Monthly Archives: November 2014
The San Diego Chargers are known for their usual slow start and hot finish in the month of December. But what about the start/finish in the game itself? There is an obvious advantage to scoring first and leading at halftime. Defining a team/franchise’s character includes many factors, including but not limited to, their ability to fight back in the face of adversity as well as keeping the gas pedal down to separate from one’s opponent.
Theories about starting out fast and procrastination have been researched using marathon runners all the way to college students. Marathon runners are typically told to run slower at the beginning of the race in order to have the energy to finish strong. On the other hand, students who procrastinated find themselves often physically sick, having a nervous breakdown and ultimately receive worse grades than those who perform right away. I decided to look into the end results of Charger games when they had to lead compared to being behind at halftime.
From the 2006 season through last season, not counting the postseason, when the Bolts have a lead at half, their record is 56-15. That equates to a 78.9% of games where San Diego leads at half, they win the game. That is incredible. You could spin it to the likes that the team doesn’t let off the gas pedal. Another spin would be that they have a huge lead and coast to victory; ending what should have been a blow-out to a nail-bitter. Both of those would be correct. There are many games where the blue and gold continued their dominance til the end. However, there are equally the same amount of games where they coasted and had to score in the 4th quarter to preserve a win. Either way you slice it, statistically for them to lead at half is an almost guarantee. Now let’s look at the flip-side.
During the same span, when the team from America’s finest city were down at halftime, their record is 17-30 – or a 36.2% of winning those games. A significant drop compared to when they are leading at the break. Sure there are games when the Chargers fought back only to lose by a few points, but the stats are there; as clear as a sunny day in San Diego.
Why the disparity in records when it comes to halftime? Perhaps one theory is that they tend to negate the run game and air it out; becoming one-dimensional. When any team becomes facile, defenses key on it and emphasis their attack one that one weapon. There is no more trick plays or play-action passes that will work in these scenarios. Of course another theory could be that the teams doesn’t have what it takes to come back and fight victoriously when seemingly defeated. I will let you decide.
Now of course, like snowflakes that will never see the gorgeous city of San Diego, every season is different from the others. In fact, there have been two seasons in which the Bolts had a winning record when losing at halftime; last season (3-2) and the infamous 2006 season (4-1). During that 14-2 run in ‘06, the one game which impressed me the most was against Cincinnati in week 9. The Chargers were down 28-7 and ended up victorious with a score of 49-41. This game was near the beginning of a 10 game win streak for the blue and gold and it also happened to be the biggest deficit at half where the end result was a win. Now I am sure you are wondering about how this relates to our playoff games.
In our 9 playoff games from 2006-2013, the Chargers have been up at half only three times – with a record of 1-2. Going against their normal self-parody of leading at the break, this is unnerving as we can all agree how important playoff games are in order to claim the sought after Super Bowl title. On the other hand the usually porous record when behind going into the second half, the Bolts are an even 3-3 in playoff games. Emotional roller coaster is one way to sum up all this data. Spinning this in a positive light, we know for a fact that the Chargers are never giving up in games that matter the most.
So far this season? San Diego is a dismal 1-3 in games they are trailing at half. Out of their combined 4 losses thus far, the only game the Super Chargers lost while leading at half was against Kansas City. There are only 5 games left in the season, and I don’t know about you, but I want to see our Bolts begin red-hot and enter the locker room with the lead.
What are your opinions/theories on this information? Why do the Chargers seem to need a halftime lead in order to be triumphant? Is it a character flaw? Or is it as simple as becoming too one-dimensional? Comment below and let the debate begin!!
Thanks for reading.
Here we go! The much-anticipated final five games of the Chargers 2014 campaign! It all starts with a very difficult matchup between the Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens. Both teams enter this game with identical 7-4 records. Some advantage has to be given to the Ravens as they are at home, where they are 4-1, and the Chargers go on the road where they are 2-3 this season. I will say one thing about this home stretch, if the Chargers make the playoffs, they will have earned it and no one can say they backed in. But one game at a time and this week that game is against the Ravens.
One would think that the coach’s job gets easier this time of year. It shouldn’t take too much effort to get guys fired up with the playoffs looming and the toughest part of their schedule coming up. That may or may not be true. You have to consider that the Chargers are on a modest two game winning streak. Honestly, after watching the last two games, I would think more players are worried than overconfident, but both mindsets need to be dealt with by Coach McCoy.
In the Ravens locker room, Coach John Harbaugh has been here before. Despite a let-down last season, Harbaugh’s Raven have made the playoffs five of his six years at the helm, including a Super Bowl championship just two seasons ago. The Ravens are a team that should know very well how to get prepared mentally and physically for a big game, but have no fear; Coach Harbaugh will certainly want the players to focus on certain aspects of the game.
Let’s take a look at five different angles that both coaches may take in trying to motivate their teams. We’ll start with Coach Harbaugh and the pregame favorite Ravens and then switch to Coach Mike McCoy of the underdog Chargers. Remember, these are not true quotes from the coaches, but rather my interpretation of what they may say.
