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Three Keys to Broncos-Chargers

SAN DIEGO --Perhaps nothing has come to symbolize the Broncos' run of success the last five years more than their league-record 15-game winning streak in road division games.

It included the greatest comeback in franchise history, a rally from a 24-0 deficit in 2012 in San Diego that matched the rally against Seattle in 1979. It included an improbable overtime win against the Chargers on Thanksgiving weekend in 2011, as well as games won or saved by defensive touchdowns against the Chiefs and Raiders last year.

During the course of the streak, the Broncos evolved and evolved again, from a team reliant upon a madcap, running quarterback with a sub-50-percent completion percentage to one that leaned on of the most surgical -- and perhaps best -- quarterbacks in NFL history, to the current iteration that is carried by its pressure-intensive defense.

Coaches, quarterbacks and tactics have changed. The results have remained the same.

Now, with a new quarterback and interim head coach Joe DeCamillis, the Broncos head to San Diego on Thursday night hoping to extend their league-record streak.

"I just try to really not think about it, let you guys jinx us or something," said outside linebacker Von Miller, one of the few players still with the team from when it began at Oakland in 2011. "I just really try not to think about it. It's tough when you look at the teams that we play and the type of places that we go.

It's tough to win in those spots. Somehow, we've been able to do it. I don't want to put too much thought into it."

And it's wise, because even though the streak is a point of pride, it's also one that doesn't have a great deal of common threads. No matter who starts at quarterback Thursday, he is the Broncos' fifth starting quarterback since the start of the 2011 season, the year when the streak began. Further, interim head coach Joe DeCamillis will be the fourth coach to lead the Broncos in a road division game since the 2013 season, joining John Fox, Jack Del Rio and Gary Kubiak.

What are the keys to continuing that streak?



Rivers has been sacked 11 times in 183 pass plays this year, giving the Chargers a league-average rate in terms of sacks allowed. But the Broncos have had success getting to Rivers and forcing errant throws, none moreso than Von Miller, who has sacked Rivers 11 times in 10 career games against him.


And that starts with being able to run the football, which the Broncos hope will be easier with Donald Stephenson and Virgil Green, both of whom saw full practice workloads this week.

As Kubiak said Oct. 6:

"If we're able to run the ball, it makes us a good football team on Sunday. I think we've proven that we can throw it around a bit. We have a couple of really good players making plays for us, but we need to be more consistent running the ball."


Just as takeaways have been a reason why the Broncos have won, giveaways have helped doom the Chargers, especially this season. They are 0-3 with a negative turnover margin, and 1-10 in their last 11 games with more giveaways than their opponent.

San Diego has allowed 20 points following drives that ended in turnovers the last two weeks.

A look at a few of the matchups that could decide Sunday's rematch between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos. (Photos by AP)

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