On Thursday the news broke that the Oakland Raiders had made their quarterback, Derek Carr, the highest-paid player in NFL history. The new deal is for five years and $125 million, a cool $25 million dollars per season. Carr will receive $40 million guaranteed at signing and $69 million guaranteed over the first three years of the deal.
The deal is a huge leap of faith for the Raiders but they feel they finally have their franchise quarterback in the fold. Quarterback has been the most glaring weakness of this team for almost two decades. The last time they had anyone that could be considered franchise quarterback quality would have been the Rich Gannon years from 1999-2004.
Carr is coming off of a breakout season in 2016 in which Oakland went 12-4. In his three seasons as Raiders quarterback, Carr has a 22-26 win-loss record and is barely over a 2.5-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio with 81 touchdowns and 31 interceptions.
Now the league will be watching to see if Clast season was a fluke or if he truly is ascending to the elite level of NFL quarterbacks. He is certainly paid as if he is elite. To their credit, the Raiders have built a championship-caliber defense. The offense is taking shape with Carr, standout wide receiver Amari Cooper, veteran wideout Michael Crabtree and blossoming tight end Clive Walford as an impressive assortment of weapons for Carr. Add the newest addition in legendary running back Marshawn Lynch to bolster the running attack and you have a scary unit, at least on paper.
While Carr is the richest player in the league at the moment, it won’t last long. Quarterbacks Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers are all in line for raises next offseason. Skill position players such as Le’Veon Bell and Odell Beckham Jr. will also be looking for mega-millions sooner than later.
What do you think? Was the the right move for the Raiders? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
The NFL Network released its annual Top 100 players for 2017. As the saying goes, a picture says a thousand words so here is a noteworthy picture courtesy of NFL Networks’ Twitter page:
“There’s a reason why he’s been doing this for so many years. Absolute beast, monster.”
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) May 9, 2017
last of the true gunslingers, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers made the list at number 73. The Chargers organization retweeted the photo with this reply:
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) May 9, 2017
Looks like the organization is pleased with Rivers simply making the list. Personally, to land at number 73 is a travesty. Is this an individual or a team accomplishment? Considering the list is the Top 100 PLAYERS, Rivers should have been much higher on this list.
Here are my points to back up my claim:
*Rivers finished fifth in the NFL in passing (4,386 yards).
*Rivers tied for fifth in the NFL passes of twenty yards or more (57) and second in passes of forty yards or more (16).
*Rivers was fourth in the NFL in touchdown passes (33) behind Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers.
*Rivers played behind a turnstile of an offensive line (36 sacks allowed) and played the season without a true number one receiver. Keenan Allen was injured in the second quarter of the first game.
*Despite losing a player for the season each week for the first half of the season and the Chargers leading the league in players on IR, no one had to do more with less than Rivers. Even then, eight of the Chargers’ eleven losses were by a touchdown or less.
While Rivers undoubtedly received demerits for leading the league in interceptions with 21, it’s simply because he was the one constant, the one member of the team with the most weight on his shoulders. He gladly took on that weight, suffered the weekly pounding by opposing defenses and sprang back up for more trying to will his team to a win.
That’s leadership. That’s courage. That’s a warrior’s soul. That’s what every professional athlete should strive to be.
Apparently, what that doesn’t get you is much respect from NFL Network…
The Greg One
Currently, many NFL fans have been faced with a very difficult decision. Now that my team has moved away, or will soon be moving away, who should I root for? It seems that the answer should be obvious: Root for anyone you want!
But, alas, it is not that simple.
Unfortunately, right now in “Chargers Country” there is a bit of a civil war. Long-time Chargers fans who feel deeply hurt by their team moving to Los Angeles are not only rooting against the Bolts, they have elevated owner Dean Spanos to the level of Osama Bin Laden on their list of most evil men who have ever walked the earth.
All I have to say to those people is that I understand and feel their pain. I was born and raised in San Diego and I certainly get why you feel abandoned, bullied, and misled. I especially feel for those who knocked on doors, gathered signatures, joined fan groups, et cetera. I also feel for those who live in the county and did not get a chance to vote.
On the other side are the fans who believe that they can move on despite their dislike for Mr. Spanos. They just want to watch and enjoy NFL football and not have the same passion for any other team than their Chargers. Yes, Spanos benefits from their support, but they don’t really care because they put the players above the ownership. To those people I would say that I am in your boat. I have come to grips with the fact that my team has a very flawed owner, but I will continue to root for my Bolts.
Now the interesting group….the undecided. These are Chargers fans who just can’t make up their mind. Should they remain Chargers fans? Or, should they shop for a new team? If they decide to move on to greener pastures, what team should they choose? For those people, I offer some facts to ponder. I hope they help. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular teams in the NFL and why they may or may not deserve your loyalty, love, and hard-earned dollars.
