Chargers look to stun Broncos and extend Cinderella run

Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:59pm EST
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(Reuters) - The San Diego Chargers hope to extend their Cinderella run on Sunday when a rejuvenated Philip Rivers leads his team in an AFC divisional playoff against Peyton Manning and the Super Bowl favorite Denver Broncos.

After a first-round bye the top-seeded Broncos (13-3) join the playoff mix led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Manning, who is fresh off setting single-season records for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55).

Denver's explosive offense scored a record 606 points in 16 regular season games, 161 points ahead the next closest pursuer.

"All the records and all the stats go out the window," said Denver head coach John Fox. "It's a whole new season.

"The key is playing the best football during the playoffs. It's a single-elimination tournament, so you can't have a bad day.

"You have to be on your game from beginning to end."

Both the Chargers and host Broncos will enter new territory on Sunday, the two teams having faced one another 108 times but never in the post-season.

But certainly San Diego head coach Mike McCoy is aware of the challenge his team faces in slowing down Manning and the Broncos high-octane attack having worked as Denver's offensive coordinator for four seasons before joining the Chargers.

Manning will operate with an arsenal of weapons that allow him to attack San Diego's 29th-ranked defense from every angle. During the regular season only Minnesota, Philadelphia and Dallas allowed more yards per game.   Continued...

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) celebrates with fans after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 27-10 to win AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports