A football season is 16 games long. If a team is lucky, it can prolong the time of clearing out lockers and getting bodies healthy for at least four weeks beyond the regular season.
For Melvin Ingram, that would be a total of 64 games in which he could have played every September to December of the last four years. Instead, the thorn in his side has been injuries which cost him 19 games; the equivalent of an entire season!
Ingram’s 2013 campaign was supposed to see his statistics spike; after all, free agency saw Shaun Phillips move on to the AFC West rival Denver Broncos while Antwan Barnes joined the New York Jets. That left the second-year outside linebacker to learn from wily veterans such as Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson. Both Freeney and Johnson were known for their work ethic and hard-nosed play. Unfortunately, his sophomore season was over before it had even begun.
Ingram suffered an ACL tear on May 14 during OTA’s. The expectation was that Ingram would be lost for the year and in August he was placed on the Reserve/PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. Fans were elated to see number 54 back on the field in December and ecstatic to have him force a fumble while sacking Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin. Two weeks later in Cincinnati, he intercepted Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the AFC Championship game.
“SupaMelvin” was BACK!! Or was he?
Ingram appeared to make it through the 2014 OTA’s, minicamp and preseason unscathed. That all changed after the September 14 game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. The weekend arrived and brought with it another stint on the Reserve/Designated to Return list. Eight weeks later he was back sporting his blue and gold. It was a deja vu moment – two years with back-to-back injuries and who does he suit against? Both games were at home against none other than those pesky Raiders. San Diego won both contests.
In April of 2015, the Chargers exercised the fifth-year option of Ingram’s rookie contract. His salary for the 2016 season is $7.751 million, per Spotrac. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
Ingram appeared in all 16 games for the first time since his rookie season, collecting 65 tackles, 10.5 sacks and six passes defensed (PD). His career numbers in 45 outings are 143 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 13 PD with three forced fumbles.
The Bolts’ defense needs Ingram to step it up. Adding former Seahawk Brandon Mebane at the nose tackle position is a start. Drafting Joey Bosa, projected to be the bookend on the defensive line opposite Corey Liuget, was a boon. Having third-year man Jerry Attaochu in the mix along with thumper Denzel Perryman provides defensive coordinator John Pagano with chess pieces that he hasn’t had in years.
Ingram has only logged two games with more than a single sack, both coming last year. One was the preseason game against Seattle last year (2) and another 2.5 collected in the win over Miami. Expect that to change.
Should the starting group on the field complement one another as anticipated, I can see this defense lighting up wide receivers and tight ends, stuffing the run and pushing back opposing linemen.
For Ingram to be successful, he must start strong and stay strong. He has to be a leader on defense this season. He needs to set the tone.
Does Ingram outperform his 2015 numbers? I anticipate that he will. Could he get to 14.5? It could be a real possibility given he should be a bit more free to roam with Mebane in the middle at nose.
These guys don’t wear lightning bolts for show. That electricity HAS to find its way into each and every game and I hope that “SupaMelvin” leads the charge.
Thanks for reading!
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
This offseason there was discussion about the very scary potential of Philip Rivers leaving the San Diego Chargers via trade during the NFL draft. There was speculation that the team, after flying out a good number of the offensive staff and front office to Eugene, OR to workout incoming rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, would possibly deal Rivers for the Tennessee Titans’ first-round pick (No. 2 selection overall).
Obviously, that talk is now far off in the rearview mirror, as Rivers was not traded and he was signed to a lucrative contract extension with the Chargers.
Now we’re talking about the potential idea that Philip will run away with the MVP trophy by the season’s end (Most Valuable Player).
Thus far throughout the 2015 season, Rivers has thrown for 2,116 yards, tossing 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. His completion percentage is at 70.0%. He currently leads the NFL in passing yards. Andy Dalton sits behind him in second place with 1,761 passing yards.
It is amazing that ever since he was trusted with the starting quarterback position, Rivers has not missed any action. The 33-year-old has 150 consecutive starts, putting his toughness and sheer desire to win on display each and every Sunday.
Did I forget to mention the offensive line?
Oh, man. They have been quite the project ever since Kris Dielman was lost to injury along with Marcus McNeil. Just this offseason, Rivers lost his center of 11 years, Nick Hardwick. The revolving door at the center spot in 2014 was widely covered by the staff here at BoltBlitz and many other media outlets, as well. This season has begun no different, as the team has played 12 different configurations along the offensive line.
But did that provide a hindrance to Philip’s stats?
Sure, the offense has been transformed into a short, quick passing game, getting the ball out of his hand faster than when under the former offensive coaching regime.
The fact that Rivers breaks a few records here and there, puts on amazing performances, makes unbelievable throws (in a good way), takes massive beatings behind a patchwork offensive line that is still a work in progress and still continues to have his consecutive starts train rolling is just amazing.
I think it’s great for a guy like Rivers — who is still heavily disrespected by incompetent football fans — to be putting up the numbers he has in recent years due to so many factors that would make it seem unlikely for him to do so.
So the question remains.
Is Philip Rivers in the running for MVP?
Well, let me ask you this: if the award was given out today, who deserves it more than San Diego’s No. 17?
Precisely. No one deserves it more than Philip Rivers.
The major thing standing in the way of Rivers continuing down the MVP track is the fact that the team has a record of 2-4. They clearly need to turn it around to keep him in the running for an award that he is certainly deserving of at this point.
Before I end it here, I want to mention that he is also on pace to break two records. Peyton Manning’s record of 5,477 yards is in jeopardy of being broken by Rivers. He is on track to eclipse that by over 100 yards. Another record he can possibly break is Drew Brees’ completions record (468).
I honestly believe that those two records will be shattered by him. I have no doubt about it, and hopefully I’ll see it in person myself down the stretch!
– Richie Farley
Chargers (1-0) travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals (1-0). Here are three things the Chargers must do to come back to San Diego with a win.
1.) Force Andy Dalton to try to beat you by containing the running game
Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard anchor the backfield for the Bengals and they are two very good backs. Jeremy Hill is a big back who is physical, yet elusive. As a rookie, Hill had 1,124 rushing yards (good enough for 5.1 yards a carry) and nine TDs. Last Sunday versus the Raiders, Hill went for 63 yards on 19 attempts (3.3 yards per carry) and two scores. Gio Bernard is the quick, multi-use back. Last season, he ran for 680 yards on 168 attempts (4.0 yards a run) with five TDs and caught 43 passes for 349 yards (8.1 yards a catch) with two touchdowns. Combined, he had a total of 211 touches for 1,029 yards (4.8 yards a touch) and seven touchdowns. Last week, the Chargers gave up 69 rushing yards on 16 attempts (4.3 yards a run) and one TD. That is going to have to tighten up. The Bengals are very balanced on offense and will not be afraid to run the ball down the Chargers’ throat. Contain Hill and Bernard, forcing Dalton to try to beat you.
2.) Get the ball to Danny Woodhead
Danny Woodhead is the key to this Chargers’ offense. He is a matchup nightmare, and a guy who is Rivers’ security blanket that can turn a one-yard gain into a new set of downs. The last time these two teams faced off against one another, Woodhead had 17 touches for 68 yards (4.0 yards per touch) and the offense went for 324 total yards. That day was the Chargers’ first playoff victory under Mike McCoy and the team’s first playoff win since 2008. Woodhead makes the linebackers think more and forces them to play up closer than they normally would, leaving the middle of the field open for a Stevie Johnson or Ladarius Green.
3.) Win the turnover battle
This should be obvious, for many reasons. But for the Chargers, it’s an important one. Limit the turnovers you make, play ball-control offense with the running game and short passes, keep your defense healthy and let Rivers do what he does best, and that’s control the game. Andy Dalton is very “friendly”, and by that I mean he turns the ball over a lot. In Dalton’s four years as a pro, he has 66 interceptions on 2,145 attempts. That averages out to 16.5 a season and just a tad over one a game and one every 32.5 pass attempts. For the Chargers to get the highest chance of a turnover, they must get the lead early and pressure the former second-round signal caller in the passing game. If they do this, I feel very strongly about their chances at victory in Cincinnati.
What do you think are the keys to victory? Let me know in the comments below. Go Bolts!
As the Chargers prepare for a chilly playoff matchup with the Bengals this Sunday, it behooves us all to take a gander back at what transpired between these teams a month ago in San Diego. Though the weather will be immensely different than the first meeting, the players and coaches remain the same. To what extent the offensive game plans for each team change due to the sloppy weather forecast remains to be seen, but these are the PLAYOFFS…both teams will look to their “money” players regardless.
The biggest stat that jumps out at me from the first meeting is the way each team achieved their first downs. The Bolts made a total of 19 first downs: 13 through the air, 5 on the ground and 1 due to a penalty. Conversely, the Bengals achieved their 19 first downs primarily on the ground. Cincinnati racked up 13 first downs by rushing the ball while attaining 6 by way of the pass. The Chargers cannot allow the Bengals to dictate tempo by allowing BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard to consistently move the chains this Sunday. To win defensively, we must stuff the run and put Andy Dalton into known passing situations. By doing so, the Bolts can send additional pass rushers. Our cornerbacks will have a tough time keeping up with Bengal wideouts A.J. Green and Andrew Hawkins, so not allowing Dalton time to sit comfortably in the pocket is paramount to achieving more 3-and-outs.
Nearly all of the other pertinent stats from the first meeting were identical. If our offense can maintain balance, keep feeding Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead the ball and control the clock with quick high-percentage passes, the Chargers have an excellent chance of moving on to the next round of the playoffs. These two teams match up very evenly and should provide for a very exciting, down to the wire finish. What a way to start off 2014!
In the words of Philip Rivers himself…”Keep believing!”
For the first time in four years, the football gods smiled down on the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers entered Sunday as a long shot to snag the sixth seed in the playoffs. They Chargers need a win and a lot of help from other teams. The Ravens needed to lose at Cincinnati and the Jets had to win in Miami to open the door for the Chargers to get into the playoffs with a win over visiting Kansas City.
Things did not start well. Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton threw an interception on the first play and it led to three Ravens points. On the Bengals second possession Dalton threw another interception, which led to another Ravens field goal. On the Bengals third possession, Dalton threw a perfect deep ball to AJ Green to put the Bengals ahead 7-6. From there the Bengals never looked back, leaving the punchless Ravens scratching their heads and out of the playoffs after paying quarterback Joe Flacco mega millions to make sure that exact thing does not happen.
In Miami, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill began the game by leading a touchdown drive. From there, the Jets defense took over, intercepting Tannehill three times and pressuring him many more. Dolphins receivers dropped balls, Tannehill overthrew wide open targets and only completed 20 of his 40 attempts. The Jets won easily. Both games were played in the early time slot so the Chargers knew their fate before they took the field. The right teams lost. The door was open.
All they had to do was beat Kansas City.
In another example of Chargers kismet, Chiefs coach Andy Reid decided to rest his starters. No Jamaal Charles, the man who is second in the league in rushing. No Alex Smith. No Dwayne Bowe, out with a concussion. No Tamba Hali. The Chargers were essentially facing the Chiefs second and third teams. Easy breezy right?
Kansas City took the first drive straight down the field and running back Knile Davis ran 17 yards up the middle almost untouched for the first score of the game. The Chargers answered with a touchdown of their own. Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel threw a touchdown. Rivers answered with a second touchdown of his own. At any time the Chargers defense would start rag dolling these second teamers and cruise into the playoffs. Any time now…
Knile Davis rushed for his second touchdown just before the half and the Chargers found themselves behind 21-14 at halftime in a game that should have been cake. They entered the tunnel to a chorus of boos from the home crowd. They all knew the Chiefs were playing backups and found it embarrassing the Chargers were having such a difficult time dispatching them.
The home crowd neglected to acknowledge three things. It’s still a huge rivalry game against a division opponent. Any game against a division rival is going to be more hard fought than a game against an out of conference opponent. Secondly, they may be backups but they could have an advantage because they’re fresher. They haven’t been taking the week in week out beating the starters are. This was their chance to shine and prove themselves worthy of keeping their jobs as the inevitable roster turnover begins after the Super Bowl. Thirdly, these are the Chargers. We love them to death but they don’t give us easy games. Unless they’re playing Jacksonville or against Eli Manning that is. If you’re a Chargers fan, heart palpitations and anxiety attacks are listed in the program. This game was no exception.
The Chiefs kicked a field goal to go up 24-14 after three quarters. As things looked darkest as minutes ticked away in the fourth quarter, the defense stiffened and the offense scored. Rivers hit Royal for a touchdown. Ryan Mathews picked up chunks of yardage. The defense registered two sacks, they started getting tackles for loss by sniffing out screen passes. Novak hit a field goal with with 3:21 to go to tie the game. The Chargers scored 10 unanswered in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs took the ball and drove down the field. The defense, for all their effort, couldn’t get Daniel off the field. Daniel completed passes of 14, 11 and 24 yards to three different receivers, crossing into San Diego territory and more importantly, field goal territory.
The Chiefs rushed the ball for small amounts of yardage, milking the clock under ten seconds. The Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop ran onto the field. The stadium sat in stunned silence. The Chargers have suffered this kind of fate over and over the last four years, losing in excruciating fashion. The snap was clean, the hold was clean. Succop boomed the ball toward the goalposts.
The football gods smiled.
The kick sailed wide right. The Chargers special teams ran off the field in jubilation. Overtime.
The Chargers won the overtime coin flip and took the ball. After failing to complete on third and two, the Chargers lined up to punt. Then the gutsiest call of the day was made. Direct snap to Weddle. Weddle took the ball and followed the surging offensive line up the middle for the first down, shocking everyone in attendance and the Chiefs themselves. From the Chargers own 28-yard line, it was the last thing you’d expect. Brilliant. Offensive Coordinator Whisenhunt called his best clock killing drive of the season. Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead combined for 9 of the 15 plays the Chargers ran. Mathews picked up big yards on the ground, Woodhead caught passes. Nine and a half minutes later, Novak nailed a 36-yarder to put the Chargers ahead for the first time in the game 27-24.
The Chiefs took the ball. McCluster had a big pass play over the middle for 28 yards but the Chargers defense finally held, and forced the Chiefs into a fourth down incompletion for the win. It was a grueling contest which should have been anything but if you ask anyone, including the wiseguys in Vegas who had the Chargers as 10 point favorites. The Chargers have made the playoffs.
I repeat. The Chargers have made the playoffs!
The football gods finally smiled upon the Chargers and apparently blinded the referees. Due to a new rule in the NFL pertaining to special teams on kicks, a team is prohibited from lining more than six players on any one side of the ball. The Chargers had lined seven men to the left side of the line. A flag should have been thrown and Succop given a rekick. The referees missed it. The Chargers win.
This is the kind of win that lays a new culture of winning. The new regime drafted expertly, signed the right free agents and put a team on the field that could compete with the best teams in the league. The competed and they won against some of the best teams in the league. Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle were both elected to the Pro Bowl. New GM Tom Telesco’s brilliant third round pick Keenan Allen should be the easy choice for offensive rookie of the year.
The new system brought over by new coach Mike McCoy and implemented by new Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has worked fabulously for the most part. Ryan Mathews completed his first 16 game season and posted a career high in yards. There is a lot to look forward to with Telesco in the war room and McCoy calling the shots.
Getting into the playoffs in the first year of the new regime is the best thing that could have happened. In doing so, they created separation from the Norv/AJ years, the last three in particular. We will now see the two regimes separately more so now than we did at the beginning of the season. The foundation is laid. All the Chargers have to do is win.
There will be playoff football for San Diego now, and for years to come.
The Greg One
Good morning, BoltFam! I hope all is well with you and your loved ones. The Chargers invite the AFC North division leading Cincinnati Bengals to Qualcomm stadium for what is another must-win game for San Diego. I thought it would be cool to get an inside scoop from a solid Bengals writer. It didn’t take long for me to decide on who to approach for this interview.
Jason Marcum is the Senior Editor for StripeHype.com. He is a solid writer that is very knowledgeable about the Bengals and all of the NFL. I’d like to thank Jason in advance for taking the time to do this interview. When I received his answers back to my questions, it turns out that he had some questions of his own regarding an interview for his site.
Without further ado, here is my Q & A session with Jason Marcum of StripeHype.com.
1. All over Social media I see NFL fans and Bengals fans alike tearing up Andy Dalton. Although I see some of what they’re talking about when I’ve watched some of his games, he seems to put up good numbers. What’s the deal with Dalton?
JM: He’s far too inconsistent for their liking. He plays like an elite quarterback in October and wins the AFC Offensive player of the month, then can’t get out of his own way in November, throwing 8 interceptions in the past three games. He just needs to be more consistent and not play so erratic. If he can help lead the Bengals to an AFC North title, the fans will lighten-up on him.
2. We here at BoltBlitz were big supporters of Gio Bernard coming out of college. Tell us about how he is used in the offense and what the Charger defense will have to do to contain him.
JM: He looks just like Maurice Jones-Drew did in his rookie year. He’s a jitterbug that uses his low center of gravity to make even the best tacklers miss in space, and his addition has helped the Bengals offense become much more efficient in 2012. His 464 yards on just 104 carries and 42 receptions for 345 yards has kept the offense moving, even when Dalton has played poorly. He’ll likely begin to get more touches going forward as the games become more important. He’s going to be a star soon enough.
3. When I was a staff writer for a different site prior to starting BoltBlitz.com, I wrote that the Chargers should take a flyer on Vontaze Burfict in the 5th round. He, obviously, went undrafted. Talk about his role on the team and his impact on the field.
JM: He’s been the best defensive player for the Bengals this year. He’s got a nose for the football that helps him disrupt or make plays as often as a Bengals linebacker has since Takeo Spikes was still wearing stripes. He needs to improve his coverage skills though, and I’m worried Chargers tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green will expose that weakness.
4. The Bengal defense was so solid and then you lost both Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. How has the defense been performing since, and which players have been inserted in their places?
JM: Brandon Thompson has filled-in very well for Atkins, and his run defense has been arguably just as good. His pass-rushing ability isn’t as good, but Atkins is one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles you’ll ever see.
As for Hall, it’s been more of a committee approach. Terence Newman and Adam Jones play most of the snaps at cornerback, while Brandon Ghee, Dre Kirkpatrick and Chris Crocker rotate into that nickelback spot.
It’s worth pointing out since Hall went down, the Bengals have faced the Jets, Dolphins, Ravens and Browns. Not exactly a murder’s row of passing attacks, and the loss of Hall could finally be exposed on Sunday against one of the NFL’s best passing offenses in San Diego.
5. Is there any way on God’s green Earth that the Chargers can stop A.J. Green? After a big game to start the season against Chicago, he had a run of average performances. He had more than his share of big games following that run too, but Cleveland managed to hold him to 7 yards receiving. What can teams do to limit Green?
JM: Yes. Just double-team him. He’ll get discouraged and not play as hard if he’s getting constantly double-teamed. It’s up to Dalton and the other receiver to force the Chargers out of those double-teams to free-up Green. Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu have to step-up and draw those Chargers DBs away from Green, or he’ll have another sub par performance.
6. Marvin Jones has had a solid year as an under-the-radar player. What kind of skill set does he bring to the table?
JM: He’s a good route-runner and can make some tough catches i traffic and around defenders. But he also is prone to dropping some easy passes that kills drives, and he’s still working to become a complete receiver. But he’s shown enough to make me believe he’ll eventually become a legitimate sidekick alongside Green.
7. Fill in the blank: For the Chargers to beat the Bengals they must_________________.
JM: Beat the blitz. The Bengals are going to bring the house against the Chargers banged-up offensive line. If Rivers can beat the blitz and hit the open man consistently, he’ll have a field day.
On defense, just pressure Dalton and keep Giovani Bernard contained. When the offense is reliant on Dalton’s arm, it struggles. They’re at their best when they’re ahead or within one score and can keep their run-pass ratio balanced.
8. I was an big fan of the Cincinnati 2012 draft class ( Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Devon Still, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Thompson, Orson Charles, Shaun Prater, Marvin Jones, George Iloka ). Who has already stood out from that class and which player has the most upside?
JM: Iloka has really stood out. He’s really stepped-up and become a solid starting safety in his second season, and to get that kind of player in the fifth round is a nice steal.
I think Thompson has the highest upside. He’s playing great right now and should continue to develop more going forward for the reason’s mentioned previously.
9. Final question…. Give everyone your prediction for tomorrow’s game and why the victor will get the win?
JM: I’ve gone back-and-forth on this more than any game this year other than the Bears game, and that was the first game. 13 weeks later, I’m not real sure what to make of this game, but that’s more because of recent injuries to key players for both teams. Vontaze Burfict sprained his ankle in practice Friday and may not play. King Dunlap is probably out for you guys, meaning it will be even easier to pressure Rivers on Sunday. In the end, at home and playing for their playoff lives, I think San Diego pulls this one out late by a 27-24 score.
Thanks again to Jason and be sure to check out StripeHype.com for his interview with me regarding the game.