Monthly Archives: December 2013
Another year has come to an end. This has been a fun year for me and a significant part of it has been because of you, my dear readers. This year saw the inception of Boltblitz and I am very thankful to the founder of Boltblitz, Dave ‘BoogaP’ Peters for being his first pick to come join him on this new venture. The Chargers are our passion above all things in sports and most things in life in general, which is why we make such a great duo. Boltblitz is just getting started and I treasure all the friendships that have emerged from the cast of characters that compose our writing team.
You have endured my novellas all year-long and have left great comments, mostly positive, some negative. The important thing is you took time to read it and in spite of whether you agree with me or not, you were moved enough to respond. Don’t expect to see any quick hitter pieces from this columnist, except maybe this one. Like Treebeard said during Lord Of The Rings, “It takes a long time to say anything in all Ent-ish, and we don’t say anything unless it bears taking a Long. Time. To. Say.” Consider my columns GregOne-ese. The human version of Ent-ish. I have a lot to say about the Chargers, more than can ever be summed up in two paragraphs. One the positive side, my columns make a great option when you’re *ahem* taking the Browns to the Super Bowl…
Merry Christmas to you, Chargers fans. I hope you all get what you want this year. If you’re like the rest of us, it’s the Chargers in the playoffs this year. The Chargers are finally on a roll and are looking like the team we thought they could be at the beginning of the season. I believe and we all should believe in what new GM Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy are doing. They have yielded positive results. Our team has bettered their record from last year, even if it is only by a game it is still progress. The Chargers will not have a losing season this year. Ryan Mathews has actually played in EVERY game this season and played well! (I’m shocked too!) Our third round steal of the draft Keenan Allen will be offensive Rookie Of The Year! Philip Rivers was never broken, the pieces around him were. That’s what needed to be fixed and now that it is, look who’s back Pro Bowl Philip! That’s my…no, that’s OUR quarterback! I have faith now more than ever he will retire with a Super Bowl ring. Or two. Or three. Or…
Besides all that, I enjoy meeting all of you at games, tweeting and Facebooking with you throughout the year and appreciate you reading my columns. Here’s my Christmas column to you, with me standing in front of the Lombardi Trophy at this year’s NFL Draft (Doing my best to give it some Chargers mojo). My thought and prayers for a happy and healthy journey through life are for all of you who ever hear my voice or read my words. Merry Christmas and God Bless you all.
Chargers born, Chargers bred, and when I’m gone I’ll be Chargers dead…
It is evident to everyone in Chargers circles that there is no doubt Keenan Allen should be the leader in the clubhouse for the offensive Rookie Of The Year award. Even national media is falling into the same line of thinking as Allen’s numbers continue to dwarf his competition. here are Allen’s numbers through week 15:
Keenan Allen: 63 receptions, 931 yards, 14.8 yards per catch, 7 touchdowns.
A steal as a third round pick, Allen leads all rookies in first down catches with 50, and first down percentage with 79.4%. The next closest wide receiver trails in receptions by 16 and yards, behind by 172 yards. However, the category is offensive rookie of the year and there are a handful who will make a case for themselves. The top four candidates are:
1. Giovani Bernard, RB Cincinnati. Bernard has been a great weapon for the Bengals this season. Bernard is a dual threat running and receiving the ball. Bernard has 49 receptions for 416 yards and three touchdowns and 144 carries for 653 yards and 5 touchdowns. Bernard is a dual threat but he has only had one game over 80 yards rushing, no 100 yards games rushing or receiving. His best game receiving netted 72 yards.Bernard has been timesharing in the backfield with Benjarvis Green-Ellis, further hampering his chances at the award. The fact he is playing for a team headed to the playoffs may gain him more acclaim than Allen if the Chargers don’t get into the playoffs.
2. DeAndre Hopkins, WR Houston Texans. The first round pick is Allen’s closest competition as a wide receiver. Playing opposite Andre Johnson, Hopkins has amassed 47 catches for 759 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hopkins has fallen off the radar coming down the stretch as he has 1, 1, 2, 3, and 3 catches over the last 5 games. Hopkins has one 100-yard game in week 2 against the Titans, has had two games with under ten yards receiving and hasn’t had more than 77 yards receiving since the Titans game.
