“In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins.” – Ulysses S. Grant
For the first half of yesterday’s 33-14 victory against the Jaguars, it seemed as if we were not as prepared as we should have been. The second half, however, was an altogether different entity. Keyword: Adjustments
San Diego was facing a rookie QB at home. This was not just any rookie. This was the #3 overall pick of the 2014 draft. This kid will be good, if not great. Pagano and the defense appeared not to give Bortles much respect, almost as if they felt entitled to roam around the backfield as they please. The pocket was hardly collapsed giving Blake time to read through his progressions. Denard Robinson looked like a pro bowl back. On top of this, the Jags defense did not seem intimidated. After watching the Bolts first offensive series, I was actually a statue of inconceivable shock. After trailing to the winless Jaguars, the Bolts seemed to take a hit of smelling salt and drove down the field with a purpose; perhaps even a prideful one. At halftime, San Diego led by 3 points and headed into the locker room with modest confidence.
Now this, in my opinion, is where the “W’s” and “L’s” become detached. Can the team make the necessary adjustments in order to overcome the inadequacies that were presented in the first half? Could Pagano master a scheme that would make Jacksonville’s offense look more than pedestrian rather than a playoff contending team? Can Joe “D” and Reich prepare their guys to improve a less than stellar run game?
The adjustments that were made by Pagano and the defense were first-rate. Freeney and Liuget were barbarians pushing their way into the young rookie’s grill. This opened the door to other playmakers to show off their special set of skills. Flowers ran amok and seemed to have a homing device planted in his head as he was blanketing, intercepting and tackling like a Pro Bowler. The defense came away with 3 sacks and 2 interceptions all the while not giving up a single point in the second half. It seems that all the haters of Pagano have been mummified over the last 3 weeks. Pagano reflected on the first half and shut the Jags offense down.
How bad are we missing Nick Hardwick right now? Or Rich Ohrnberger for that matter? The run game has not improved and holes are as hard to find as a white cat in a snowstorm. Donald Brown is a good back, and many fans out there are wishing on stars for Ryan Mathews to return.
The Chargers have played top defenses in the first three weeks of 2014. Mathews 3.09 yards per carry is not as bad as it seems. Would Ryan have had a better game yesterday than Brown? Let the speculations begin. I love seeing #24 out there and I have a ton of confidence in him. The offensive line, who has done an amazing job protecting our QB, has been struggling opening holes in the running game.
The Chargers run game is what it is: a clock-eating, defense-tiring ploy that so far has been successful. Does it matter that we don’t have a few 100-yard rushing games, or for that matter a rushing touchdown? Not yet, but it could prove fatal if it is not brought up to par – especially going against a very good run defense next week against the Jets.
On a side note, I was happy to see Branden Oliver out there. I have been through many debates during training camp about him and while I perhaps have broken my arm patting myself on the back about him making the 53, he is a work in progress. He has the speed and the quickness to compete at this level. That being said, his field vision needs to improve. He will improve and I am very excited for the future of Oliver.
Overall, I am ecstatic about Captain Rivers as well as Pagano and his men. With all the injuries that have been suffered by the Chargers, especially on the defensive side of the ball, I am nothing less than a very proud fan of our Bolts. Rivers is on an MVP track and with the lack of running room, he might need to continue his greatness throughout; a task I am positive he is comfortable with.
Offense – Rivers and Allen
Defense – Pagano and Flowers