New England Patriots
If you are looking to celebrate championships, this may be the team for you. At least while they still have head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, I would never bet against them. But hold on just one minute before you choose the Pats. Consider the fact that they have been caught cheating multiple times. Everything from filming other teams signals to deflating footballs. I won’t even go into the Aaron Hernandez story. They like to say that they push the envelope. In reality, they rip the envelope open and rely on their popularity and extremely wealthy owner, Bob Kraft, to save them in the end. So far, their plan has been successful. So, you need to ask yourself if you can root for a team that has possible morality issues and one that has most likely been one of your most hated teams for years? If you can get past all this, enjoy the next few years as a winner.
I can’t even believe that I am listing the Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders as a viable option, but here they are. Yes, I have heard many ex-Chargers fans saying that they are switching their loyalties to the Raiders. As always, I believe that is their choice and they are welcome to it. I just don’t understand it.
Let’s be fair. The Raiders are an up and coming team that honestly has a chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy within the next two or three years. That can be enticing to any waffling fan. They have a great, young quarterback, outstanding pass rushers, and exciting play makers. All that being said, they are still the Raiders! If you have been loyal to the Chargers for any length of time, you most likely have a deep-seated hatred for the Silver and Black. But let’s put rivalry behind us for a moment. In my opinion, it makes absolutely no sense for a Chargers fan to jump ship and join Raiders Nation. You are mad at Dean Spanos for not being loyal to his fans, yet you are willing to give Mark Davis a pass? The Raiders have a long history of screwing their fans. They went from Oak-town to Los Angeles (sound familiar), back to Oakland and now they are moving to Vegas. All along they have used cities like Irwindale and Los Angeles as leverage to use against the city of Oakland to force them to build them a new stadium (sound familiar?). It is quite confusing to me why anyone who quotes loyalty as the reason that they are leaving their team would go to a team that is quite possibly the least loyal franchise in sports. But that is just me.
Kansas City Chiefs or Denver Broncos
Good teams. Quality ownership. Chance to win in the future. The only real negative would be that you would be going from hating them to loving them just because you are mad at Dean Spanos. If you can sleep at night, go for it.
New Orleans Saints
I have heard other Chargers fans say that they are going to follow the Saints because of Drew Brees. Yes, Brees is great and he was a fan favorite (more-so after leaving) in San Diego. The problem is that he will only be around for a short time and then you are stuck with this decision all over again. Do you stick with a team you don’t have any passion for? Or, do you become a free agent again.
Los Angeles Rams
Again, I don’t get it. Yes, I have heard the argument that supporting the Rams would be a throat-punch to Dean Spanos. I suppose there is some validity to that. But once again, we are talking about supporting an owner who abandoned his fans. Yet another owner who sees the bottom line as dollar signs, rather than loyalty to those who love their team. Also, an organization that has gone from Los Angeles, to Anaheim, to St. Louis, and back to Los Angeles. Once again, it is your right to make this choice, but to me, your logic is flawed.
If you are old like me, you may think of the first time that they fans in St. Louis lost a team. It was the Cardinals, not the Rams. I’ll admit that the Cardinals have been in Arizona for quite a while now and do not seem to be heading out anytime soon. I think you are safe to root for them, if location is your biggest concern. Arizona isn’t even that far to drive if you want to make an annual trip or two to see a home game. They will also play in Los Angeles at least once a year. I don’t have any reason to like the Cards, but if you do, knock yourself out.
“Sixburgh” knows how to win championships. They must be a fun franchise to watch. They play at a high level year in and year out. They have cool looking uniforms and a unique helmet with a logo on just one side. They do have a history of paying guys who have some pretty serious “character flaws”, but most teams in the NFL can say the same. My favorite memory of the Steelers is watching them go down to defeat to my Chargers in the AFC Championship game, just a week after producing their own Super Bowl video. Makes me smile every time I think of it.
“America’s Team”! You are most likely an American, so it makes sense to like the Cowboys. Right? Seems to me that the Cowboys are one of the most polarizing teams in the NFL. People either love them or hate them. Either way, they have a very solid team and have a real chance to be playing on the next several Super Bowl Sundays. I’m sure there is room on the Cowboys bandwagon (or wagon train in their case). Perhaps before long, you will find yourself as passionate about that star as you were the lightning bolt. Do remember though, owner Jerry Jones came up with the framework for the Chargers and Rams to share a stadium in LA.
This choice was interesting to me. It came up the other day on social media that an ex-Chargers fan was going to root for the Eagles going forward because of Darren Sproles and the recent drafting of Donnell Pumphrey (RB out of San Diego State University). I have no real argument against this choice. Perhaps by the time Pumphrey concludes what is hopefully an illustrious career with the Eagles, the new fans will have found a way to attach themselves to Philly and will continue on. Perhaps not.
This could be the flavor of the month, or it could be a legit choice for free agent fans. Everyone seems to love their owner and there aren’t many negative stories plaguing the roster. They were Super Bowl runner-ups last year (they should have won) as well. So again, good team with a chance to win. Perhaps you can find a way to jump on board. If so, enjoy the ride. It should be fun for a while.
“The Field” would consist of all the other team except the Los Angeles Chargers. These are teams that have no obvious reason to pick them. Sure there are great players like JJ Watt or Aaron Rodgers out there who you may like enough to start following. But beware, players careers are short. Do you really want to be right back in the same spot again in five or 10 years? Perhaps there is a city that is important to your family. Your Dad grew up in Chicago and is an avid Bears fan. Okay, root for “da Bears”. Maybe you are moving elsewhere and your new city or state has a team. Great! Your choice is easy. Maybe you want to pick your team the way you pick your horse at Del Mar. “I really like the colors on this one.” Whatever your method, the choice is yours and no one else’s opinion matters. Peace and love, Baby. Peace and love.
the Los Angeles Chargers (that is so strange to type)
Let’s assume for a moment you are straddling the fence and you just can’t decide what side to come down on. The side that shows Dean Spanos how much you despise him, or the side that shows how much you love the team despite how much you despise Dean Spanos. Notice, I am working on the assumption that the vast majority of Chargers fans, current and ex, share a hatred for Spanos. Anyway, you have a decision to make. Let me see if I can help. First of all, consider the aforementioned teams and whether or not you have any passion for any of them. If you do, problem solved.
If you are one of those “two favorite teams” people, your task is easy. But, if you are like me and do not believe in having two favorite teams, you still have work to do.
Here is what worked for me.
I simply paid attention. I paid attention to what was going on in the NFL. I listened and read about the various news on players, owners and teams. Then I paid attention to how that news made me feel. It didn’t take long before I realized that I was still far more interested in Chargers news than any other team. The more I heard about the players, the more I realized that Dean Spanos means nothing to me. Yes, I realize that every shirt, hat, jersey, or ticket I buy puts money into Dean’s pocket. I just don’t care. Dean Spanos is rich and he will continue to be rich, with or without me. Why should I let him ruin my enjoyment?
It finally hit me last week. There was a build up for the draft and I found myself paying more attention than in recent weeks and checking mock drafts for who people thought the Chargers would pick. Then draft day came and I got more and more excited as the Chargers pick drew near. I can’t say that I had the same level of interest or excitement as I have had in the past. But I can say that I had far more interest and excitement when the Chargers picked than any other team. I even got frustrated as I noticed the NFL network kept going to commercial break before the Bolt’s picks and therefore didn’t have much time to discuss the team or their needs.
Yes, I have decided to stay with my team because I do not care in the least about any other team, and I do not feel the desire to waste all that I have gone through for the past 39 years. That being said, I am not saying that you have to feel the same way. Although, if you are reading this on Boltblitz.com, you still have some interest in the team. That much is obvious.
If you choose to move on to another team, or no team at all, or whoever is playing the Chargers on any given Sunday…good for you. I respect your choice. It is a personal decision for every individual to work out. I hope you don’t waste your time and energy trying to spread your hate to others. Who I like doesn’t affect you in the least. Nor does who you like affect me. Football season will be here before you know it. I hope you find your team and manage to enjoy the season. Remember, it’s a game.
Thanks for reading.
The news of the week for the San Diego Chargers was the acquisition of former Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The Bolts claimed him off waivers Tuesday and released quarterback Bryn Renner to make space on the roster.
With Mettenberger in the fold that makes three quarterbacks at camp vying for the back-up quarterback position behind Philip Rivers. Kellen Clemens and undrafted free agent Mike Bercovici are the other quarterbacks filling out what will be a very interesting camp battle.
Mettenberger, 24, was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Titans. Standing 6’5″, 224 pounds, Mettenberger was a standout quarterback at LSU. Moving into the starting lineup in his junior season, Mettenberger excelled right away. In leading the Tigers to a 10-3 (6-2 in the SEC) season, Mettenberger went 207-352 for 2,609 yards, 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. They lost by one point in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl to Clemson 25-24. LSU finished 12th in the Coaches Poll and 14th in the Associated Press Poll that year.
In his senior season, Mettenberger made another quantum leap forward. Although they duplicated their record from the previous season at 10-3 (5-3 vs. the SEC), Mettenberger went 192-296 for 3,082 yards, 22 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. The Tigers finished 14th in the AP and Coaches Poll as a result.
According to his 2014 draft profile on numerous NFL sites including NFL.com and WalterFootball.com, Mettenberger’s strengths are his outstanding arm strength, size, field vision and working from a pro-style offense in college. In his senior season he had a new offensive coordinator in Cam Cameron calling his plays. Cameron had just left the same position for the San Diego Chargers that offseason. Cameron’s arrival was key in Mettenberger’s senior year explosion.
Mettenberger’s perceived weaknesses were his footwork, work-ethic, long delivery and needing to improve his accuracy. For all intents and purposes Mettenberger had second-round talent. The main catalyst in his plunge into the late rounds was an ACL injury he suffered in the final game of the 2013 regular season. The injury prevented Mettenberger from participating in the NFL Combine. He did shine at LSU’s Pro Day where he completed 90% of his 125 passes.
The discussion of who the heir apparent to Philip Rivers should be has raged on for multiple seasons. We all know Scott Tolzien, Brad Sorensen, Kellen Clemens and Charlie Whitehurst were never going to be the answer to that question.
Mettenberger already has the advantage of knowing the system of new Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt was the head coach for the Titans for both of Mettenbergers’ years in Nashville. The last time the Chargers made the playoffs was the one year Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator. The Chargers leaped from 31st to 5th in total offense in that season. Tennessee offered him their head coach position immediately after the season. He was fired halfway through his second season as head coach.
Whisenhunt brought John McNulty with him from Tennessee to be the Bolts new tight ends coach. McNulty was Mettenbergers’ quarterbacks coach in Tennessee. In a new interview with Ricky Henne of Chargers.com his had this to say about reuniting with his old coaches:
“I was definitely relieved to come to a situation where the future looks good for me. That was a long 24 hours to be waiting so it was great to hear his voice.” Mettenberger was speaking of Ken Whisenhunt, who called Mettenberger immediately after the waiver claim was official. Mettenberger continued. “The first thing he asked me was if I still remember the playbook. Fortunately, I know it really well. He was really excited to get back to work with me. He was the one who drafted me, so it’s worked out really well. It’s awesome to be back with Coach Whiz and Coach McNulty.”
Did the Chargers just stumble onto their quarterback of the future?
Pessimists will point to the fact that Mettenberger is 0-10 as a starting quarterback in the NFL. That is true. What also can’t be disputed is how awful the Tennessee Titans have been over the past two seasons. The Titans were 2-14 the season Mettenberger was drafted and 3-13 in 2015. The Titans ranked 25th or lower in the NFL in rushing yards, passing yards, points for and points against.
Mettenberger had a better offense at LSU than he had in Tennessee. At least at LSU he had Pro Bowlers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. to catch the ball. Alfred Blue and Jeremy Hill were chewing up yards running the football.
Mettenberger is in an ideal situation in San Diego. With his knowledge of the offense and coaches he already has a leg up on Clemens and Bercovici. He now has a better team and an elite, veteran NFL quarterback as a mentor. Rivers’ contract ends at the conclusion of the 2019 season. In three seasons Mettenberger will be 27 and ready to step into the starting spot. There is no pressure to produce right away as there was in Tennessee.
We’ve seen this situation play out with great success when you consider stars like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Rivers himself. All of them watched from the bench for a season or more before their number was called. All of them will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio one day.
The reset button has been pushed on Zach Mettenberger’s career. For the first time since the departure of Drew Brees there appears to be a capable second-in-command waiting in the wings. Is Mettenberger that man? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
While watching the Monday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Chicago Bears I saw something even more disturbing than the final outcome. Don’t get me wrong, the final outcome is terrible disheartening. The Chargers don’t play like a 2-7 team but they are. It’s a cold glass of arctic water splashed across your face. The team in America’s Finest City is not headed for the playoffs. They are speeding towards a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft.
During the broadcast, I saw a graphic for the Top-Five vote-getters for the Pro Bowl. In order they were Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, Devontee Freeman and Rob Gronkowski. Hmmm. The rest of the Top Ten consists of Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Larry Fitzgerald. Do you see what I see? Rather, do you see what I DON’T see?
The top-rated quarterback in the NFL, our very own Philip Rivers, is nowhere to be found on this list.
Rivers leads the league in passing attempts, completions and yardage. He is third in passing yards per game and only two quarterbacks have thrown more than Rivers’ 19 touchdowns. Through nine games, he’s the only quarterback with over 3,000 yards passing. This is all without the benefit of a running game and effective offensive line. Only six quarterbacks have been sacked more than Rivers (21 times).
There is no quarterback more deserving of a trip to the Pro Bowl than Philip Rivers.
The rest of the NFL fanbase is not the cause of my frustration. My frustration lies with the so-called Bolt NATION. Does our nation not exceed 100 thousand members? If so, each of us could vote once and get him in the game. As it stands, we don’t even need to number in the six figures. You can vote for the Pro Bowl participants as many times as you like!
Yes, the Chargers are having an awful season. Yes, we’re all upset because most of us figured the Chargers were set for a double-digit win season and playoff run. There is a lot of blame to go around but one place you can’t lay it is at the feet of Philip Rivers. His effort and desire shows week in and week out. He is the one constant we can count on while seemingly every other player on the team drops like flies around him.
This man deserves our support, and our vote.
The Pro Bowl is an individual award, not an MVP award. Philip Rivers is the MVP of the Chargers and our MVP. Let’s treat him like it and take ten minutes out of your day to go to www.nfl.com/probowl and cast your vote! Do we really want our quarterback to be the first one to lead the league in passing and not make it to the Pro Bowl?!
Let’s not be the fair-weather fans the rest of the league thinks we are and get this done! This is what we signed up for when we took up the Bolts as our favorite team. If we are indeed a NATION, log in and prove it! Vote on your PCs, vote on your phone, just vote! Make our motto…
Thick or thin, Philip Rivers gets in! Let’s GO!!
The Greg One
Danny Woodhead is wide open.
If someone were to have told me, that Philip Rivers would throw for 503 yards, two touchdowns with no interceptions – that Keenan Allen would pile on the 14 receptions for 157 yards AND the Chargers would dominate time of possession but still would lose the game??
I would have asked you to check yourself into rehab.
Leading up to Sunday’s game, there was hardly anybody that picked the Chargers to hang with the Packers. After all, Green Bay was 9-1 against San Diego, a 10-point favorite and had not lost at home since December 22, 2013. There were some sports pundits that made viewers feel that the Bolts were going to star in the 1974 movie “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” However, what was happening before our very eyes seemed to sway more towards the Biblical tale of “David vs. Goliath.”
With career days for Rivers and Allen, visions of a celebration that would be of epic proportion appeared to be a very strong possibility. The game plan implemented going into Lambeau, was planned perfectly. The “dink-and-dunk” theory had shown in the past that it would work against the Packers. And who is better to execute that philosophy than Rivers, Allen and Antonio Gates (9 receptions for 95 yards). The question during the game was not “Can the Chargers offense continue to move the ball?” It was rather, “Can they stop the Packers’ offense?”
Has anyone ever coined the phrase “Offense wins championships?”
It has been said that Paul “Bear” Bryant coined the phrase “Defense wins championships.” I am in total agreement with this statement. With an average offense at best, look at what Seattle has done over the last few seasons with their “Legion of Boom.” Like it or not, people remember great defenses more so than great offenses.
Let me check your football history. Raise your hand if you have heard of:
“The Steel Curtain.”
“Purple People Eaters”
“Monsters of the Midway”
Those teams dominated the defensive side of the ball and won Championships. Of course there are creative offenses that are a household names as well:
“Greatest Show on Turf”
However, outside the St. Louis Rams, no other offensive team listed won a Super Bowl. What does that tell you? What it tells me is that offenses sell tickets and win games, but defenses win Championships. The 2000 Baltimore Ravens and 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were two other Super Bowl winners who had league-leading defenses. The quarterbacks that lead those offenses? Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson, respectively – neither of whom could hold a candle to Philip Rivers
Now back to my earlier question, “Can they stop the Packers’ offense?” The indisputable answer would be “No.”
The defense has improved with personnel, however they continue to struggle; injuries or not. In fact, this passage from ProFootballFocus.com sums it up perfectly:
“The Chargers front seven continues to be completely ineffective against both the run and pass. On the defensive line, not a single player had a pass rushing grade of +1.0 or above. One has to wonder how much more they have to see from Donald Butler (-3.8) until they decide to go with someone else at inside linebacker. On Sunday he was a complete non-factor, collecting one stop in 56 snaps. He has graded negatively overall in every single game this year.”
For a while, the defense showed life in the second half, as Aaron Rodgers could not move the ball; resulting in back to back three-and-outs. Unfortunately until San Diego can consistently stop good offenses from moving the ball, the Chargers will continue to lose in heartbreak fashion. It does not matter how amazing Rivers plays, or how many fumbles Melvin Gordon has coughed up, if they cannot disrupt the opposing team’s offense by mixing up their looks, theirr record will continue to be paltry at best.
There is no doubt in my mind, that this 2015 San Diego team can compete at a high level and go far into the playoffs. Even with a 2-4 record, even with the players being infected by the injury bug, San Diego was still one play away from beating Pittsburgh at home and one play away from going into overtime against the undefeated Packers in Green Bay.
By the way, for those still wondering…Woodhead is still wide open in the end zone.
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
In a game where the Chargers came in as big-time underdogs, the team fought their tails off for 60 minutes.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as the Bolts fell to the Packers 27-20 at Lambeau Field.
Minus a few big plays given up on defense (runs of 25 and 65 by James Starks and receptions of 43 and 36 by Jeff Janis), the Chargers played a great game.
To say that Philip Rivers did all that he could in an effort to leave Lambeau with a victory is an understatement.
Rivers set franchise records for completions (43), attempts (65) and passing yards (503) in the loss. He added two touchdown passes, one each to tight end Ladarius Green and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman.
Though Rivers put up some spectacular numbers, he missed a few throws, overthrowing Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates on a couple of passes. Late in the game with about 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, he also threw a ball straight to defensive back Sam Shields. It would be the second instance of the game where Shields had an opportunity to pick off Rivers, but was unsuccessful at doing so.
Despite the Herculean effort from the 33-year-old quarterback, the offense was not able to put up enough points to beat the undefeated Packers.
San Diego had four plays from the three-yard line in the waning moments of the contest. The offense was unable to punch it in, ending their efforts with an incomplete pass from Rivers to Danny Woodhead to the short side of the field.
The Chargers’ running attack struggled again, mustering up only 60 yards on 21 carries.
Rookie Melvin Gordon was unable to find the end zone for the sixth consecutive game of his rookie campaign, carrying the ball seven times for 29 yards. The running back had a rush of 25 yards toward the end of the first quarter, making his rushing total seem that much more inadequate. What stood out on the Sunday, obviously, was the fact that Gordon fumbled twice, losing one to the Packers’ defense.
He was benched for most of the second half due to his mistakes, per what he told reporters after the game.
Needless to say, his “homecoming game” did not goes as he had hoped.
Running backs Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver also had little impact on the ground, combining for 31 yards on 14 carries. Woodhead averaged just over one yard a carry.
In addition to Rivers, Keenan Allen had a phenomenal game against the Pack, recording 14 receptions for 157 yards. Allen missed most of the fourth quarter after suffering what is being reported as a hip flexor injury. The Rivers-to-Allen combination was hot early and often. The third-year wideout had 11 receptions for 128 yards at the half.
Both Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates contributed heavily in the passing game, as well. They each finished the contest with 95 yards receiving. Gates hauled in nine receptions for the second game in a row since coming back from his suspension. On the flip side, he also had two uncharacteristic drops; one on a fourth-and-three in scoring position. Floyd’s 95 receiving yards were a season-high for the veteran.
Defensively, the Chargers were solid minus giving up the four big plays listed above. They held quarterback Aaron Rodgers to 255 passing yards. Outside linebacker Jerry Attaochu had his second game with multiple sacks in 2015, finishing with two sacks of Rodgers. Defensive lineman Corey Liuget also was able to bring down the quarterback, giving the Chargers’ defense three sacks on the day.
As they have in multiple weeks throughout 2015, the Chargers’ defense had two dropped interceptions, both by Patrick Robinson; this coming one week afterRobinson, Jason Verrett and Jimmy Wilson all dropped possible pick-six opportunities.
One can only hope that the defensive coaching staff will put an impetus on working on ball-skill drills with the defensive backs this week.
All in all, the Chargers worked extremely hard and did an outstanding job in most areas, as head coach Mike McCoy would say. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to prove all of the doubters wrong, as the team fell to 2-4 on the season, four games behind the Denver Broncos in the AFC West.
Although the Chargers have a favorable schedule from here on out, it is imperative that they find a way to limit mistakes and make the most out of each and every opportunity.
If they don’t do something to rectify their ways, the Bolts are doomed to finish below .500 at season’s end.
Thanks a lot for reading.
The Chargers (2-3) travel to Lambeau field this week to face the Packers (5-0) coming off a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers at home on Monday Night. Here are my keys to coming away with a win in Week 6.
1.) Put pressure on Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers, arguably the best QB in the league, is mobile and doesn’t get sacked much (or hit for that matter). In fact, he has been sacked only eight times this season (tied for 9th best in the league) and hit only 19 times (tied for fewest in the league). Rodgers also doesn’t throw many picks, and when he does it’s few and far between. What I am getting at is Pagano needs to call up the blitz and make Rodgers move in the pocket, trying to force him to make some errant throws. If he has all day to stand and read the defense, he will pick this secondary apart and it will be a long day in Green Bay.
2.) Stick to what works
I think the biggest reason why the Bolts lost last Monday was because we went away from what was working, and that was the two-tight end set. The first drive of the game they had Green and Gates on the field together, moving right down the field with ease. Find what works early and stick to it. Whether that’s a two-tight end set, Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead or a Rivers’ QB sneak. Whatever may be working, do not go away from it.
3.) Do not play conservative
Don’t play for a field goal. Do not gameplan and execute not to lose. Play to win. This is the exact game where you need seven points on every drive because on the other side of the field you have the aforementioned Rodgers. The 4th-and-1 opportunities need to be gone for and converted. The Packers are the team where you do not mess around with or the game will be out of hand before you know it. Go for it on 4th and shorts and do not settle for field goals.
Do you agree or disagree with my keys to winning on Sunday? Let me know in the comments below.
Here in sunny Phoenix, you can’t have consecutive conversations on any subject without the Super Bowl being mentioned. For good reason, Phoenix is the center of the universe this week and the game pitting the New England Patriots versus the Seattle Seahawks has all the makings of an epic encounter.
Then again, we thought the same thing about last season’s Super Bowl…
On the first snap of last season’s big game, the ball was sailed over Peyton Manning’s head and it was all downhill from there as the almighty Denver Broncos were boat raced by the Seahawks 43-8.
Are we doomed for a repeat of last season?
Let’s check the similarities. The Seahawks are the power of the NFC, featuring (arguably) the best secondary in the game and a stout defense that keeps opponents off the scoreboard while the offense gets ahead early and forces the opposition to play out of their comfort zone. The Patriots were the top team in the AFC or, perhaps, considered 1 and 1A most of the season when you include Denver in the mix. Both teams finished with identical 12-4 records and first round byes in the playoffs. In the end, the Patriots had the edge due to a 43-21 win over the Broncos. The fact that the Patriots are the AFC representative in the Super Bowl erases all remaining doubt.
The Patriots also feature a deep and talented secondary and the best game planning staff in the league in Bill Belichick and crew. The Patriots offense, like Seattle, is not explosive by definition but they have bursts of scoring that is usually enough to put teams away.
Both teams come armed with a play making quarterback and one star complimentary player. Seattle has Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch. New England has Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Aside from those tag teams, neither offense has a player that strikes fear into the opposition. The question is which tandem will be held in check the best. Both teams have slow, plodding offenses with short rhythmic passing attacks. Neither team has a propensity to fire the ball deep down the field.
The differences are Seattle has a more creative offensive attack with Wilson running the read-option. His ability to extend plays with his legs will create problems for the Patriots. New England has faced one running quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) and no read option teams all season. The Patriots, boring style and all, do average 30 points per game to Seattle’s 24. All their offensive shortcomings are overshadowed by the ability of Brady to make the plays needed to win. Brady is in the argument of best quarterbacks of all time. New England is playing to cement their legacy while Seattle is hoping to create a legacy reminiscent of what the Patriots are doing now. Back to back Super Bowl wins over two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game will go a long way to doing so.
In the end, it boils down to can Seattle disrupt Tom Brady enough to make him average. He’s great when he has time to throw and has established a rhythm. When the pass rush forces him to slip and slide in the pocket he becomes average and prone to making mistakes. Seattle’s defense found its stride at the right time coming down the back stretch of the season as they reeled off six straight wins, allowing six points per game to the opposition. Only one team in that stretch scored more than 7 points.
For New England, the big question is can they stop Marshawn Lynch. Lynch is the most punishing runner in the league and over the course of a game defenders are less and less willing to tackle him head on. The Patriots have given up big rushing games to lesser backs this season. Moreno (132), Knile Davis (107), Chris Ivory (107), Matt Forte (114), Eddie Lacy (98) and Justin Forsett (129) in the Divisional Playoff against Baltimore. Stopping Lynch makes the read-option and play action ineffective which is the Seahawks bread and butter.
Thankfully, this game looks dead even which means we won’t be looking for something more interesting to do before halftime as was the case last year. The Seahawks will shackle Gronkowski for most of the game. He’ll find an opening for one short touchdown catch. Seattle strong safety Kam Chancellor will be the unsung hero of the game. The heartbeat of Seattle’s defense, force multiple incompletions on balls headed to Gronk and without his safety net Brady will falter.
The stingy Seahawks D will force field goals instead of allowing touchdowns in the red zone. Brady will throw for a pedestrian 250 yards and two touchdowns but the pass most talked about will be of the second half pick six he threw to Earl Thomas that broke the game open. One half of the Wilson/Lynch tag team will win the MVP and the ‘Hawks will succeed in going back-to-back by a score of 30-23.
Who you got, Bolt Nation?
The Greg One
When you turn your attention to the football events ON the field this past weekend, there was no bigger story than San Diego beating the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. The Chargers beat, dare I say, dominated the Seahawks in San Diego. Although the final score was 30-21, the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates. When you consider the referees gifted the Seahawks a touchdown by not calling Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin for stepping out-of-bounds during his 51-yard TD run the margin of victory probably would have been greater. The NFL since admitted their mistake but that won’t take the points off the board.
Seattle is at the top of every media pundits power rankings and carry a reputation as the hands down best team in the NFL. That reputation carried over into this season especially after seeing them dismantle the Green Bay Packers, stewarded by a now healthy Aaron Rodgers in the season opening game.
The Packers didn’t do anything to dispel the perception that the Seahawks were the most dominant team in the NFL. Rodgers didn’t throw to the side of the field occupied by Seahawks standout cornerback Richard Sherman one time. Seattle’s pass rush got to Rodgers or kept him on the run all game. For a team expected to go deep into the playoffs, the Packers definitely looked afraid of their opposition.
Seattle cut a path of destruction through the league last season, going 13-3 with the #1 ranked defense leading the way. In the Super Bowl they beat the Denver Broncos who boasted the #1 offense in the league last season by a 43-8 margin. That destruction continued against the Packers in week one. Did they overlook the Chargers? The Chargers did squeeze into the playoffs last season, the last team to gain entry to the postseason. However, in week three the Seahawks host the Broncos in a Super Bowl rematch. The Chargers were just going to be another victim of Seattle’s dominance, right?
In three hours on a 115-degree day in San Diego, the Chargers proved the Seahawks were mortal. In turn, the Chargers just made the Seahawks road back to a championship repeat much more difficult. What did we (and more importantly, coaching staffs of teams who will face Seattle) learn?
1. Seattle is not invincible. Perhaps the Seahawks bought into their own hype a bit too much. It was easy to count San Diego as a win and focus on their home game against Denver. The old cliche’ goes that the Super Bowl champion will get every team’s best shot. That will be true this season as well. The Seahawks learned they can not just roll their helmets onto the field and get a win. Only two teams had scored 30 against this Seahawks secondary in the ‘Legion Of Boom’ era, Atlanta in the 2012 playoffs and Indianapolis in week five of last season. The Chargers become the third to do it in only week two of the 2014 season.
Taking such a defeat so early in the season is a gift and a curse. Seattle knows they can’t steamroll every opponent and will be more prepared going forward. Alternatively, their aura of invincibility is also gone early in the season and they will not have the fear factor to their advantage against the NFL’s stronger teams. If Philip Rivers can light them up for three touchdowns and 284 yards in the air, what will Peyton Manning do?
2. Richard Sherman is not a shutdown corner. We heard the Chargers wideouts say it after the game and they are right. Richard Sherman is an excellent ball hawking cornerback but we all know he plays zone in the Seattle secondary. Sherman does not play man-to-man. He patrols a quadrant of the right side of the field, free to attack any ball or wide receiver that enters it. Unlike Aaron Rodgers the week before, the Chargers and Philip Rivers went right at Sherman and continually completed passes to his side of the field. When he lined up over Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, Sherman was left facing the wrong direction on simple cuts on numerous occasions. Disgusted with himself after the game, Sherman left without talking to reporters after the game. His uninformed reputation as a shutdown corner is now in shambles. Opposing quarterbacks will follow the Chargers lead and go at him instead of away from him.
3. If San Diego can do it, why can’t we? That will be the mantra of the rest of the league after seeing the game tape which has no doubt been sent in triplicate to every offensive and defensive coordinator in the league. Did the Chargers provide the blueprint for beating Seattle? Yes and no. Yes in the sense that the Chargers provided a great example of how to beat Seattle. Ball control offense. Strong running game. Quarterback protection. No in the sense that most teams don’t feature the personnel to be able to pull off that type of game plan.
The Chargers feature an elite quarterback in Philip Rivers. There are few elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Behind a blossoming offensive line, the four man rush Seattle relies on for pressure was neutralized and Rivers had time to pick apart the weaknesses in the secondary. Hall-Of-Fame bound tight end Antonio Gates expertly found the openings in the Seahawks secondary and Rivers got him the ball repeatedly, with Gates logging three touchdowns on the day. Most teams don’t offer as skilled a tight end as Gates to compliment their receiver corps.
Lastly, the Chargers defense was able to keep Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the pocket by blitzing through the middle. As a result, Wilson was not able to step up into the pocket and choose which way to run to elude danger. The defense also stifled the Seahawks rushing attack. Seattle feature back Marshawn Lynch only gained 36 yards in the game. There aren’t many defenses with the ability to contain the man known as ‘Beast Mode’. The Seahawks collectively gained 100 yards rushing with the benefit of the Harvin run which should have been called out halfway through.
4. The Chargers are a dangerous team. The Chargers would probably prefer to stay under the radar but a landmark win such as this against a juggernaut team will change the perception of every team that will face them. Every team from here forward will know the Chargers are capable of beating anybody. San Diego beat Seattle with their own brand of physical, power running, pressure football. They are widely regarded as a finesse, soft team league-wide. Perhaps not anymore.
More importantly, the Chargers now know they are capable of beating anybody. If you can manhandle the Super Bowl champions, who can’t you beat? It’s a great morale win and it’s also great that it comes so early in the season. The Chargers still face a long uphill climb as games against New England, San Francisco, Baltimore and two games each against Kansas City and Denver loom on the schedule.
Too much stock can’t be put into one win but confidence is a reservoir a team can drink from all season long. This is a win that can turn the fortunes of a franchise. The momentum started with the bounce back season in year one of the Telesco/McCoy regime, it continues to snowball with this win. These type of wins lead to deep playoff runs and eventually, Super Bowls.
You’re welcome, NFL.
The Greg One