Coach Harbaugh – Ravens:
- Don’t Get Carried Away: “Okay men, we are coming off of two nice wins. Notice I said “nice” wins, not great wins. There were aspects of those games that were great, but let’s be realistic, we beat a below average Tennessee team and then a Saints teams that has dropped three straight. Is that truly a measure of how good we are? Maybe, maybe not. We need to continue to take care of business, especially against teams that are not as good as us on paper. The Chargers are just another test of our character. They show signs of greatness and then turn around and show signs of being a cut below. The problem is that we don’t know which Chargers team will show up! If you play like you think the Chargers team that got shut out by the Dolphins is going to show up, we are in big trouble. Remember, this is also the Chargers team that beat the reigning champs as well as Buffalo and a tough St. Louis team just last week! Hell, they have the same record that we do! Don’t sleep on them. They have shown signs of greatness and at times we have shown that we are beatable.”
- Ball Control: “The Chargers offense has struggled lately, but could break out at any time. If Rivers has time to throw, he will carve us apart. With the return of Ryan Mathews, their running game has shown signs of life as well. Although I have complete faith in our defense, I believe the best way to take down the Chargers is to keep their offense on the sideline and control the ball. Offensive line, that is mainly on your shoulders! You must protect Joe and continue to do what you do best, run block. The Chargers are just an average rush defense at best. They give up over 100 yards per game on the ground and they haven’t faced many strong runners, especially as of late. I expect to impose our will on the ground and dominate the time of possession. Don’t accept anything less.”
- Happy Feet: “Defensive front seven, you have a job to do too. Not only do you need to shut down Ryan Mathews, you need to get to the quarterback. As you watch film this week, you will see that Rivers is very accurate and makes good decisions when given time to throw and room in the pocket to step into his passes. At the same time, you see he seem to get nervous when consistently pressured and loses accuracy when throwing in tight spaces. Also, if we can get them down early, he tends to force the ball into coverage. We have been doing a pretty good job of getting to the quarterback this season (29 sacks). We need to continue that pressure. I believe that will lead to turnovers.”
- One Game at a Time?: I know that we need to take one game at a time. I know that it is not politically correct to talk about the playoffs with five games to go. That being said, you are not stupid. You look at the standings. You understand the implications of this game. It is huge! If the playoffs started today, the Chargers would be in and we would be watching on TV! Both teams are 7-4. When it comes down to tie breakers, we will win the head-to-head tiebreaker if we win this game. If we lose, it could be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs. No, I am not saying that we are not going to win our division. But remember, we are tied with two other teams, a half-game behind the Bengals. What I am saying is that no loss helps and this loss could really come back to bite us. Let’s not take any chances.”
- Not in Our House: “Men, we have not lost at home since week one. I think we can all agree that we are vastly improved since then and we have done a fine job of defending our home turf. That being said, we have not faced a team of the Chargers talent level at home since week two against Pittsburgh. We want Baltimore to be a destination that teams fear. We want Baltimore to be a venue that has the opponent doubting they will win, before the game even starts. There are only a few teams in the NFL with that kind of home field advantage. Let’s be one of them. Let’s give our fans a reason to believe that they can impact a game as the “12th man”.
Enough of Harbaugh, let’s move on to see what Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy can use to help ready his Bolts for this week’s epic matchup:
Coach McCoy – Chargers
- Another Nice Win: “Men, we have a nice, but modest, two game winning streak. I know, and you know, that the teams we beat are filled with professional athletes and no team is a pushover. That being said, neither the Raiders or the Rams are heading to the post season, so those wins are not wins that show us where we stand in comparison to true contenders. Well men, this week will give us the opportunity to show the world, and ourselves, that we have what it takes to play with the big boys. The Ravens have the same record we do. They play in a division where 7-4 is tied for last, but just a half-game behind the first place team! This game is a real challenge and will show us if we are ready for the challenging final quarter to our season that awaits us. I believe we are.”
- Rising to the Challenge: “I’ll tell you what; we just beat a Rams team that had arguably the best and deepest defensive front seven in the league. Offensive line; that shows what you can do. We had a 100+ yard rusher and Philip was able to complete 29 or 35 passes! That tells me that we are maturing up front and starting to believe that we can play as a group. I know we have had many challenges up front this season, and it takes time to play as a unit. I believe that time is now! Last week gave me a lot of faith in both our run blocking and our pass blocking. We can open up our offense if we believe that running backs will have a hole to run through and Philip will have time to throw. No one can beat us if we can do both. That being said, this week is another formidable challenge. The Ravens are one of the league’s best rush defenses and they have 29 sacks. Looks like you won’t be able to rest on your laurels. I believe we are ready for this challenge.”
- Offensive Needs: “Offense, the one weakness of the Ravens defense is their pass coverage. I believe that if we have enough success with the run, and give Philip time to throw, we can pick apart a secondary that is struggling. Think about this, Haloti Ngata is leading the team in interceptions! Ngata! He’s a lineman for God’s sake! So once again, if our offensive line can control the line of scrimmage, we should be able to pick their DB’s apart like the leftover carcass of your Thanksgiving turkey! I believe we have what it takes.
- Beat Their Intensity: “Defense, I’ll be honest with you. This week is a real gut-check. The Ravens have a lot of weapons on offense. Steve and Torrey Smith at wideout and Forsett is already approaching 1000 yards on the season! Flacco is not the second coming, but he is a Super Bowl winning quarterback and will be successful if he is given time to throw. We must accomplish two things to be successful. One, we must contain Forsett on the ground and force Flacco to beat us. Two, we must hit, or at least pressure, Flacco often so that he is forced to rush his passes and make quick decisions. We’ll mix up the packages, but it is up to you to execute them. That brings us to passion and intensity. The Ravens will be fired up! Heck, Steve Smith alone will bring enough intensity to fill that stadium. We must exceed their level of intensity or we are in for a long day. We can’t let another Miami happen. We must stay focused on the task at hand and treat the Ravens as if they are trying to take away what is ours. Honestly, that is exactly what they are doing. They are trying to take away our playoff spot. Are we strong enough to hang on to our spot? I believe we are.”
- BELIEVE!: “Men, you may have noticed that there has been a theme to what I have told you today. What I need you to understand is that I believe in you. I believe that our offensive line will be able to impose their will, enabling us to do whatever we want on offense. I believe that our offense is ready to explode and put the kind of points on the board that we are capable of putting there. I believe that our defense will contain Forsett and get to Flacco all day. I believe that our special teams will continue to impact games by winning the field position battle and putting points on the board. I believe that our team is ready to take away the question mark by the word, “contender?”. I believe that our team is ready to show the world that we are for real and that we will fly around that field and make Baltimore look like San Diego East. Most importantly, I believe in you. I believe in our players. I believe in our coaches. I believe that our time is now! Let’s make it happen. Let’s introduce the world to the San Diego Chargers and force them to believe too. I believe……..do you? Show me on Sunday.”
Only time will tell which team will take the field ready to take that big step toward the playoffs. You know what I would say to prepare these teams. What would you say? Please leave a comment below. If you are on the mobile site, you may need to go to “classic view” to leave your comment. Thanks for the read and Go Chargers!!!
In our newest edition of Fan Perspective, I am sitting down with Charger super fan Morgan Harpenau. He has been a fan of the Bolts for years. His love of the Chargers is strong and undying.
Let’s get right to it.
Booga: Tell us about how you became a Charger fan and when it all started?
Morgan: Boy, I am not sure of the exact year, but I believe it was the early 90’s. My reasoning was that I became a huge fan of Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau. When I was a child, the only sport I played was outdoor soccer. I thought that sports were played solely for fun. But every time we won a game, if I had made a mistake during the game, my father on the drive home would say the team would have achieved a better outcome. It wasn’t just about one play, it was about multiple plays. Being young and delusional, I didn’t really care.
Booga: Who is your favorite Charger of all-time?
Morgan: Drew Brees. He is a class-act and he has a huge heart and it was easy to look up to him.
Booga: If there was one moment in Charger history that sticks out to you, what moment was it and why?
Morgan: It was 2007 against the Titans. It was a dogfight. That game was wild. The defense was going ballistic. Chambers made an incredible catch which helped change the game. It was a hard-hitting game and very physical.
Booga: If you were to grade the 2014 Chargers, what grade would you give them?
Morgan: C. When you look at the teams they have beaten, it seems as though there is a lack of consistency on both sides of the ball. If I were to start with the positives, the team has played through a big amount of injuries. The whole “Next man up”, is getting old and I was expecting this team to play at a higher level than last year. They seem to be holding back.
Booga: I have already asked you this, but please elaborate on how your love of the Chargers began and explain how this all came to be.
Morgan: First off, it ran in the family; mainly my mom. I was a huge Padres’ fan and that was when they were still sharing the stadium with the Chargers. I only attended Padre games because my family didn’t enjoy attending football games with drunk people. After attending many Padre games, I built up my love for all of the San Diego franchises.
Booga: If there was one thing you could change about the 2014 Chargers, what would it be and why?
Morgan: I’d have to say the defensive line. There is no killer instinct. Liuget is the only member of the D-line to create havoc. That has to change. And it needs to change asap.
Booga: Which player is the most important when it comes to reaching the playoffs this year?
Morgan: It starts with Philip Rivers. He is the general of the team, and when the defense doesn’t do their job it is up to him to pick up the slack. His play determines whether or not the Chargers make the playoffs.
Booga: Why do you think that the 3rd ranked offensive line of 2013 has fallen so low during the 2014 season?
Morgan: Losing Nick Hardwick and Jeromey Clary was huge. DJ Fluker having ankle injuries has been a hindrance to the Oline. Ohrnberger has had health issues and that has not helped the situation. We are about to learn a lot about Chris Watt during the next five games. When you’re running with second-tier and third-tier players, it’s hard to compete with the defensive lines in the NFL.
Booga: Will Ryan Mathews return in 2015?
Morgan: No. I truly like Mathews, but due to health and his inability to stay on the field makes the decision easy for Telesco. I love his physicality, and his ability to change the game. But, his ball security is an issue and his coaches have shown that they might not have trust in him when it comes to the redzone.
Booga: Some fans have accused you of being a fake fan. What do you have to say to those people who don’t get it? They have questioned your devotion to the team, and they have gone as far as to say that you’re not a true Charger fan.
Morgan: Number one, I am not a pom-pom fan. Number two, I’m a fan of this team, and I can’t wait for San Diego to celebrate a Championship. Number three, I used to be a patient fan, but I thought that the squad could achieve a Super bowl victory in the Marty years. But, they ended up not getting the job done. Then that one guy was hired, and a lot of the fans were really pissed off. The fans were desperate for a Super bowl. The fans were impatient and they took the keys to the Ferrari and ended up with a Yugo of coach.
Booga: Why is it that Charger fans on social media doubt your love for the Chargers?
Morgan: Fans need to understand the intricacies of the game. I am not trying to be critical of fans. But there is a level of misunderstanding among the fans. I have been a fan long enough to understand that this is not a Championship team and they won’t be that for the next two or three years.
