Barnwell: Chargers D has improved on first downs

Everything you need to know (and more) about 49ers-Panthers and Chargers-Broncos

Through the end of November, San Diego allowed opposing offenses an average of 7.2 yards per play on first down. That’s terrifying: The league average is just 5.4 yards per first-down play. They were more than a half-yard worse than the league’s second-worst defense over that time frame (Dallas). A league-high 29.7 percent of plays on first down against the Chargers gained 10 yards or more. But from Week 13 on, the Chargers basically retreated to league average, allowing 5.3 yards per play on first down. It was a December miracle.

We already knew the Chargers did well to keep Denver off schedule in Week 15, but the Broncos were apparently not their only victims.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM