach, but obviously they’ve got a heck of a staff there, as well. Fully expect them to be ready and well-prepared on all three phases. It doesn’t change our approach or preparation at all. But certainly hope he gets well in a hurry.”

3. San Diego is searching for a way to avoid close losses

*McCoy: *“Well there’s a number of different reasons why you lose games. As the competitive balance in this league shows up week in and week out, when the game’s on the line you’ve got to be at your best and make plays and do things the right way or somewhere earlier in the game we have an opportunity to make that play and put that team away. You’ve got to do it. We’ve lost a lot of close ones and it’s been that way. There’s a number of one-score games this year also. We’ve got to just find a way week in and week out to make those plays.”

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Rivers:**  “Kansas City, we’re up 17 and just neither side – we couldn’t sustain a drive. We had three bad special teams series in a row and our defense couldn’t get a stop. All three phases had a chance there in the last 10 minutes. We didn’t turn it over in the last 10 minutes. We didn’t do anything crazy. But [none] of the three phases made a play. The Colts game, we lost. I’m not going to rehash every game. You’re not going to win every game, odds are. And then New Orleans, the game’s essentially all but over with 6:50 left, up 13. They punted on fourth and 8. And we fumbled on two consecutive plays and then had a terrible series there once we went down one. It’s pretty obvious, and then in the Oakland game, shoot, we fought back. We had four turnovers, though, but we fought back. It’s a shame. We had two games that really should’ve been locked up. You look around the league, I guess I saw a stat [that] there’s 25 teams that had a 13- or 10-plus point lead in the fourth quarter, and they were 25-0 and we were 0-2 in those games. I guess Jacksonville we won, but we lost two in that situation. Oakland I guess you can’t say for sure what would’ve happened had we made the field goal. Who knows? We may not have own that one, but two of them we gave away. We spent more time leading games than any team in the league. We know that we’re capable, but again, it’s about winning and we haven’t done that. So we’ve just got to keep plugging and hopefully it’ll turn Thursday.”

4. Injuries have taken a toll

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Rivers:**  “You certainly said it, but Danny [Woodhead] and Keenan [Allen], Keenan was on pace last year to catch 120-something balls. He was definitely going to have at least 100 this year based on the way he started in Kansas City. Danny ended up our leading pass catcher last year with 80 balls, so you’re talking about guys who are going to catch 170, let’s call it 150, passes this season that aren’t out there with us. We lost them Week 1 and Week 2. So there’s no question that makes it a challenge, but it certainly gives opportunity for guys to step up. And I couldn’t be more thankful that we have guys here that are capabale and really excited about the way Dontrelle Inman, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Henry have really stepped up filling the void. Collectively as a group, trying to still allow us to go and score and do what we need to do offensively. Obviously goes without saying Antonio Gates, Melvin Gordon’s running it better and obviously the guys up front. It’s a group effort, and I think, again, some of these things we can’t really – and we shouldn’t – get any credit for because it’s about winning. But we’re scoring almost 30 points a game with all that you mentioned and all that we’ve dealt with. We’ve really done a lot of good things, we’ve just got to find a way to win a football game. Then we’ll worry about two after we win one. But we’ve got to get one first.”

5. The Broncos defense is impressive, and Rivers likes to talk to them

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McCoy:** “It’s one of the best in the business and a lot of depth, a lot of guys play at all positions. [Defensive Coordinator] Wade [Phillips]’s done a phenomenal job wherever he’s been. Von Miller’s the premier pass rusher in the league. A lot of other guys on the team that do great things.”

Rivers: "I don’t even call it trash talk. I guess it’s just kind of a competitive banter. There’s really not much of it. It’s very scarce throughout the game, really. I’ve played a lot of games against Chris Harris and Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware – even his time in Dallas – and all these guys, Brandon Marshall. Shoot, there’s been a lot of games – [Derek] Wolfe. I have a great deal of respect for that defense, a great deal of respect for [Defensive Coordinator] Wade Phillips and the job he does for them. Shoot, we’re out there trying to beat the other team so there’s times where you get aggravated and things look like they’re fierce out there. And from a certain standpoint, it is the way those guys rush the passers and come after you. It’s all in good competition, fighting for a win. That’s what we’re doing at the highest level and when it’s all said and done, shoot, I have a great deal of respect for a lot of those guys.”

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