Three weeks into the young season and I’m extremely impressed with the Mike McCoy rejuvenated Chargers’ offense. Philip Rivers has positioned himself once again as a top-tier quarterback in this league with his 116.2 QB rating. Rivers has led the offense to averaging 26 points a game in the last 3 outings, while throwing for 8 TD’s, 798 yards with only 1 interception. The running back by committee has been effective, but not spectacular, as the three-headed RB’s, Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown, have done a capable job of providing the needed balance to Rivers’ impressive aerial attack.
The problem focuses directly on the Chargers Defense. Once believed to be the strength of the team, this has become their true Achilles heel. The defensive collapse reared its ugly head in all three games this year. The 28-7 lead against the Texans in week one became a distant memory in the 4th quarter of the game, as the Texans used a no huddle/quick huddle approach to quicken the game, driving up and down the field and easily scoring much-needed points. The Rivers’ pick-6 to Brian Cushing didn’t help this already weakened defense that wasn’t able to thwart the Matt Schaub-led offense to a game ending field goal.
This trend was prevalent in the week-2 Eagles game, as Michael Vick exploded on the weak secondary and threw for 428 yards, with 2 TD via the air and 1 on the ground. Shareece Wright was burned consistently by Desean Jackson, as the Bolts were fortunate that Vick misplaced a deep pass to his explosive receiver that should have been another easy TD for Jackson.
The third week tested the Chargers defense yet again, as Titans QB Jake Locker had never rallied for a 4th quarter win in the NFL. That trend was snapped as Locker led a 94-yard drive with a little over 2 minutes left on the clock, and snapped the back of the Chargers with a game winning 34-yard TD pass to rookie-Justin Hunter with 21 seconds remaining.
In all three games the Chargers offense was in control and had dictated a strong pace, including time of possession. The Defensive front, led by Dwight Freeney and Cory Liuget has got to bring the much-needed heat in order to rush the passer. The Bolts secondary has been nicked up with injuries to Shareece Wright and has left them exposed at crucial times. The linebacking corp gets Donald Butler back on the field this week, as well as the debut of high-profile rookie linebacker Manti Te’o. The Defense needs to pick it up and make an impact. It’s up to this Chargers Defense to change these last-minute/second close losses, to wins for the Bolts.