Following a tough loss at home, the Bears (2-5) hit the road to take on the San Diego Chargers (2-6). Here's a breakdown of Chicago's Week 9 opponent:
What's new: The Chargers lineup has more rotating doors than a hotel lobby. Because of injuries and poor play, coach Mike McCoy has been forced to change personnel on a regular basis. San Diego has 10 players on its injured reserve list, one with the "designated to return" status. The offensive line has been especially turbulent, as at four of the five spots up-front, the Chargers have started two or more players this season. Not surprisingly, the team ranks 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per play at 3.6.
What's old: About the only position where the Chargers haven't been hit by injury is with their best and most durable player. Quarterback Philip Rivers, who has started 152 consecutive games, is still putting up strong numbers, despite the crumbling pieces around him. Rivers has thrown 18 touchdowns and averages 7.9 yards per pass, both of which rank among the best in the NFL.
Last time out: The Chargers flew all the way across the country to Baltimore only to lose in heartbreaking fashion, falling 29-26 because of a 39-yard field goal from Justin Tucker with no time remaining. Rivers threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns, completing passes to 10 different players. However, as always, injuries took a toll on the Chargers depth, and San Diego could not stop Baltimore's offense when they needed to most.
Series history: It has been four years since the Bears and Chargers last met. On Nov. 20, 2011 at Soldier Field, Chicago won 31-20 behind 286 passing yards and two TDs from Jay Cutler. The win broke an all-time tie between the two teams in the series history, as the Bears now are 6-5 versus the Chargers, dating back to the first meeting in 1970.
Injury report: On Monday, the Chargers added three players to their injured reserve list. That included their top wide receiver, Keenan Allen, who ranks third in the NFL with 725 receiving yards. Allen suffered a lacerated kidney in the loss to Baltimore and had to undergo surgery. Safety Eric Weddle and linebacker Manti Te'o, who are tied for the team lead in tackles, both missed the Week 8 contest because of injuries.
Schemes and tendencies: Few players in NFL history have caused more matchup nightmares than tight end Antonio Gates. The former college basketball star stands 6-foot-4 with terrific speed, as well as a body to outmuscle opponents. The eight-time Pro Bowler has played in just three games this season because of suspensions and injuries, but he's still Rivers' favorite red zone target. Gates has scored 101 career touchdowns – the most of any active player in the NFL – and 77 have come from inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Did you know: Playing away from home on "Monday Night Football" has treated the Bears well lately. In five of the last seven Monday night tilts the Bears have played in away from Soldier Field, the team has returned to Chicago a winner. However, the Bears have only faced the Chargers once under the lights, and that game did not go so well. On Dec. 3, 1984, at what was then called Jack Murphy Stadium (it's the same place where this Monday's game will be played, just with a different name), the Chargers won 20-7, thanks to an 88-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to wide receiver Bobby Duckworth.