Russell Wilson and the Broncos look to bounce back from their Week 5 Thursday night loss to the Raiders against another division rival. Stick here for live updates and analysis as Denver takes on the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
Scouting report (3 p.m.): How do the Broncos match up against the Chargers? Check out beat writer Kyle Newman’s scouting report.
Mark Kiszla, columnist: Broncos 24, Chargers 23
Desperate times call for DespeRuss. Broncos general manager George Paton made a blockbuster trade for Russell Wilson to beat division rivals like the Raiders and Chargers on the road. While Wilson ain’t the QB he used to be, I don’t think he’s washed up. Some smart football analysts, however, strongly disagree with me. If those analysts are correct, Paton is going to hear some tough questions from the crazy-rich Waltons.
Kyle Newman, beat writer: Chargers 21, Broncos 13
This is the defeat that sends the Broncos into a spiral. Russell Wilson has another tough game, raising questions about how much his lat injury is affecting his accuracy. And Justin Herbert and the Chargers, though not explosive, get enough big plays to win the field position battle. Austin Ekeler’s touchdown catch with a few minutes to go ices the game.
Parker Gabriel, beat writer: Chargers 27, Broncos 20
Denver’s first two division games of the season are on the road, which is a tough task but wouldn’t feel as onerous had the team not also lost to Seattle and Indianapolis (at home no less). The Broncos can’t afford to dig much deeper a hole, but they’re also facing a Los Angeles group that’s starting to find its footing offensively and has scored 30-plus back-to-back weeks. The digging continues another week at least for the Broncos.
Sean Keeler, columnist: Chargers 27, Broncos 20
Unless they’re plus-2 or better in the turnover battle, it’ll probably take at least 27 points for the Broncos to beat the Bolts on the road. At the rate they’re going, it’ll take two or three games for Nathaniel Hackett’s offense to hit 27 with a straight face.
Broncos-Chargers NFL Week 6: Must reads
Can Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense bounce back from start that has looked “really, really bad”?
The preponderance of evidence through five games of the Wilson era in Denver is problematic rather than promising.
Broncos fans, talking heads and anybody who tuned in to Amazon Prime to watch the disaster against the Colts find themselves wondering not whether this team will compete for home playoff games but rather, what the heck is wrong with the offense? Is it Wilson? Is it his shoulder injury? Is age starting to show through after a decade in the league? Does Wilson have the talent around him he thought he did when he arrived in Denver? Is it as simple as an offense working its way through the tough part of a steep learning curve?
The consensus: A little bit of a lot of issues are dragging down the Broncos. Denver is 31st in scoring offense at 15 points per game. Wilson played the first four games to a solid but not elite quarterback rating of 91.1 but is down to a career-low 82.8 after a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions opened the Empower Field escape hatch for the Colts. Read more… — Parker Gabriel
Keeler: Broncos QB Russell Wilson needs to stop trying to win Internet and start trying to win AFC West, Warren Moon says. “I feel bad for him. But he brings some of it on himself.”
If you have an app, there’s a good chance Russell Wilson’s spent at least some of the past five weeks absolutely faceplanting on it. ESPN. Amazon. Twitter. TikTok. Instagram. Cripes, even when Warren Moon wants to look away, which is often, he … just … can’t.
“He’s been trolled a lot,” the Hall-of-Fame quarterback told me last week when the discussion turned to the Broncos’ franchise quarterback. “Man, I feel bad for him. But he brings some of it on himself.”
Moon’s been there. He transitioned from Houston to Minnesota late in his career, at age 37, after six Pro Bowl berths with the Oilers. The former Washington Huskies great would go on to notch three more Pro Bowl nods — two with the Vikings and one more, at age 41, with the Seattle Seahawks. From the CFL to Canton, Moon’s living proof that quarterback tales can have happy second chapters. Or happy thirds. Or happy fourths. Read more… — Sean Keeler
Broncos’ Nathaniel Hackett, Chargers’ Brandon Staley “cherish” jobs that have already brought heat
Head coaches in the NFL get scrutinized by everybody. Their bosses, fans, even their own players. When Chargers head coach Brandon Staley went for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 46-yard line nursing a two-point lead with 1 minute, 46 seconds, remaining last week, and failed, injured wide receiver Keenan Allen later tweeted, “WTF are we doing,” in a since-deleted message.
It took first-year Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett, oh, about 59 game minutes and some change into his tenure to experience the same pressure-cooker in Seattle when he opted for a 64-yard field goal attempt rather than leaving Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense on the field for a fourth-and-5 with 20 seconds remaining.
The next day, he acknowledged that he “definitely” should have gone for it rather than try the low-percentage kick attempt.
The biggest difference between Staley and Hackett’s calls in those particular moments: The Chargers ended up winning and the Broncos ended up losing. Read more… — Parker Gabriel