3. Jordan Reed, TE Washington. Reed has 45 receptions for 499 yards and three touchdowns. However, Reed has not played in the last four games and only had one catch in week 11. Reed has no shot of winning.
4. Eddie Lacy, RB Green Bay. Lacy has 248 carries for 1028 yards and 8 touchdowns. lacy also has 31 receptions for 236 yards. Lacy has four games with over 100 yards rushing and looks to be the only viable threat to Allen. Lacy has been relied on more heavily as the Packers have been without quarterback Aaron Rodgers over the last month. The high-profile of the Packers also works in lacy’s favor. Making the playoffs may make the difference for both players.
Allen has five games with over 100 yards receiving. Also working in his favor is that he didn’t even get into the starting lineup until week four after the injury to Malcolm Floyd. Floyd’s injury forced Allen into the fire where he immediately took off and became the new number one receiver for the Chargers. Since he became starter in week four (11 weeks), Allen has amassed 901 yards and seven touchdowns. No rookie has been better than Allen in that time and there is no more deserving player of the offensive player of the year than Keenan Allen.
The Greg One
Some days the football gods smile down upon your team and usually its long after their assistance is needed. I finally got to go to my first Chargers game of the season as the Giants came to town on December 8th. This was a game I had circled on the calendar for a number of reasons, the biggest one being the obvious permanent interlinking of Philip Rivers and Eli Manning through the 2004 draft.
Manning’s outright refusal led to the Chargers selecting him and ransoming him to the Giants for four draft picks, most importantly my favorite college player, Philip Rivers who played at my Alma Mater, N.C.State. No one was happier to see this scenario play out than I was, having known what Rivers did in college. I grew up in Raleigh, home to the N.C. State Wolfpack. I grew up on that campus, mere miles from the campus of my high school and I hung out with players from those teams.
Fast forward a decade later and here comes Manning, in the midst of the worst season of his pro career coming into San Diego to face the Chargers and Rivers, having a pro bowl caliber season. Despite the last minutes corporate purchase of seats to avoid a blackout, the fans turned out in droves to cheer on the Chargers in this game. From my vantage point ten rows from the field I could see the stadium was nearly full of screaming Chargers fans. Yes, there were a lot of Giants fans in attendance as well but such is life at Qualcomm stadium. There are too many visiting jerseys for my liking. Hopefully, once the culture changes as the new management digs in it will get much harder for visiting fans to get into the stadium.
The Chargers gave reason to cheer from the very first drive. The Giants received the ball and the Chargers defense forced a three-and-out. On the Giants second drive Donald Butler intercepted Manning and returned it thirty yards. Rivers capitalized on the turnover, hitting Keenan Allen along the visitors sideline from 43 yards away on third and three. The rout was on as the Chargers raced to a 24-0 halftime lead. Keenan Allen had two touchdowns in the half and Danny Woodhead caught the third touchdown seconds before the second quarter ended.
My biggest reason for going to the game was to boo Eli Manning from start to finish and from the sounds of things, every fan in the home team’s colors had the same idea. Manning was booed loudly and lustily every time he walked onto the field, every time he took a snap. A giant Fathead graphic of Eli Manning’s face, (now known as SHEli) adorned with short blonde hair, lipstick and earrings hung from the home end zone. It was a comical sight once the Giants made it inside the ten-yard line and there was now way for Eli to not see that Fathead sitting exact center of the end zone at eye level. Great creativity from the Chargers faithful.
The Chargers played their most complete game of the season up to that point. Manning was sacked and intercepted twice. The Giants were only three of eight on third down. Ryan Mathews ran hard, gaining 103 yards and a touchdown. Allen had two touchdowns among his three catches. Rivers threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. The defense kept pressure on Manning and the Giants all game forcing three turnovers and keeping the Giants off the field. The Chargers owned time of possession 36 minutes to 24.
After an embarrassing performance the week before against Cincinnati, this was just the performance the Chargers needed to build steam for one last playoff push. The win came on Philip Rivers birthday and that win also knocked out the Giants from the postseason race. The game could not have come together better. The Chargers dominated the diva that spurned them in 2004 (Manning) at home on Rivers’ birthday, simultaneously eliminating the diva’s team from the playoffs and keeping the Chargers in the playoff race. Football kismet.
It goes without saying I was thrilled with the team’s play. Unlike all the games before it, this was a worry-free, mistake free game and there were no Maalox moments as the game sped too quickly to a finish. I’m most proud of the crowd who were full throat from the first snap to the last along with me and my best friend, Boltblitz fearless leader Dave ‘BoogaP’ Peters, all reveling in Manning’s misery. Thank you to all those who came to say hello, share your tailgate fare and make my foray back to America’s finest city a great experience.
The Greg One
A lot has been made of the year Philip Rivers is having. The performance on Thursday night truly brought Philip into the national spotlight.
The general thought, is that Philip is taking what the defense gives him and taking fewer shots down the field. The truth of it is, they are still averaging over 8 yards per throw. The only two years where he had a better average were in 2009 and 2010 when he averaged nearly 9 yards per throw. So let’s compare some stats from those years to this year and see what we find.
- 91% of Rivers throws have been thrown to receivers from behind the line of scrimmage to 20 yards down the field.
- Only 12% of his throws have been out of 2 WR formations
- He’s completing 70% of his passes on pass attempts 31-40 and is averaging
- He’s completing 66% of his passes on 3rd down with a QB rating of 102.2
- 85% of Rivers throws were thrown to receivers behind the line of scrimmage to 20 yards down the field
- 34% of his throws were out of 2 WR formations
- He completed 63% of his passes on attempts 31-40
- He completed 58% of his passes on 3rd down with a QB rating of 98.6
- 89% of Rivers throws were thrown to receivers behind the line of scrimmage to 20 yards down the field
- 37% of his throws were out of 2 WR formations
- He completed 58% of his passes on attempts 31-40
- He completed 59% of his passes on 3rd down with a QB rating of 94.3
The biggest things I’ve seen in analyzing Rivers stats are that he’s a much more efficient quarterback. He’s taking what the defense is giving him and still getting big gains. The 2 WR formations that Norv used to run drove me crazy. It’s refreshing to see Whiz utilize the three and four wide receiver sets. Rivers has also been much better against the blitz. He’s completing 63% of his passes and has a QB rating over 106.
2009 and 2010 were both great years, but this year might be Rivers best. He’s had a great year after losing his top two wide receivers and having an offensive line that has been shuffled around based on injuries. There are many more stats to analyze but these were a few that stuck out for me.
Thanks for reading.
The Chargers currently sit at 7-7 through the 15th week of 2013. Many of us during the offseason had them slated as a team that would finish right around the .500 mark. This has been somewhat of a remodeling-like year. When Tom Telesco took over as the General Manager of the Chargers he was given a mess of a roster and very little money to play with in free agency.
At this point it is very difficult to find too many fans that are unhappy with the draft by Telesco and crew. DJ Fluker has performed like he is the best offensive tackle in the draft. Manti Te’o has slowly been coming on and improving week-to-week. And, it goes without saying, Keenan Allen was the steal of the entire 2013 draft class. Allen is leading all rookies as the front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the year. Add in what could be a promising future for Steve Williams and a solid back-up outside linebacker in Tourek Williams the class was very impressive. To put it quite honestly, Tom made the draft his “female dog.”
In what has been almost as strong, the free agent pick ups that Telesco has signed have truly made significant contributions. It would be easy to talk about signings like Danny Woodhead, King Dunlap and Chad Rinehart. But I thought it was worth taking a look at a few of the players that make up San Diego’s “other guys” list. These are players that, unless you’re a Charger fan, you might not have ever even heard of them.
Jahleel Addae: The undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan University was actually interviewed on this site after being signed during the offseason. He started the first game of his career this week against the Broncos. He is learning on the fly but there is no doubt that he can lay the wood. Addae has 31 total tackles accompanied by 2 pass defenses and one sack. He had a solid game versus the Jaguars totaling five stops and a sack. As he learns the nuances of coverage, Addae is sure to be a player to keep an eye on moving into the future.
Sean Lissemore: The Chargers traded a seventh round pick in 2015 for the for the former Dallas Cowboy. He also started for the first time as a Charger in week 15 versus Denver. Lissemore earned the right to start over Cam Thomas at the nose tackle spot. He had an interception while in the endzone to record his first NFL touchdown in the Washington game. He also has a pair of sacks during his tenure with San Diego. The future seems to be bright for Lissemore.
Reggie Walker: After being a the captain of the special teams unit in Arizona, Walker has come in and made some noise as a Charger. Prior to signing with San Diego, Walker had accrued 44 tackles in 48 games with the Cardinals. He has a motor that never quits. Walker has started at both inside and outside linebacker for the Bolts. He has notched 3 sacks along with a pass defended, a forced fumbled and 35 total tackles. He works very hard on every play and has certainly had an impact thus far. Walker is another solid addition made by Telesco.
Lawrence Guy: Beginning the season as an Indianapolis Colt, Guy was signed after being released by Indy. After blocking a field goal as a Colt, Guy broke out onto the scene against Washington. He blocked his second field goal of the year and tipped a pass from Robert Griffin III that ended up in the hands of Lissemore for a touchdown. Despite not having a sack this year, he has played well as a sub on the defensive line and either hurried or hit the opposing team’s quarterback on multiple plays. Guy looks to be a solid depth player for the Chargers.
Thomas Keiser: Perhaps the best of Telesco’s offseason “diamonds in the rough,” Keiser has shown that he has a lot to add to the Chargers. He is a good pass rusher that has a nose for being around the ball. Like Guy, Keiser was signed a few games into the 2013 campaign. He has 4.5 sacks and what would end up being the game-clinching interception versus the Broncos. Keiser provides some quality depth at the outside linebacker position and can even play 4-3 defensive end.
As the Chargers have seen in injury-riddled seasons in the past few years, it can’t be stated enough how important it is to have quality depth on your team. It is my opinion that Tom Telesco has done an excellent job of adding solid players that can contribute when called upon to fill-in or even start.
The future for this team is looking awfully bright. If you add in another high-quality draft and free agency period by Telesco, the Chargers look as though they’ll be contenders for the foreseeable future.
After Thursday night’s awesome win over the division-leading Broncos, the Chargers are right in the thick of things for the sixth seed in the AFC. They will most likely need to win out while getting a little help from the foes of both the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins.
The Bolts only have two games left and those contests happen to be against the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. The NFL scheduler makers were a bit kind to San Diego giving them 4 of their last 5 games at the house that Jack Murphy built. Both remaining games are at home.
The million dollar question that remains on the minds of Charger fans everywhere is will the Chargers make the playoffs? San Diego looked like a complete team versus Denver. The combination of a dominant running game and a solid defense is that of which playoff success is built upon. Not to mention, Mike Scifres and Darrell Stuckey showed why the Charger special teams’ ability gives them one of the better units in the league.
So I’ll leave it to all of the fans. There is a poll below for you to place your vote. Be sure to vote and leave a comment as to why you voted the way you did.
Just two short weeks ago the San Diego Chargers were sitting at 5-7 and in the “dream on” section of the group of teams considered still in the hunt for the 6th and final playoff spot for the AFC. Now here we stand, 2 victories later and the Chargers are 1 of the 3 teams with 7 wins. The other two teams are the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins.
The Chargers do not control their own destiny at this point unfortunately. Even if the Bolts go on to beat the Raiders AND Chiefs at home we still need some help.
The Ravens have a pretty rough 3 weeks ahead of them. Since we have a worse conference record we would lose a tie breaker with them so we need them to lose 2 of their final 3 games OR if we drop one to either the Chiefs or Raiders, the Ravens need to lose out.
So who do the Ravens play? On Monday night the Ravens travel to Detroit to take on the 7-6 Lions who are in their own playoff race trying to keep pace with the Bears. In week 16 the Ravens have their only home game of the last 3 weeks against the Patriots. Then the Ravens finish the season on the road against division rival, and leader, Cincinnati.
That is the good news.
The bad news is the Dolphins. The Dolphins would win a tie breaker with us due to beating us in week 11. This puts them in the same position as the Ravens for us, we need them to lose at least twice.
So who is taking on the Fins in the last 3 weeks? This week they host a division rival and leader, the New England Patriots. Good news for us right? Well yes, but that’s where it ends. In week 16 the Dolphins make their final road trip to another division rival the 4-9 Buffalo Bills. The final game of the season the Fins are back at home against the third and final division rival, the New York Jets.
Now as an optimist here are some reasons for hope. 1) The Dolphins, like the Chargers, are from a town with pretty good weather. Traveling to Buffalo in December is not fun. 2) The Bills are a Division opponent and would love to play spoiler. 3) The Jets are still considered “in the hunt” and a division opponent so again they would take pride in beating the Fins.
Therefore, Charger fans, here is your guide of who to root for (however hard it may be or sick it makes you) over the next 3 weekends!
Week 15: New England Patriots (over Dolphins)
Detroit Lions (over Ravens)
Week 16: New England Patriots (over Ravens)
Buffalo Bills (over Dolphins)
Week 17: Cincinnati Bengals (over Ravens)
New York Jets (over Dolphins)
Oh and just so nobody forgets, our last two games are home games! So save your best support and cheers for the Chargers!
Make sure you follow me on twitter @boltfanindenver for the latest boltblitz articles and football conversation!
In case you haven’t been watching, Ryan Mathews is having a career year. He eclipsed the 1000 yard mark for the second time in his career with a 127 yard performance December 12 in Denver, his fifth triple digit effort of the year. This ties him for most games rushing for over 100 yards this season.
The knocks on Mathews? Well, there’s been more than one and I was one of his critics.
Mathews can’t stay healthy… RM did not miss a game this year due to injury. In fact, he’s played through the nicks and cuts that happen during the NFL season.
Mathews is fumble-prone. This just in, he seems to be over his fumblitis. He’s fumbled only twice this year in 236 carries, a career high. Only one of those fumbles recorded as a turnover.
He isn’t tough enough to break tackles. He can’t make people miss. Mathews has run more decisively and more powerful than any other time during his brief NFL career. You don’t average 4.3 yards per carry if you can’t break tackles or make people miss. One play that comes to mind is a third and short play against Denver Thursday night. RM was stopped behind the line, but was able to roll off the tackler and convert for a first down to keep a third quarter drive alive.
With two games left, Mathews is 79 yards shy of tying his career high in rushing yards. He still needs to improve his game awareness and know when it’s critical to stay inbounds and keep the clock running. His pass protection has improved and needs to continue to improve to become a top-flight running back in the NFL.
Mathews has won me over. I no longer see him as a bust, and no longer think the Chargers should move on from him. In fact, I think he should be utilized more, not less. 25-30 carries should be a weekly occurance. Ryan has proven he can be trusted.
Let me start by saying that the New York Giants, despite winning 5 of their last 6, were certainly not on a guaranteed path to the postseason. Prior to their recent wins, the team lost its first 6 games. There is now a certainty to their playoff hopes. They are gone. Those hopes no longer exist.
On Sunday at Qualcomm stadium, the Giants were beaten and battered by your San Diego Chargers. I am not sure whether or not I could be more proud of their effort on Sunday. Watching the game in person at The Murph made it even better. To be there while the Bolts demolished the playoff hopes of Eli Manning and the Giants was truly priceless. Eli was sent home packing by the team that he and his daddy shunned. Archie refused to allow Eli to play for the Chargers, so to speak. Thank goodness.
If there were any Eli fans at Qualcomm last week, they were not to be found very often. The resounding chorus of boos for the entire 4 quarters of Sunday’s game provided me with a new-found respect for Charger fans. Like the team, the fans were resilient, relentless and consistent for all of the contest. I was impressed.
The victory over the Giants nudged the Bolts forward to a record of 6-7. Still, technically, one game out of the race for the sixth seed in the debacle that is the AFC playoff race are the Chargers. The road is still littered with diversity and a touch of improbability.
That’s okay. Most of us were not having postseason dreams during the 2013 offseason. This is a young team that has some solid pieces to build around in the future.
I’m not so sure the same can be said for Eli and the Giants. They are a mess of a squad. And that doesn’t bother me one bit.
What’s good! This is BoogaP and I want to know who is going to the game on Sunday. I have a poll below this intro that I’d love for you to let me know if you will be attending or not. If you vote yes and you are attending the game, please leave a comment below telling me where you’ll be tailgating and I’ll try to stop by and say what’s up.
Remember to leave a comment below so I can find you at Qualcomm. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible.