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.
Man, oh man! What a day to be a Chargers fan!!
That was my reaction to the Chargers vs. Falcons game a few weeks back. And if you had Tyrell Williams in your fantasy football lineup that week – he reaped HUGE dividends! I have him on my team in two leagues and he was well over his projections: 15 points against an 8.64 in my Yahoo league while in my NFL League it was 14 versus an estimated 5.70 low.
Crazy to recall that this huge, raw talent was not invited to the NFL Combine. Guess he was considered too raw as he went undrafted.
That’s okay, because the Chargers picked him up. And while he didn’t see much on-field time until late last year, it’s all good.
Fast forward to 2016.
The 6’4″, 205 pounder made his way up the depth chart after an injury in training camp landed Stevie Johnson on IR. Shortly after that, the Bolts’ number one wide-out Keenan Allen was lost for the season. Where did that put Williams? Squarely in the starting line-up along with slot receiver and off-season signing Travis Benjamin.
During training camp last year, Chargers’ signal caller Philip Rivers made mention of how much Williams reminded him of Malcom Floyd; the way he moved, almost as if gliding his way down the field.
He is becoming adept at using that big body and 4.38 second speed to fly across the middle or along the sidelines. Through 10 games, Williams career stats are 43 catches for 720 yards and four TD scores. The Falcons game saw him mark career-highs in both targets (7 of 10) and receiving yards (140). To date, he is ninth in yards after the catch (YAC) with 317. That breaks down to an average of 7.4 YAC.
Those are all great. There are, however, a couple of things that Williams needs to tweak. One is his sideline awareness.
Early in the second quarter, first and 10 from Atlanta’s 49-yard line, Benjamin threw the ball towards Williams, who caught it and ran. A 22 yard bomb. While the toss took many by surprise, it was an awesome catch…except that it was called back incomplete. A simple nuance – dragging his right toe as he was going out of bounds would have been the difference of another set of downs rather than the challenge that followed. Second and 10 at Atlanta’s 49 yard line rather than first and 10. Sigh. The Bolts kick a field goal to cap that drive.
Williams was kind of quiet in the second half (3/4, 27 yds) as San Diego continued to run the ball with Gordon and began mixing Inman into the offense more. Williams’ last catch of the day converted a 3rd and 10 at the Falcons’ 15 yard line into a Chargers’ 1st and goal at Atlanta’s 5-yard line early in the fourth and Josh Lambo kicked a chip-shot to pull the Bolts’ within three.
The thing with Williams is that he is extremely adept at picking up those yards after the catch, much like Malcom Floyd was prone to do when Rivers was putting the ball up for him to nab. In just his second year, Williams and Rivers have quickly developed a rapport in which when No. 17 fires a bullet in his direction, he is confident that No. 16 is getting his hands on it. The game is not too big for him as he has continued to build on what began last December – opportunity knocking due to Floyd having to leave the Denver game. He hauled in his first NFL touchdown that day in front of Broncos’ corner Aquib Talib.
He hasn’t looked back since.
So what does Williams need to do at this stage of his development? One thing he MUST do is work on his route running. For example, we have all seen how at least a couple of times throughout a game he misses the option route. Those miscues just give Rivers fits. So far there have been 11 times where the chance for better field position has resulted in the ball not being in his hands. Overall better recognition of where the defender is in conjunction to when/where Williams should break or how deep into the route before he does will come with repetition. He needs to get a quicker break off the line of scrimmage also.
When Keenan Allen went down week one, it was Williams’ turn to step up. At that time, Rivers stated to Michael Gehlken (SD-UT) “We need him to catch a bunch of balls this year — a bunch of balls and have some huge days and big gains.”
From the apex of Atlanta to the debacle in Denver, Williams appeared to be hampered a bit in Mile High Stadium. Battling a knee injury had his status questionable all week, so perhaps limited practice time may have affected him in his running and timing ability. A tipped ball off his hands led to a 49-yard interception-TD by Bradley Roby and gave the Broncos the lead late in the second quarter. On the Bolts’ next series, Williams tweaked his knee again going after a pass and was done for the day. Targeted six times, he hauled in a lone catch for four yards.
