SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)—In a big upset on Thursday night, the San Diego Chargers served up an unexpected defeat to the Broncos, in their own house, holding onto the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game in a 27-20 win.

So was Madden surprised?

“San Diego is probably the best team that’s not in the playoffs that could beat any team that is in the playoffs. They’re starting to play well now, as you could see last night, and they’re probably starting to peak, and you want to peak at the end of the season but you want to put yourself in a position that you’re peaking for the playoffs—not the off-season,” said Madden.

Philip Rivers is now 6-2 in his eight starts in Denver.

“Philip Rivers is a guy that can light you up on any game; he’s capable, in any game, of throwing five touchdowns passes but he doesn’t do it week after week. And to be honest, he’s hasn’t had a good supporting cast,” Madden said.

“There was a while there when they were losing players—good players—and not replacing them with good players. The franchise just kept going down and Philip Rivers was the one constant but didn’t have a lot of help around him.”

So will Denver’s loss on Thursday have an adverse effect on their momentum, especially this late in the season?

Madden said he doesn’t think so.

“I think they were tired. Thursday Night Football is tough and a short week is tough and the older you get and the longer you’ve been playing—I’m probably thinking of Peyton Manning here—the tougher it is to bounce back in a couple of days. And the later it is in the season, the more difficult it is,” he said. “On a short week, they didn’t look like they were ready to play.”

In other news, Chicago’s Jay Cutler is returning to his position as starting quarterback in the Bear’s next game versus the Cleveland Browns.

Many people think that is a mistake just because Josh McCown has been playing incredibly well. There are huge games coming up; the Bears need to finish up ahead of Detroit in the division and make the playoffs.

“I can see both sides. I can see that Jay Cutler is your quarterback and when he’s healthy, you play your best guy, but with McCown playing so well, why change a good thing now? Why not give Jay Cutler another week?” Madden said.

“When things are going well—‘Let’s let it heal another week!’ and then when things aren’t going well—‘Oh no, he’s okay, we can get him back.’”

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM. And catch John’s extra report at 9:15 am Mondays and Fridays on KCBS during the NFL season.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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