Philip Rivers, Chargers' offense shaky in win; rematch with Ravens looms

DENVER -- Mired in a late-season malaise, the Los Angeles Chargers need Philip Rivers to get going.

Rivers threw an interception on his team's opening possession for a third straight game. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the last quarterback to do that was Josh Freeman in 2009.

After throwing just six interceptions in his first 13 games, Rivers has six in his past three.

The 37-year-old signal-caller finished 14-of-24 for a season-low 176 passing yards on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams and two interceptions.

"It's not as good as we want to play," Rivers said about his team's struggles on offense. "But I don't see any pattern. It hasn't been as good, but I think if you look at our collective body of work this year, it's been good enough to win 12 games."

Though Rivers and Chargers' offense struggled, the defense scored a touchdown on an 18-yard fumble return by linebacker Kyle Emanuel and forced four turnovers, as the Bolts escaped Broncos Stadium at Mile High with a 23-9 win to finish the season 12-4.

The Chargers earned their first win in Denver since December 2013.

With the victory, the Bolts advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2013; it's also the Chargers' best record during the regular season since 2009, when they finished 13-3.

"It means a lot," Chargers running back Melvin Gordon said about reaching the playoffs for the first time as a pro. "It's something I haven't been a part of, so I'm excited. We won four (in 2015) and then last year we won nine. Before that though, it was tough sledding around here, so we're trending up, which is good."

With the Kansas City Chiefs easily dispatching of the Oakland Raiders at home on Sunday -- claiming the AFC West division title and No. 1 seed in the AFC postseason -- the Chargers earned the No. 5 seed and a trip to Baltimore.

Now, the Chargers have to figure out how to get things going in a rematch with the Ravens on the road next week in the opening round of the AFC playoffs.

The Chargers lost to the Ravens 22-10 in Week 16 at the StubHub Center in what was the Bolts' lowest scoring output on offense this season.

"Round two -- that's all I can say about that," Chargers defensive back Desmond King said. "It's round two and we have to get ready to play."

The Chargers will be playing the Ravens in the postseason for the first time, and the Bolts are 5-7 all-time against them.