Preview: Bills vs Chargers

  • Welcome to America's Finest Sports Forum and Podcast! is one of the largest online communities covering San Diego sports. We host a regular podcast during the major seasons. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Sign Up or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!


#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

By Scott Yoffe

It’s Alumni Day at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 20 when the Chargers host the Buffalo Bills. Kickoff is at 1:15 p.m. PST.

No alum has produced more for the Chargers than Lance Alworth, who will be honored during a special halftime ceremony at which the Chargers will retire jersey number 19. More than 50 Chargers Alumni will be on hand to take part in the special ceremony, which will take place on the field.

Alworth, whose Hall of Fame career spanned 11 seasons, recorded 542 receptions for 10,266 yards and 87 touchdowns. His number 19 will now join Dan Fouts’ number 14 as the only two retired numbers in franchise history. The two numbers will hang side-by-side in the stadium’s upper ring.

Coincidentally, current Chargers wide receiver Keenan McCardell comes into the game needing only 35 yards to overtake Alworth for 21st place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yardage list.

The 5-4 Chargers should be well rested when they take the field against the 4-5 Bills. The Bolts come into the game off their bye week to face a Bills team that defeated Kansas City, 14-3, last Sunday in Orchard Park, New York. It is the Bolts’ third game this season against a team from New York and the Chargers are looking to make a clean sweep of The Empire State, having already defeated the Giants (45-23) and Jets (31-26). It will be a nice change of pace for the Bolts, who in their last five games faced four teams that were coming off byes and a fifth (Kansas City) that had two extra days to prepare for the game due to last month’s Hurricane Wilma that hit South Florida.

CBS Sports will televise the game live with Gus Johnson and former Bills wide receiver Steve Tasker in the broadcast booth and Scott Kaplan reporting from the sidelines.

Bolts run defense leads the league

The Chargers boast the NFL’s top-ranked rushing defense. The unit is allowing only 79.6 yards per game. The Chargers have held two teams, Oakland (39) and Philadelphia (24) to less than 40 yards on the ground. In the last four games, opponents are averaging only 61.8 yards per game on the ground against the Chargers defense.

It doesn’t get any easier

The NFL’s schedule maker has been anything but kind to the Bolts in 2005. In the course of the first nine games, the Chargers faced five teams which are currently leading or tied for the lead in their divisions, four teams that were in the playoffs last season and both teams that played in Super Bowl XXXIX. The cumulative winning percentage for the Chargers’ first nine opponents is .556 (45-36).

The schedule doesn’t get any easier in the second half of the season. Two of the Bolts’ remaining seven games are against teams that are leading their divisions, Indianapolis and Denver, both of whom were also playoff participants last season. The cumulative winning percentage of the Bolts’ next seven opponents is .571 (36-27).

Bolts look to avoid injury bug

The Chargers are hoping to avoid the injury bug down the stretch. In the first nine games, nine different starters missed a total of 17 games. They include cornerback Drayton Florence (three games), linebackers Steve Foley (two) and Randall Godfrey (one), center Nick Hardwick (three), tackles Roman Oben (one) and Shane Olivea (one), safety Terrence Kiel (one), defensive tackle Igor Olshansky (one) and guard Toniu Fonoti (four – before he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings). Last season, the starters on the offensive line missed a total of two games.

Sack attack

San Diego’s defense has 27 sacks this season, just two shy of its entire total in 2004. Rookie Shawne Merriman and second-year man Shaun Phillips are leading the way with five and four sacks, respectively. More players are getting into the act this year as 15 different players have at least half a sack, the most since 1998. The Chargers are on pace for 48 sacks this season, a total that hasn’t been reached in San Diego since the 1992 squad racked up 51 sacks.

Defense buckles down with backs against the wall

Nineteen times this season, opponents have started drives inside Chargers’ territory. In these instances, San Diego’s defense has buckled down, allowing only seven touchdowns and three field goals, a .316 touchdown percentage. Two drives which began in Chargers territory have ended on missed field goals, two on interceptions, two on downs, one on a fumble, one on a punt and one ended when time expired at the end of the half.

The Chargers have only allowed one touchdown in the last 11 drives that began in their end of the field. The New York Jets scored that touchdown in the Chargers’ last game at The Meadowlands on Nov. 6.

San Diego’s offense has begun nine drives in their opponent’s territory, three ending in touchdowns and two ending in field goals, a .333 touchdown percentage. Two other drives ended on punts, one ended on downs and one ended on a blocked field goal.

Red zone defense buckles down

The Chargers may rank 22nd in the NFL in “Red Zone” defense, but lately the Bolts have put the screws to their opponents inside the 20-yard line. During the team’s two-game wining streak, the Bolts have only allowed five touchdowns in 12 trips inside the “Red Zone,” a .417 touchdown percentage. Of the other seven trips opponents have made inside the 20-yard line in the last two games, four ended in field goals, one on a fumble and two on downs.

Percentage-wise, the Chargers best game in terms of “Red Zone” defense was against Kansas City on Oct. 30 when the Bolts held the Chiefs to two touchdowns and two field goals on six trips inside the 20, with one other drive ending on a fumble and the sixth ending on downs.

The head coaches

Marty Schottenheimer will face the Buffalo Bills for the 13th time in his career on Sunday. He is 7-5 against Buffalo, though he has never faced Bills Head Coach Mike Mularkey. Schottenheimer faced the Bills one time as San Diego’s head coach, dropping a 20-13 decision at Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2002.

With 182 career wins, Schottenheimer is the NFL’s winningest active coach. He is the eighth-winningest coach of all-time and he needs just four more wins to move into a tie with Chuck Knox (186 wins) for seventh place on the all-time list.

Chargers-Bills connections

* Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith spent 14 seasons with the Bills, serving as Director of Pro Personnel (1993-2000), Assistant Director of College Scouting (1989-1992) and he also worked as an area scout (1987-88)… Assistant General Manager – Director of Player Personnel Buddy Nix was also an area scout with the Bills from 1993-2000.
* Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer was a seventh-round draft choice of the Bills in 1965… he played four seasons at linebacker in Buffalo and was a member of the 1965 Bills team that defeated the Chargers 23-0 to win the AFL Championship.
* Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was the Bills’ head coach and vice president of football operations from 1998-2000… during his three seasons as head coach, the Bills went 29-19 and qualified for the playoffs following the ’98 and ’99 seasons… Phillips also coordinated the Bills’ defense from 1995-97… wide receivers coach James Lofton spent four seasons (1989-92) of his Hall of Fame Career with the Bills… he caught 151 passes and 21 touchdowns, and played in three Super Bowls with the Bills… offensive line coach Carl Mauck held the same post with the Bills from 1998-2000… assistant director of pro scouting Dennis Abraham spent five years in the Bills’ personnel department… Abraham is a native of Akron, New York… college scout Mike Biehl also spent three seasons in Buffalo’s personnel department and resides in Lancaster, N.Y…. college scout Tom Gibbons resides in Hamburg, N.Y. and served as both a college (1995-2001) and pro scout (2002-04) with the Bills.
* Chargers assistant linebackers – quality control coach John Pagano and Bills special teams coordinator Bobby April coached together with the New Orleans Saints from 1996-97… April also coached at the University of Southern California from 1987-90… Bills defensive line coach Tim Krumrie worked with Chargers linebacker Steve Foley when the two were with the Cincinnati Bengals… Chargers guard Mike Goff also worked with Krumrie as well as Bills offensive line coach Frank Verducci in Cincinnati… Bills defensive assistant Chuck Lester worked under Phillips in Buffalo… Chargers offensive tackle Roman Oben was instructed by Bills offensive line coach Jim McNally when the two were with the New York Giants in 1999… Bills strength and conditioning coach Brad Roll held a similar position with the Miami Dolphins from 1996-2003 where he worked with Jerry Wilson, A.J. Feeley and Jamar Fletcher… Bills defensive backs coach Steve Szabo coached Jacksonville’s linebackers when Chargers director of pro scouting Fran Foley held a similar position with the Jaguars and wide receiver Keenan McCardell and offensive tackle Leander Jordan played for the Jags… Bills quarterbacks coach Sam Wyche was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995 when the club used a fourth-round selection to draft Chargers safety Jerry Wilson… Chargers special teams coach Steve Crosby, then serving as Vanderbilt’s offensive coordinator, recruited Bills guard Justin Geisinger to play for the Commodores.
* Chargers Director of Stadium/Game Operations and Special Events Sean O’Connor was born in Buffalo and attended St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.
* Bills offensive lineman Duke Preston is the son of former Chargers linebacker Ray Preston.
* Chargers offensive tackle Roman Oben was a teammate of Bills tight end Mark Campbell with the Cleveland Browns from 2000-01… Oben also played with Bills quarterback Kelly Holcomb on the Browns’ 2001 squad.
* Bills guard Greg Jerman played with Chargers quarterback A.J. Feeley (2004) and cornerback Jamar Fletcher (2002-03) as members of the Miami Dolphins.
* Bills linebacker Jeff Posey and Chargers linebacker Steve Foley were teammates with the Houston Texans in 2002.
* Chargers safety Clinton Hart and Bills safety Troy Vincent both played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003.
* The following players were college teammates: Chargers offensive tackle Shane Olivea and linebacker Matt Wilhelm with Bills defensive tackle Tim Anderson and cornerback Nate Clements at Ohio State… Chargers wide receiver Eric Parker with Bills safety Rashad Baker and cornerback Jabari Greer at Tennessee… Chargers cornerback Jamar Fletcher with Bills wide receiver Lee Evans at and long snapper Mike Schneck at Wisconsin…Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo with Bills linebacker Liam Ezekiel at Northwestern…Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson with Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel at TCU… Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer with Bills offensive lineman Mike Williams at Texas.
* The following Bills players are California natives: defensive tackle Justin Bannan (Orangerale, California and Bella Vista High School), quarterback JP Losman (Venice, CA and Venice HS), tight end Ryan Neufeld (Morgan Hill, CA and Live Oak HS) and fullback Daimon Shelton (Duarte, CA and Duarte HS).
* Three Bills players attended college in California: tight end Ryan Neufeld went to UCLA, fullback Daimon Shelton played at Sacramento State and safety Coy Wire was a Stanford Cardinal.

Chargers-Bills series history

The Chargers and Buffalo Bills, two members of the original AFL, will meet for the 33rd time this Sunday. The Chargers have won the last three games between the teams in San Diego and are 12-6-1 all-time at home against Buffalo, including a 1980 AFC Divisional Playoff game. The teams have not played in San Diego since 2001, a game won by the Chargers, 27-24. Here’s a look at the all time series results.