The San Diego Chargers kicked off their divisional matchup against the Denver Broncos with dreams of a mid-season upset on their minds. The frustrating part for them will be realizing that they had every opportunity to hand Denver their second loss. The Chargers had chances to put up points but failed to capitalize when they got into the red zone early in the game.
The Broncos are hard enough to beat, but the only way you’re going to outscore Peyton Manning and the high-flying Denver offense is if you put up touchdowns, not field goals. San Diego found themselves in position to do just that four times in the game but only came away with seven points twice. Both first-half red zone trips turned into only six points, and that kind of red zone success just won’t cut it against the better teams in the NFL.
The Chargers have their sights set on grabbing a spot in the playoffs, but they won’t get there if they can’t figure out a way to have more success inside their opponents’ 20-yard line. The Chargers’ lack of receivers is a major problem when they get in the tight spaces down near the goal line. Most teams don’t have the offense to consistently run the ball in the red zone, but the good teams have playmakers on the outside that can get touchdowns.
Red-zone efficiency becomes even more important when the games get closer and the competition gets tougher late in the season. If the Chargers don’t find a way to manufacture points in the red zone they’re going to find it difficult to beat the better teams in the league down the stretch.