Before I start here, let me apologize in advance if I repeat the same rhetoric that other writers are saying about our Chargers. I’ll try to touch on some of the key points that maybe others aren’t talking about, and some of the points that are obvious, but with my own opinions.
I saw great play out of Manti Te’o. He was all over the place during the game. Sure, he missed a few tackles and couldn’t wrap up a player now and then, but I have to give credit where it’s due. Te’o was always around the ball and blew up a few plays.
Melvin Ingram was a beast, as usual. Keenan Allen continues to shine, as well. One of my favorite players is Danny Woodhead. This guy continues to amaze me. He’s exciting to watch, as I’m sure you would agree. Realize this as to how heads up Woodhead is: That play where he ripped off 61 yards was never even meant to go to him. He was supposed to block for Rivers but realized that one of the O-linemen had taken care of his block. He jumped out into the open field and gave Philip another target, alerting Rivers to get him the ball. That’s great awareness on both parts.
Of course, one can’t ignore our man behind center, Philip Rivers. At this moment, Rivers leads the league in passing yards with 1,248. Yes, better than Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. People laugh when Rivers is mentioned as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but numbers don’t lie. Out of any quarterback in the league, I would pick Mr. Rivers any day in the two-minute offense, period.
First off, we all know that the O-line is plagued by injury. What’s new? I don’t want to hear it. Every team has injuries. This is why depth, especially at the O-line positions, is crucial to the well-being of our quarterback. The more time he gets, the more success he will have going through his reads and finding that open receiver. This is a problem that has plagued this team for several years going back to the knucklehead Turner era. Although
I just don’t understand why some coaches don’t place more emphasis on bolstering the offensive line, especially for a quarterback like Philip Rivers. He’s not mobile by any stretch of the imagination. Why is Tom Brady of the New England Patriots so successful? It’s because he always has protection, allowing him more than enough time to find his receivers. Hello? Is anyone on the Chargers coaching staff/GM listening?
The coaching staff should give more snaps to the second teamers during practice sessions so they can get acclimated to game situations should they be thrown into the fire. Don’t get me wrong, the coaching staff and the substitutes on the offensive line made the adjustments they needed to, but it shouldn’t have taken a couple of series and sacks to get it right. This also goes for the receivers. The Bolts were reduced to two wide receivers heading into the second half. They absolutely need to be on the same page as the quarterback should something like what happened in this game happen again. If the lesson was learned, you could see the reserve wideouts see more practice time with Rivers and the ones.
I would also like to mention something that drives me nuts and you can give your input, but when the opposing team has a 3rd and long, why in God’s name does Pagano call a prevent and only rush three defenders, dropping everyone else into coverage? This gave Josh McCown forever to find an open receiver and on at least two occasions. They came dangerously close to getting a 1st down, and on at least one occasion put them into field goal range. How about a regular cover 2 zone defense and/or put some pressure on the quarterback by rushing at least four so as not to give him so much time in the pocket?
The Chargers’ special teams play was horrible. This is another sore spot that has plagued this team over the years. I’m not sure what the statistics are on kick and punt coverage, but I can tell you they aren’t very good.
Again, the Chargers are abysmal in sacks, ranking 28th in the league with only five; four of which came in Sunday’s win. Sticking with the defensive side of the football, the Chargers’ defense made Josh McCown look like Joe Montana at times.
Despite being bailed out due to an offside penalty on his first attempt at the game-winning field goal, Josh Lambo missed when the team needed him the most. Although the game would have gone into overtime, the youngster has to convert on such opportunities moving forward.
Malcom Floyd and Brandon Flowers both exited the game with concussions, while Stevie Johnson left the game with a hamstring ailment. That’s really ugly.
In closing, if this game had been played in Cleveland, I’m not so sure the Chargers would have come out on top, but I’m certainly glad they did. Let’s hope the coaching staff can clean things up and right the ship because it doesn’t get any easier.