Though still having a sore knee with minimal practice reps, Williams hauled in six Rivers’ passes for 65 yards and a score this past Sunday against the Titans. This week versus Miami, with fellow wide-out Travis Benjamin inactive with his own knee injury, Williams’ stat line was 5/125 and a TD. It could have been more if not for at least twice where he didn’t even look back to Rivers to recognize that the ball was headed in his direction. Or because he let the defender beat him to the ball and didn’t fight for it, thus causing an interception.
The chemistry between Williams and his signal caller continues to evolve with each rep in practice and on the field. After the Thursday Night game against Denver two weeks ago, Rivers told Tom Krasovic (SD-UT) “Tyrell, as you saw, has the potential to make every play. There’s not a play physically that he can’t make. It’s just a matter of continuing to grow as a receiver – running (optimal) routes.”
They say knowledge is power. Stepping in to fill the shoes of your team’s number one receiver at a moment’s notice shows one’s mettle to teammates and coaches alike.
So far, Tyrell Williams has proven he is up to the challenge. He MUST continue to do so for team to have any kind of chance at winning games.
Hopefully all those people – those would be the voices of last season which were scathing at times – are eating their words this season with regard to Melvin Gordon. Bust, you say? Maybe that was a bit premature.
Why? First a little bit of Gordon’s background.
There was speculation aplenty when Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco and the San Francisco 49ers swapped spots in the 2015 NFL Draft. Telesco moved from 17th position to 15th and took Gordon. Many fans were disconcerted, some even loudly outraged, that the running back pick was Gordon and not Todd Gurley. Personally, I felt that with the Bolts needing a better running back than Ryan Mathews had been, plus the fact that Gurley was still rehabbing his surgically repaired knee, it was a good choice.
What wasn’t there to like? Gordon finished his career at University of Wisconsin-Madison having played in 45 games where he had 631 carries for 4,915 yards and 45 TDs. As a receiver out of the backfield there were 22 catches for 228 yards and four TDs. In his senior year, the former Badger hauled in 19 receptions for 153 yards and three TDs while also accumulating 343 carries and 29 TDs for 2,587 yards (second most in the FBS). He also had six games of 200+ yards, a school record.
Being chosen as a first rounder is a huge responsibility coupled with as much, if not more, expectation. Not just the expectation of teammates and coaches, but also what the individual places on themselves. As a rookie the playbook is just one part of the whole; the speed of the game is vastly quicker and the majority of guys you suit up with are playing at a level considerably higher than your own.
Contributing factors to Gordon’s lower-than-anticipated numbers were the woes of the offensive line play of the Chargers. The team went through 24 O-line combinations. Play-calling was WAY too predictable. The line could not create holes on a consistent basis for the rookie to run through. Perhaps the biggest disservice to Gordon was the fact that his entire career at Wisconsin he had a fullback in front of him, yet there was no such position on his new team.
It was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
This year saw a change at offensive coordinator as Frank Reich exited San Diego for Philadelphia. Ken Whisenhunt returned and brought with him the hope for a more productive running game. At the end of his 2013-14 stint as OC, San Diego had the No. 5 offense overall and was 13th in rushing. In 2015, the team was ranked ninth in total offense and they were 31st in rushing. Gordon was ranked 37th amongst all running backs.
With Whisenhunt, Gordon seems to have flourished. Through eight games (no update to include week nine yet), NFL.com has him ranked twelfth amongst running backs with 572 rushing yards (161 carries) and 219 receiving yards (24 catches). Including week nine stats, Footballdb.com has Gordon listed in the No. 3 slot behind Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott (891 yds) and Tennessee’s DeMarco Murray (807 yds). Gordon has logged four games with over 100 combined rushing and receiving yards: Jacksonville 120 yards, Atlanta 121 yards, Denver 155 yards and last week at home against Tennessee he racked up a whopping 261 yards.
Even better is the fact that after nine games, Gordon is leading the league with 11 touchdowns. After not crossing the goal line once last year, the guy that many called a “bust” is number one in touchdowns scored!
The early season loss of Danny Woodhead, one of the best pass-catchers out of the backfield, is part of the reason for the uptick in Gordon’s numbers. When Woodhead went down, and Branden Oliver out for the year since pre-season, it meant that Gordon had to step up his own game. It had been stated several times from OTA’s through training camp that he appeared more confident and sure of himself. Now, HE is the one taking the hand-off from Rivers in those 3rd down conversion scenarios when the call is for a run. HE catches some of those 3rd and long passes, and HE is the guy scampering in when they are in the red zone. Except of course for the Broncos game when he should have been given at least ONE shot from the 2-yard line to tie the game and Whisenhunt called for four straight pass plays.
Gordon has the vision this year that he was lacking throughout his rookie campaign. Having Derek Watt, his fullback from Wisconsin, blocking in front of him in games has helped. Less turnover along the offensive line has also made it easier to get off the line of scrimmage. He has fumbled twice this year versus the six from a year ago. The frenzy of 2015 has slowed a bit in his second year.
Gordon has been running so well that after last week’s Titans game in which he accumulated 196 rushing yards, 65 receiving yards and darted in for another rushing TD, the second-year back was nominated for, and won, both the AFC Offensive Player of the Week and the Castrol Clutch Performer of the Week!! Take that, all those Melvin Gordon haters of 2015! Not so much of a bust, after all, is he?!
My prediction is that Gordon will be the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Chargers since LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 1,110 in 2008; LT had 11 TDs that year and 154 receiving yards. Gordon needs only 232 yards to hit the 1,000 mark in rushing. If he continues at the pace he is on now, he will exceed that number. As of this writing he has already reached 1,032 yards combined. I anticipate he will score a total of 18 touchdowns and amass 1,300 rushing yards by season’s end. Bold? Perhaps. But I think he is up to the task.
Now if only he can continue to get the ball put in his hands in those short red zone TD situations!
As Chargers fans are emotionally recovering from the team’s dramatic overtime victory over the Falcons in Week 7, let’s put Sunday’s big win in perspective. There are three different areas about Sunday’s game that shows us as fans that our team is not going to suck as bad as they did the first few games of the season.
- The comeback win itself – One thing that the Chargers could not do when they started this season was finish games. Even though the Bolts are in the top-5 of the entire NFL as far as points scored before halftime, they still are near the bottom, if not dead last, in the point-differential in the fourth quarter. Sunday’s game was different as the Chargers were down 27-10 in just the second quarter. It seemed a very daunting task to complete that sort of comeback with this team, They used to be the only team in the national football league that could have a three- or four-touchdown lead, and their fans would still be on edge like it was a one or two touchdown lead. Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers showed great resilience, creating a daring comeback that would eventually end in an overtime victory.
- Defense – The defense was the unspoken heroes of this game, particularly Joey Bosa and Denzel Perryman. One thing that is overlooked about this game was that the Atlanta Falcons did not just defeat both the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos. They also are the number one scoring offense in the national football league, even earning the praise of San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano. Who stated , “I looked in the dictionary at the word explosive, and when I pulled it up, a picture of the Falcons showed up.” This is very large praise for one team to give to another. So what ended up happening? In the first half, Atlanta scored 27 points, one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown, and three field goals. They also scored on a fumble recovery. However the narrative changed in the second half, as the Falcons, this super high-powered offense, only managed to score 3 points in the ENTIRE second half PLUS overtime. This is a very large feat, especially against a team like Atlanta who has not scored less than 21 in any game this season, almost racking up 50 points versus the NFC champion Carolina Panthers.
- Special Teams, Although there was the mix-up on the kickoff in which Griff Whalen misread the ball and came out of the end zone instead of just letting the ball roll in and giving better field position to the offense. The special teams in this game actually did really well. After all, it was special teams that won us the game in overtime. It looks like having Kellen Clemens hold the ball on the field goal attempts made a world of difference in our special teams play. Also it doesn’t hurt that the punter Drew Kaser was actually able to kick the ball further than a little girl serving in her little league soccer match. The only times the Falcons started their possession on the Chargers side of the field were because of turnovers and not because of a bad punt or a bad kick, which is a huge bright side.
It seems like there are a lot of things that worked out this past Sunday, not to mention the awesome day that Melvin Gordon had two rushing touchdowns, and a receiving touchdown while averaging 8 yards after the catch. He also made a heads up running play that kept the Chargers hopes alive. It’s beginning to look like the San Diego Chargers are starting to gel, however only time will tell. From what I saw on Monday, I can see the Chargers making the wildcard, if they keep that resilience, and nothing goes too haywire, this team should be in good shape.
News out of Chargers Park is that ANOTHER player is lost for the year due to injury.
Monday we learned it is defensive end Caraun Reid. And as has been the sickening norm for this team, it was an ACL tear to the big end’s left knee.
Reid sustained his injury in the first quarter of the Atlanta game after being hit in his lower leg as he planted his foot. Linebacker Denzel Perryman was heading for the pile and just caught Reid’s knee.
Claimed off waivers from the Detroit Lions roster, the 6’2, 302-pounder (Princeton, round five of 2014 draft) has been with the Chargers for about six weeks. Filling in while Joey Bosa (2016 draft first round #3) nursed his sore hamstring, Reid has been a contributor on the defense. In 103 snaps he collected five combined tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
That notable highlight occurred in the week three game at Indianapolis. Rookie linebacker Jatavis Brown strip-sacked Andrew Luck and Reid scooped up the ball, taking it to the house 61 yards and tying the game at 13 all.
While announcing Reid’s situation, McCoy said “Caraun came in on the very first day and did an outstanding job. He’s a smart player that picked our system up in a hurry and made some big plays for us.”
If anyone is counting, including Reid, that makes TEN – yes, I said TEN – players lost to season-ending injuries. Five of those ten are to the knee and have occurred in the last seven weeks. Here’s the long and incomprehensible list:
Keenan Allen – torn right ACL, week one vs the Chiefs
Danny Woodhead – torn right ACL, week two vs the Jaguars
Jason Verrett – torn left ACL possibly sustained in the Jaguars game
Nick Dzubnar – torn right ACL, week four vs the Saints
And of course, Caraun Reid from yesterday.
Though it was not his ACL, the Bolts lost Manti Te’o to a torn left Achilles’ tendon early in the Colts game.
On top of those, what about the non-contact injuries that besieged the team before the 2016 campaign even began:
wide-out Stevie Johnson tore his meniscus in training camp
tight end Jeff Cumberland was lost to a torn Achilles’ during the pre-season game against Arizona
rookie guard Donavon Clark tore his right ACL in the Arizona contest
change of pace back Branden Oliver had his right Achilles’ snap during the Minnesota game
It is ONLY Week 7 and that list is scary!! I don’t know if there is any other NFL team playing right now that has had the upheaval to their roster that San Diego has endured. There are still nine weeks to go to the end of the season.
I shudder to think what the “football gods” have in store for this group of men and the accursed injury phenomena as time rolls by. Every time a man goes down, I cringe and pray it is just a minor hiccup and they’ll be back quickly.
Time for the CBA to be re-evaluated. Some teams don’t lose any players, some one or two. But to have TEN is like looking at an emergency room full of wheelchairs!
Sorry to see your name added to that list, Caraun Reid. Your presence on defense will be sorely missed.
Here are the three things the Bolts must do if they want come away with a win on the road in Week 7.
1.) Score point by point
The Chargers probably won’t shut down Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and the rest of their weapons, so they will have to score, score, score if they want to avoid a blowout.
2.)Get pressure on Matt Ryan
If you let Matt Ryan sit there with all the time in the world, he will pick you apart. The Chargers have struggled this season in getting pressure and actually getting to the QB. Being without situational pass rusher Jerry Attaochu this week, they will need someone to step up (where are you Melvin Ingram?)
3.) Play Loose
This means, don’t try to do too much. The Chargers struggle on the road and struggle versus good teams. Well, versus the Falcons that is two things into one. The Falcons went into Seattle last week and almost won. Don’t try to force plays and just go with the flow.
What are your keys to victory? Let me know below!
Zak Darman (@WilMyersGOAT)
The staff at BoltBlitz.com gives their takes and predictions to Sunday’s upcoming match-up versus the Falcons.
Zak Darman: This should be a high-scoring game. Both teams have good offenses. The Chargers have a better defense but they don’t really have anyone who can stop Julio Jones. Benjamin isn’t a lock to play, and without him their receivers are Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, and Griff Whalen (yes, I had to go to the team’s depth chart to even put him down). Hunter Henry gets another touchdown and Rivers goes for 300+ yards but comes up just short. Although teams lose about 70% of the time the week after playing the Seahawks…. Falcons 35-31.
Chris LaFurno: Late Julio game-winning touchdown and Chargers offense can’t answer back as Atlanta wins a nail biter. Falcons 37 Chargers 34.
Michael Brazeel: Rivers will have to go length of field in :40 with no timeouts, as usual, and come up short. Falcons 35-31.
Corey Decker: The Falcons are coming in with a chip on their shoulder so expect them to come out firing. Falcons 34-28.
Travis Blake: I’ve been feeling all week that the Bolts will start slow and sluggish in this one. That’s probably coming from the fact it’s a mini-bye week for the team, and a later than usual start for an east coast game (game time is 1:05 PM PST). The question is can they overcome a slow start and finish out a game strong, instead of leaving us all with that familiar feeling of they screwed something up, or almost did? I believe this defense will continue to build off its improvement in the Bronco game and stop the run. The Bolts will get the running game going and pull off several long drives that quiet the crowd. Bolts win their first road game of the year. Chargers 31-24.
Laura Leech: High scoring game with two explosive offenses. Chargers defense is not facing a sub-par OL like they did against Denver. That extra rest from a Thursday game should help a little, but flying to the East Coast is never easy for any team. It will come down to which defense can cause the most turnovers. Unfortunately, though, Falcons get this one. 38-34 Falcons.
Brian Scott: The defense for the Bolts is playing at a high level and with confidence. Ryan gets sacked multiple times. Air show begins and ends with Rivers throwing his 4th touchdown pass. Gordon scores and gets 80 yards. Chargers finally win back to back games since 2014. 41-31 Bolts.
Chris Hoke: The Falcons start the game driving down the field on their first possession and scoring on a TD to Julio Jones. The bolts respond with a long drive in which we are forced to settle for a Lambo field goal. This is repeated till the second half in Which its 14-6. Chargers come out in the second half and MG breaks away for a huge TD run. It’s wire to wire from this point where the bolts go for it on 4th down. MG gets stuffed and the rest is history. The Falcons hang on 35-29.
Cheryl White: Been thinking all week that this is going to be a tough one, too. Aforementioned trip to East Coast and later start time may be detrimental. I would point out that this team did go to Baltimore and was the first west coast team to win there, although that was 2014. Downside, no Slayer/Woodhead/Verrett this time. We do have Gordon who is running better plus Henry; and lets not forget Bosa. If he can’t get to Ryan maybe he pressures him enough that someone else can. Hayward and Phillips in the secondary though versus those WRs are challenging. Atlanta’s OL is tough and their HC knows a thing or 2 about defense. There better be a damn good game plan in place. Don’t for the love of God go prevent defense or stop running Gordon. Have some guts and get after it because Atlanta WILL capitalize if you allow them to. 38-35 Bolts.
Mike Pisciotta: Chargers will again open an early lead and go conservative. McCoy, Whiz and Pagano love to sit on leads, and they will piss away another one. 37-31 Atlanta in overtime.
Will McCafferty: Honestly, I’m far from confident this week. I felt better about he Denver game. This reminds me of the New Orleans game with a higher power offense. It should be a shootout as both teams can move the ball. Hopefully, the Chargers can get the ball in the end zone and not settle for field goals. Atlanta should be able to score as well. Chargers 38 Falcons 34
Dave Peters: The Chargers actually play a game well from start to finish in this one. This is one of those games where no one, for the most part, expects them to win. The Chargers’ offense outpaces Atlanta, as Hunter Henry scores for the fourth consecutive game and Philip Rivers throws for over 300 yards and three scores. Bosa gets his third and fourth sacks, respectively, while Denzel Perryman recovers a fumble and takes it to the house. Bolts 41 Falcons 27.
The San Diego Chargers travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons for a Week 7 tilt in what will be a very difficult game on the road.
In an effort to provide you with a little insight into the Falcons and their team, I reached out to Scott Carasik of Blogging Dirty (Fansided blog covering the Falcons) and Sportsnaut.com.
Carasik has been writing about the Falcons since 2012 and the NFL and NFL draft since 2010.
1) Covering the Falcons thus far in 2016 has probably been very enjoyable, seeing as the team is off to a 4-2 start, leading the NFC South and boasting the league’s No. 1 scoring offense. What can you attribute to the team’s success in the early portions of the season?
Matt Ryan has full command of the offense that he was struggling with at times in 2015. However, the biggest offseason addition of Alex Mack to play center was huge for the Falcons. Now, Ryan doesn’t have to worry about setting protections or blitz pickups when the offense lines up. Mack also has allowed the line to run block much, much better. This gives the Falcons a great combination of Devonta Freeman running the ball and everyone else going out to catch passes.
2) Wide receiver Julio Jones is arguably the best wideout in all of the NFL. What can opposing defenses do to limit his production on game days? Or can they?
You can limit him, but it’s at a point where the offense is pick your poison. Sure, you can limit Julio Jones with double teams and brackets and matchup zones. But you basically leave the rest of your defense to be burned by the multitude of options the Falcons have at tight end, running back and wide receiver. Everyone has plays that will take advantage of their strengths and weaknesses and will get utilized at some point in the season.
3) Sticking with the Atlanta wide receivers, talk a little bit about the addition of Mohamed Sanu and his role in the Falcons’ offense.
Mohamed Sanu has been a very solid all-around addition. He’s a good blocker in the run game and can create big plays when need be. He hasn’t been super involved with the offense just yet, but that’s more to do with his injury situation more than anything else.
4) The running back duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman provides one of the most dangerous backfields in football. With Freeman handling the majority of the carries and Coleman proving to be a threat as a receiving option, how does Atlanta utilize the two backs in their offense?
Essentially, Freeman plays a role similar to what Brian Westbrook used to play for the Eagles. He gets the bulk of the carries, pass protects and catches the ball out of the backfield. Coleman plays a role similar to Darren Sproles or Reggie Bush. He is on the field for important short yardage carries and will get motioned out to the slot or out wide as a receiver or will catch the ball out of the backfield as well with the goal to get him in open space. Atlanta has done a great job to utilize both.
5) Matt Ryan is off to a scorching hot start in ’16, leading all quarterbacks in passing yards (2,075), yards per attempt (9.9) and quarterback rating (117.9). He is second in the league in TD throws (15) behind Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (16). Can Ryan remain this hot throughout the season, and what should Chargers fans look for with him under center regarding how he runs the offense?
Expect the unexpected. Before every play, I used to have a good idea of what the play call was and who it was going to because of how much I’ve watched Ryan in the offense. This year? I have no clue what the play call is and rarely do I know what to expect. That’s what makes him dangerous. