This is a great time of year to be thankful for what we have, where we have been, and what the future holds. Although the Chargers have lost their way a bit in recent years, the month of December still holds such incredible promise! This advent calendar is an attempt to hearken back to these days of December joy. Each day will bring a new advent from the Bolts’ history that makes it wonderful to be a Chargers fan.
Dec. 19: A History of Chargers Vs. Broncos
One of the more underrated rivalries in the NFL, the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers have been both at the highest and lowest part of the totem pole throughout their 58 year battle. Back in 1960 when the Bolts actually were still members of the City of Angels sporting unit before moving just 127 miles south, the pair met in the Rocky Mountains to settle the score.
Los Angeles came out victorious in that bout, 23-19.
Two years later following the relocation, the teams have met on the gridiron a total of 118 times. Sad truth but thanks to the rough stint in the 1970’s and late 1980’s, Denver has had the upper hand. That still is somewhat the case today as in the past 10 matchups, Denver has taken home eight.
Pretty much a playoff killer in recent seasons, Denver’s ability to pressure the quarterback and keep the offense off the field has helped keep the Bolts out of any playoff picture since 2013. Granted while the 2016 NFL season could be considered a bust overall, Los Angeles was just a win away last season from making the postseason.
An early loss to Trevor (really, like really) Siemian cost the Bolts their chance to make up ground in the AFC West battle. Plain and simple, throughout the Chargers’ entire history, the Broncos have been to make them look like the little brothers of the division even though we all know that’s not even close to being true.
First meeting: October 16, 1960 - Los Angeles Chargers 23, Denver Broncos 19
Next meeting: December 30, 2018
VITAL STATS: Meetings total 118 (including the playoffs)
- All-time series The Broncos lead 66–51–1 (including the playoffs)
- Postseason results: The Broncos lead 1–0 (Broncos 24, Chargers 17)
- Largest victory Chargers: 58-20 (1963); Broncos: 38-3 (1997)
- Longest win streak Chargers: 6 (1963–1966); Chiefs: 7 (1975–1978)
- Current win streak Broncos: Just one (2018)
Let’s look at the positives in all this nonsense. For starters, the win ratio is pretty close overall with Denver holding a 15 game lead over Los Angeles. Second, the 1963 Chargers showed Denver they were in charge and have never been the true little brother.
Now the negatives of the whole thing. One, Denver holds the lead and it will take several years of consistent winning for the Bolts to take control of the series. Second, the Broncos have nothing to play for while Los Angeles could rest their starters Week 17 if they don’t clinch the West and a bye week.
Let’s take a look by decade to make everyone feel slightly better.
1960s (Chargers 15-5)
1970s (Broncos 13-6-1)
1980s (Broncos 12-8)
1990s (Broncos 13-7)
2000s (Broncos 11–9)
2010s (Broncos 12–6)
So that might not make you feel any better heading into a near New Years matchup but hey, the Bolts are heading to January football no matter what while the Broncos are in a loophole of issues with their upper management and on offense.
The Bolts however are coming in on a strong note with a chance to take the AFC West title away from Kansas City after their miraculous come from behind victory while Denver just fell to Baker Mayfield and the surprisingly red hot Cleveland Browns last weekend. Anything is possible but with the way Los Angeles is looking with their health and stellar defense, it’ll be hard to slow down the Bolts inside of Broncos Stadium at Mile High.
So don’t be a Grinch by looking at the past, be nice, not naughty and look at the positives the Chargers have brought to the table this season.