CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The Broncos' season, once climbing upward, sits on a slippery slope. Things are happening pretty fast at Dove Valley, and the Broncos offense needs to adapt.
It strains credibility to call a Week 6 clash at Los Angeles a must-win, but the Broncos wedged themselves into a difficult spot after an embarrassing home loss. It was supposed to be a game to bank for later. Now Denver requires better road results.
The easiest fix? Stop the run, and force the Chargers to throw at cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. Philip Rivers loves taking chances. If the Broncos can cover tight ends Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry, this tilts in their favor, while also allowing Von Miller more opportunities to create havoc.
Regardless, the offense and kicker Brandon McManus require an upgrade. Their struggles have contributed to a 1-2 record over the past three weeks.
"Adversity is here. We have to deal with it," coach Vance Joseph said.
The Broncos' struggles by the numbers. Safe to say these digits are not the Broncos' winning PowerBall ticket:
6 -- Interceptions by Trevor Siemian. He admitted he would like those "10 seconds of my life back," regarding the pick-six interception to Janoris Jenkins. The reality remains sobering. The Broncos are not good enough to win when Siemian turns the ball over, reflected in his 3-5 road record.
5 -- Brandon McManus missed field goals, worst in the NFL. A month ago, McManus ranked as the most accurate kicker in team history. Now? Not so much. "I don't think I am in a funk. I just hit a couple of bad kicks. I have never let a bad kick linger. That's when you can get cracks in the door and it will break," McManus told Denver7.
17 -- Sacks allowed by the offensive line. Siemian needs time to perform. And the challenge is real this week with right tackle Donald Stephenson expected to replace ailing Menelik Watson (calf). Containing mad rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa remains a top priority.
21 -- The number of possessions between touchdowns from the first quarter of the Raiders game to the fourth quarter last Sunday. If the Broncos don't improve in the red zone -- they have fallen from 78 percent after two weeks to 45 percent now -- a replay of last season is likely.
1 -- Critical game. The Chargers have won two straight. They beat the Giants in New York, leaning on Melvin Gordon and an opportunistic defense. And yet they have failed to win a home game at the StubHub Center, where visiting fans outnumber their own in the 27,000-seat arena.