Booga: How will you feel when the Chargers win their first Super bowl?
Morgan: I would put my hands over my head due to joy and amazement. I would hug every Charger fan I could find! I would think back to all of the hard times and all of the money I spent on the gear and jerseys. Being a season-ticket-holder for two years, I sat through the Denver debacle, the Houston mess-up, and the 4th and 29 BS. And yet, I am still here, buying tickets and finding more Charger friends on social media and reaching out to as many fans as possible.
I keep hearing pundits say the Chargers versus Raiders game week 11 was an ugly win or not a work of art. Pretty much the only NFL fans excited about the game were aspiring punters. By the time we were collectively wiping sweat off our brows and watching the clock hit zeros the teams had racked up a season high 18 punts.
When your punter, Mike Scifres, gets the game ball you know something was not clicking with the offense. Derek Carr is not putting Scifres on his Christmas card list. He was really the difference in the game.
Through the last two games the Chargers have completed a few drives but they were making up yards on 1st and 2nd down and struggling on the most important of downs. Since the bye week the Chargers have had 17 failed 3rd down conversions. They went 4 of 15 in the Raider game and 4 of 12 on third downs.
Thanks to some turnovers and effective plays on first and second down, the Bolts managed to get a win against the Rams. But these are issues the offense needs to work out before facing the Ravens in their stadium where they are tough to beat.
So what went wrong? Well I went back and watched every play, so you won’t have to. Each one had different issues. There is a Good, Bad and Ugly on almost every play. Let’s check it out.
1) 1st Quarter 11:10 on the clock 3rd and 10
Good: Rivers had moved the team down field with a few run plays and got two third down conversions off hard counts.
Bad: If the pocket had been clean Gates was wide open 17 yards down field. Royal appeared to be the intended target but didn’t get open quick enough.
Ugly: If you watch the play in slow motion Fluker and Dunlap both get beat. Rivers is flushed to his left. He can’t set his feet to throw. The sack ultimately comes from Antonio Smith who has Troutman chasing him from behind.
2) 2nd Quarter 2:33 3rd and 5
Good: With all the receivers in the slot (KA, ER on right- MF on left) I expected a quick pass. Rivers had Donald Brown out wide but as always he brought him back to the pistol at the last moment. Defense shows blitz Rivers calls a mic on 52 and snaps the balls. He hits Keenan Allen with quick pass that was on the money.
Bad: Rookie cornerback Carrie just made a good play and knocked the ball out of his hands.
Ugly: The pocket folded like an umbrella. Dunlap was smoked on this play and Rivers got smashed as he threw. Still he got the ball there.
* Note the missed Novak kick happened on first down going into the half. The offense was moving down the field just ran out of time. Hmmm two-minute no huddle offense. Might be something to try on the first drive in Baltimore.
3) 3rd Quarter 15:00 3rd and 10
Good: After a pretty solid 2 minute drive (time management problems on the coaching staff) the Bolts got the ball to start the second half. Rivers did a good job of reading the defense. Gates and Floyd were lined up in the slot on the Right. The corners covering them were 10 and 8 yards down the field standing up straight. Rivers probably assumed the corners were ready to back up expecting Floyd to go straight down field. Rivers hit Floyd as crossed the middle.
Bad: 7 yards short of the first down. The rookie Hayden closed quickly on the play, Rivers was just a little slow on the throw. This same play got Gates 25 on a 3rd and 5 in the Jets game.
Ugly: No ugly here. The pocket was clean, the defense just saw it coming.
4) 3rd Quarter 11:21 3rd and 18
Good: The pocket was clean. It didn’t matter because…
Bad: No one was open. Donald Brown picked up a blitz out of the back field. When he saw that no one was open he tried to leak out. So Rivers dumped off to him.
Ugly: This play was broken, when Rivers could go down field he chucked down to Brown who was not in any way shape or form ready. Ball hit his shoulder pads.
5) 3rd quarter 3rd and Goal (from the 5)
Good: The offense finally got in a rhythm. 4 first downs on the drive plus another hard count that got the raiders off side on a previous third down. After two short Oliver run plays the Bolts lined up with Green and Gates. The two tight-end sets we have been screaming for.
Bad: Rivers had nowhere to go. No one got separation at the goal line.
Ugly: Before anyone could get open Troutman lost contain on the Raiders #95. Rivers had to throw it away to avoid a sack.
6) 3rd Quarter 3rd and 3
Good: This is an awful play. Gates was open down field. Keenan Allen was there for a dangerous throw into coverage. Rivers never had a chance.
Bad: Bolts only needed three yards, Gates should have turned around quicker, Rivers should have thrown the ball right away.
Ugly: Chad Rinehart who till this point has a had a good game just gets spun on. Antonio Smith just crushes Rivers so quick he can’t throw the ball away.
7) 3rd and 4 + 3rd and 14
Good: Rivers hits Malcolm Floyd for 22 setting up 1st and goal. Best third down play of the game. Crowd goes wild. Cue a Chargers nationwide homer Simpson “Doh.”
Bad: Holding on King Dunlap. This sets up 3rd and 14 that is a short useless pass to Keenan that is 10 yards short of the first down.
Ugly: The holding was not the Ugly. The Ugly was Dunlap getting a holding by hugging Mack and rolling up on his QB. Rivers had trouble getting up and it is amazing he even tried to go on the 3rd and 14.
8) 3rd quarter 4:10 3rd and 1
Good: After a few good plays the Bolts looked ready to drive.
Bad: Really it was 3rd and Inches I realize with his ribs hurt (possibly) Quarter back sneak was not the best idea, but damn. It was so close. The Raiders packed the box.
Ugly: Oliver had no chance but pushed at the line. #24 generally hits those piles and tries to bounce out to the left. Oliver should have done that the box was a wall of Raiders.
9) 4th Quarter 11:14 left 3rd and 7
Good: Great protection. Rivers has time. He seems Keenan is being covered one on one by Hayden.
Bad: Hayden gets beat by Allen but is closing quickly. When Rivers throws he has to put it in an awkward spot.
Ugly: Keenan has to lay out-of-bounds to try to catch the ball. It is a good effort but uncatchable.
- 4th Quarter 6:50 left 3rd and 6
Good: Nothing really.
Bad: Raiders have the receivers locked up. Rivers holds on to the ball to long hoping a play will develop. Can’t blame him for that.
Ugly: Raiders rookie linebacker Mack beats Dunlap, but I think in fairness it was a coverage sack. After a battle Rivers is sacked. He is slow to get up.
- Somewhere around the 2 minute warning 3rd and 5.
Good: On the last third down Gates had that amazing circus catch. That drained a lot of clock. Not this time.
Bad: Besides my notes? (I was running out of space on my paper) Donald Brown had no running lanes at all.
Ugly: This gave the Raiders a chance at the end. Thankfully they Raidered it up.
The Rams Game
The offense still had trouble in the first half but Rivers and company seemed to find their rhythm in the second half. Rivers was 14/15 in the second half and, more importantly, Ryan Mathews averaged over 8 yards a carry. Still the third down woes continued in the Rams game. The first half was ugly.
1) 3rd and 15 ( first drive)
Good: Nothing much works on this drive.
Bad: On his first drive as a starter at the center position Chris Watt sets the team back to 2nd and 20. On 3rd and 15.
Ugly: Donald Brown was open for a check down near the line of Scrimmage and Eddie Royal was open near the first down. Dunlap was beat on his block. Rivers had to move up in the pocket and could not set his feet in time to throw. Sack.
2) 3rd and 3 (Red zone)
Good: After Flowers picked up Shaun Hill the Bolts have a short field. The Rams crowded the box, expecting a run from Ryan Mathews who was off to a hot start. This leaves Keenan Allen out on the left with single coverage. Rivers audibles out of the run, based on the defense being set up to stop the run.
Bad: Keenan Allen might not have gotten the memo because…
Ugly: Rivers throws him a fade in the endzone and Keenan is nowhere near the ball. Terrible communication.
3) Second Quarter 3rd and Goal
Good: Well it was a great drive. Mathews looked great and then…
Bad: Go straight to ugly.
Ugly: A 99 yard pick six, is pretty much the red zone/ 3rd down nightmare. It wasn’t a bad call. Jenkins just moved quicker than Keenan Allen. Not much more to say.
4) Second Quarter 3rd and 1 9:51 left
Good: by design this play almost worked. Unlike the last two plays Keenan Allen was where he was supposed to be. It is clear he was the target in a crossing route.
Bad: The problem is even though the pocket holds the Rams D-lineman disrupt the timing of the play by Sticking his arm up for block at the moment Rivers needs to pass to Keenan.
Ugly: Rivers has no choice but to tuck and try to run for the first down. He fails.
5) 2nd quarter 3rd and 5 3:02 left
Good: Completed pass to Malcolm Floyd
Bad: A this point in the game the Chargers are 0/5 on third down.
Ugly: M-80 was not even close to the first down. He started wide left and crossed, despite Rivers almost instant release the Rams #33 read it. This play failed last week. I have a feeling defenses have watched how many times this play worked in the first 5 weeks.
6) 4th quarter 3rd and 2, 1:54 left
Good: Mike Scifres foot finally gets a break.
Bad: This is your game on the line. Convert this and Gilchrist doesn’t ever get his hero moment. We would have had a more relaxing end to the game. It didn’t happen. Ryan Mathews in the back field. Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal slot on the left. Floyd slot right. Gates starts wide and motions in.
Ugly: On the snap the pocket just folds. Both Troutman and Fluker get beat. Rivers looked for the check down to Mathews but the timing is bad. Mathews is behind Dunlap, by the time he is free Rivers is sacked.
Last year the Chargers led the NFL in third down conversions. During the first 6 weeks of the season Rivers was looking like a third down wizard. If there is anything we can read as a pattern here it would lack of timing. This is something that the team has to get on the same page with. It seemed they did in the second half of the Rams game. They have 3 straight perfect drives (team-wise although Keenan Allen had a fumble that ended the second of those drives).
The defense has started to play with speed and a mean edge. If the offense can get back to sustaining those long drives, a key to Mike McCoy’s system, this team will be dangerous despite the gauntlet they face the rest of the regular season.
Para un equipo de fútbol americano, la unidad de equipos especiales es esencial cada vez que se va a patear el balón, ya sea por despeje, gol de campo o punto extra. Aunque algunos jugadores de esta unidad también participan en la línea defensiva y la línea ofensiva, dos jugadores en particular son especializados en esta área: Los pateadores. Para los Chargers, podemos saber quienes son estos dos jugadores simplemente diciendo sus números de playera: 9 y 5.
Mike Scifres y Nick Novak se encuentran actualmente en su cuarta temporada juntos, y podemos decir que durante todo ese tiempo, se ha visto un trabajo en harmonía en ambas partes. Este dúo a logrado que la unidad de equipos especiales se haya convertido, para muchos aficionados, en un punto clave para el éxito de la escuadra relámpago.
Scifres, pateador de despeje, se ha lucido desde que se convirtió en un Charger en la temporada 2003, hace ya 11 años. Desde ese tiempo, ha hecho un total de 682 patadas de despeje, por un total de 30,791 yardas, y un promedio de 45.1 yardas por patada. La más larga ha sido de 72 yardas, la cual fue durante esta temporada, en la Semana 3 contra Búfalo. Es un jugador estelar, que muestra concentración y eficiencia durante cada juego; se reconoce su gran trabajo ya que es el pateador de despeje mejor pagado de la liga
Novak, por su parte, lleva menos tiempo como Charger, desde el 2011. Sin embargo, eso no lo hace menos importante. Otro jugador estelar de los Chargers, ha pateado en temporada regular en más de 100 ocasiones, con un porcentaje de 89%, y su patada más larga para un gol de campo ha sido de 53 yardas. Novak también tiene un reconocimiento muy estelar, como el récord por el mayor número de goles de campo exitosos consecutivos, con un total de 32.
9 + 5 es la suma de una gran combinación en la escuadra de los Chargers. Bueno, literalmente suma 14, pero metafóricamente gente es el resultado de la suma de un gran dúo de pateadores, que son una clave esencial para el éxito de la escuadra de San Diego.
– José “Joe” Martínez
@JoeLovesMusic24 en Twitter
The NFL is full of the most elite football players from all over the world with incredible athletic abilities; Odell Beckham Jr.’s three finger catch says enough. With the top athletes facing off every week, a team knows there is one thing they need to do in order to outperform their opponent; win the turnover battle every single game.
In 2013, teams that win the turnover battle have a 72-17 record; going 810-220-2 from 2008 to 2012. According to Steve Mariucci, an NFL Network analyst and former head coach, “It’s all about the number of possessions”, and he’s right. Ultimately, turnovers dictate the amount of possessions a team has and the number of scoring opportunities.
For the Chargers, winning the battle this season has landed them a 6-0 record. Even games ending in turnover ties has given them two more wins. Basically, the Chargers success thus far has been from limiting giveaways and forcing the takeaways.
Since week one against the Arizona Cardinals, the Chargers have had a total of 12 turnovers while their opponents have had 13. Currently, San Diego ranks 13th in the NFL in turnover margin per game, for a turnover differential of 1. In addition, they rank 6th in team fumbles and fumbles lost with 11 fumbles and only 3 lost. Since Mike McCoy took over the head coach position, he has reiterated how important it is to limit turnovers and force them. In the five-game win streak earlier this year, the Chargers had seven takeaways and only one giveaway. Unfortunately, that record was snapped during the three-game losing streak; turning the ball over seven times and not a single takeaway.
Since 2010, the Chargers have only had one season with a positive turnover differential. Even making it to the postseason last year, the Chargers ended with a -4 differential. It was Tom Telesco’s responsibility to add play makers to the defensive unit. Brandon Flowers was a free agent signee in the offseason and has accrued three interceptions this year so far. Before the season ending shoulder injury to rookie cornerback Jason Verrett, he had one interception and ranked 10th-best cornerback by Pro Football Focus. Even Corey Liuget has added to the equation with two forced fumbles; ranking him 23rd in the league. At this time, the Chargers rank 9th in over team defense. They will need to hold this, if not improve, in order for a potential postseason appearance.
In order for the Chargers to advance their record and earn a spot in the playoffs, the team has to win the turnover battle every single time; there’s absolutely no way around it. Back in 2012, three of the top four teams that won the battle in the AFC went onto the playoffs. Heading into the final five games of the season, the Chargers are set to face off against the league’s top teams. Of those five teams, three rank better than San Diego in team turnover differential; the New England Patriots ranking 2nd among all teams. If that isn’t intimidating enough, of the five quarterbacks the defense has to play, four rank higher than Philip Rivers in touchdown-to-interceptions ratio; 3.4 total combined against Rivers’ 2.4.
For the remainder of the season, the offense needs to limit their mistakes and the defensive needs to make game changing plays. The winner of the turnover battle will win football games every time. We all know Rivers does the unthinkable in December, he is the NFL’s third highest-rated passer in December/January (99.0) with a 71-to-22 touchdown-to-interception ratio, but will his success continue? Stay tuned Charger fans for the next five weeks.
¿Qué se puede decir? Casi nos da un ataque! Un partido que estuvo muy reñido y donde se vio que ambos equipos tenían esperanzas de llevarse la victoria. Es exactamente lo que se vio el domingo pasado en el Estadio Qualcomm, en la hermosa ciudad de San Diego, donde mas de 66,000 aficionados apreciaron un partido que, simplemente, se puede describir en una sola palabra: Cardiaco.
Desde el primer minuto se veía que iba a ser un encuentro que iba a dar mucho de que platicar, y mucho de que disfrutar. La escuadra relámpago se veía con mucha energía, mucho espíritu y seguridad como equipo en general, algo que no se había visto en los encuentros contra Miami y Oakland. Y a pesar de grandes errores que hubo en varios momentos del juego, los Chargers, con trabajo en equipo, buenas estrategias y un buen de suerte, lograron llevarse la victoria 27-24 contra San Luis.
Ahora a recapitular, como en cada semana, algunas notas importantes sobre el juego:
Ryan Mathews Está De Vuelta!
Vaya que se nota como un jugador lesionado afecta el juego terrestre. La ausencia de Ryan Mathews se vio por varias semanas, y ahora con su regreso, parece ser que está en sus mejores momentos. Tuvo un total de 102 yardas, un promedio de 8.8 yardas por carrera, la más larga de 32 yardas, la cuál culminó en un touchdown. El #24 esta de vuelta y con muchas ganas de dar su todo durante el juego, solo esperemos que no se vuelva a lesionar.
“El Capitán” Mostró Vida Durante Todo el Juego
Excluyendo la decepcionante intercepción por parte de Janoris Jenkins de los Rams, Philip Rivers estuvo espectacular durante el encuentro. Mostraba energía, utilizó una buena estrategia durante el juego, y tuvo control de los pases que quería hacer (otra vez, excluyendo la intercepción) Con un total de 35 intentos, de esos, 29 completados, 291 yardas y un rating de 98.9, nuestro capitán no mostraba ninguna señal de demora o lesión.
¿Problemas Al Recibir Balones Pateados?
A la mejor estoy exagerando, pero creo que los Chargers son el único equipo en la NFL ahorita que no puede correr el balón después de recibirlo, ya sea por despeje o después de una anotación del otro equipo. Un total de 3 touchbacks durante el partido, incluyendo varias capturas libres. La única esperanza de posibles corridas fue por parte de Chris Davis, quien intentó correr el balón en 2 ocasiones, y en ambas logró más de 20 yardas. Sin embargo, Davis fue participe de un grave error, al chocar con Keenan Allen en el recibimiento del balón, y dejando que los Rams recuperaran el balón. El error se corrigió por parte de Allen jugadas después con un touchdown, sin embargo, son errores que pudieron haber modificado el resultado del juego de forma drástica.
Mike Scifres y Nick Novak = Estelar!
Ya hemos comentado en varias ocasiones que el dúo dinámico de Scifres y Novak, a quien yo llamo por buen gusto “S&N”, son dos jugadores clave de la escuadra relámpago. Scifres hizo cuatro patadas de despeje, por un total de 197 yardas, un promedio de 38.3 yardas por patada, y la más larga de 55. Novak, por su parte, demostró otra vez que el toma ventaja de cada momento para patear, con dos goles de campo exitosos, uno de 23 yardas, y el segundo 48 para cerrar la primera mitad. Interesante como la diferencia en el resultado final fue un gol de campo (3 puntos), entonces debemos agradecer que tenemos un pateador estelar como Novak.
Un Mejor Desempeño Por Parte de La Defensiva
Sigue habiendo detalles como en cualquier línea defensiva, pero se debe aplaudir la estupenda participación y desempeño de los jugadores. Aprovecharon cada oportunidad dada para hacer una jugada, y vaya que dieron varios momentos de alegría para la afición relámpago. Brandon Flowers se lució nuevamente con una gran intercepción en el primer cuarto, a pesar de perder el balón, que fue recuperado por Melvin Ingram. Otra gran jugada fue por parte Corey Liuget que forzó un fumble, recuperado por Andrew Gachkar, quien corrió para sumar 6 puntos al marcador de los Chargers. Darrell Stuckey también tomó ventaja al bloquear un gol de campo por parte de los Rams. Pero sin embargo, la jugada más inesperada, y una que dejó a casi, si no a todo aficionado con la boca abierta, fue la intercepción por parte de Marcus Gilchrist, a un minuto de terminar el juego. Sin duda se vio un buen trabajo en equipo por parte de la defensiva.
Sin duda un partido cardiaco, pero deja las esperanzas de que nuestro gran equipo logre llegar a los Playoffs, o como le decimos acá en México, la “liguilla de la NFL”…quiero pensar que si le dicen así.
Bueno, en conclusión, para mi percepción fue un partido muy intenso, pero entretenido. La adrenalina estuvo a todo dar por parte de ambos equipos y ambas aficiones, y los Chargers lograron la victoria. Considerando que mi cumpleaños fue el día siguiente del partido, fue un buen regalo de cumpleaños. Ahora los Chargers se enfrentan el próximo domingo contra Baltimore, lo que será un encuentro muy interesante y contra un fuerte rival, sin embargo, en el juego del fútbol americano, todo puede suceder.
– José “Joe” Martinez
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
In what turned out to be a game of redemption for multiple Chargers, the ebb and flow of San Diego’s win over St. Louis seemed to have it all; positive and negative, that is.
I can honestly say that it took every second of three hours after the game for my heart to return to what could be considered a normal beat pattern. It is hard to imagine what it was like for the players, coaches and the entire organization.
While standing a few yards from Dean, AG and John Spanos at the end of the game, it was clear to see that they were just as concerned as to what the final outcome would be, and then their elation when the game was sealed by an interception with under a minute to go proved to be a flood of emotions as well. Tom Telesco was there near the west endzone as well. He ran down the sideline and along the way gave me a huge high-five in celebration of the win.
That last pass was picked off by safety Marcus Gilchrist. By all measures, he had a tough game up to that point. Mike McCoy even commented during the post-game press conference that “Gilly” was beat on a touchdown to Stedman Bailey in the game. Marcus then came back and redeemed himself by making what was the biggest play of his career.
Gilchrist was not alone in trading in early blunders for success that later helped seal a much-needed win. Keenan Allen immediately comes to mind. If one only looks at his receiving numbers — 6 receptions for 104 yards and a huge 35-yard touchdown reception — you might conclude that he had an excellent game. Although the “muffed” punt was credited to Allen as a fumble, it turned out that rookie Chris Davis interfered with Keenan’s ability to field the ball. One can expect that Davis probably received a stern talking to about the situation.
The former Cal wideout also had a hand in what would be another mishap. With the Chargers marching down the field and in scoring position, he slipped at the top of his cut on a route and the ball was intercepted and returned 99 yards for a touchdown. Rivers also could be at fault as it appeared that even had Keenan not slipped the throw may have still been picked off. Later in the game, after catching a pass from Philip Rivers, Allen sped down the field making moves and gaining as many yards after the catch as possible. Unfortunately, Keenan would then fumble the ball as he was tackled to the ground, giving the ball back to the Rams.
The second-year wide receiver would eventually redeem himself, similar to Gilchrist, when he caught a 29-yard touchdown pass with a little over 7 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. I would think that he let out a huge sigh of relief upon reaching pay dirt.
In that same Dickens’ novel, it is also written, “Keep where you are because, if I should make a mistake, it could never be set right in your lifetime.” This was said by a guard in the novel pertaining to his protection of a character in the book. There was no guard in Sunday’s game and these were not plays that would have lasted for a lifetime. But if the team had lost, the two men would be consumed with thoughts of plays that changed the game for the worse.
Both Gilchrist and Allen made mistakes. But they kept at it and found individual ways to set them right. They found their redemption and both Chargers were able to atone for their errors. Their shining moments are what will be remembered by most.
The worst times may have come first, but the best times of yesterday’s game led San Diego to a big win over the Rams.
Thanks a lot for reading.
The San Diego Chargers defeated the St. Louis Rams yesterday 27-24. It was a battle from the beginning to the end and the fans at Qualcomm, and at home, were on the edge of their seats for the entirety of the contest. Every game in the NFL is difficult to win. The victory over the Rams leads the Bolts into a brutal stretch of games that will ultimately decide their season.
In week 13, San Diego will travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. This is another tough game as the Chargers continue their march toward earning a postseason bid. The AFC playoff picture is a traffic jam as many teams are still in the hunt and fighting for their playoff lives. The AFC North has all four of its teams with at least 6 wins. When looking at the AFC West, the same can be said….. oops, minus Oakland.
Here are the next five games on the Charger schedule:
Week 13 – @Baltimore Ravens
Week 14 – New England Patriots
Week 15 – Denver Broncos
Week 16 – @San Francisco 49ers
Week 17 – @Kansas City Chiefs
When looking at the gauntlet that is the next 5 games, four of them are against teams from the AFC; two of which are against AFC West division rivals. Additionally, three of the last five are on the road. It goes without saying, each and every game from here on out is very important. Every single one of the aforementioned opponents are in the playoff picture.
This is not going to be a long article. I know which of these remaining games concerns me more than the others. But I want to know what you think. Which game concerns you the most?
Let us know by voting on the poll below and leaving a comment as to why you voted the way you did. I am very interested to see the results.
Thanks a lot for reading and voting.
Yesterday’s victory over the St. Louis Rams at Qualcomm certainly had the Charger fans on the edge of their seats from start to finish. The highs and lows of week 12 were near heart attack-inducing. The bottom line is, San Diego walked away with a very important win.
Philip Rivers, minus a pick-six where Keenan Allen slipped on a route in the endzone, had a very efficient game completing 29 of his 35 attempts while throwing for 291 yards and a touchdown. That scoring pass was to Keenan Allen who added 104 yards receiving in addition to securing his second touchdown of the year.
The play of Rivers and Allen was among the things that stood out when watching the game. But there was one player that came in and made his presence felt as he blasted his way through the Ram defense on limited carries.
That player was Ryan Mathews.
If you were to say that Mathews was the deciding factor yesterday, I am not sure that many people would argue with you. After only having 12 carries, Ryan was still able to grind out 105 yards; including a 32-yard touchdown. That scoring carry was the longest touchdown run of his career.
Mathews adds a dimension to the San Diego offense that no other Charger running back can provide. Now, that is not a slight to any of the other ball carriers, it is just an obvious fact regarding what Ryan brings to the table.
When 24 is on the field, there is a certain amount of pressure that is lifted off the shoulders of Rivers. Philip no longer has to throw the offense on his back and sling it all over the field in order to achieve a victory. With Mathews in the game, the balance on offense keeps opposing defenses on their toes as he changes the dynamic of the opposition’s defensive playcalling knowing that he is a threat and can be used in multiple ways.
Ryan Mathews is an integral piece of the San Diego offense. He makes this team better. Period. End. He is one of the most physical running backs in the league and he gives it his all on every single play. He is a solid receiver out of the backfield and his blocking in passing situations while in the backfield has improved year after year.
Simply put, Mathews is a beast and the team is lucky to have a player of his caliber.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Although Mathews left the field late in the game with a shoulder ailment, I am told that he is fine.
Thanks a lot for reading.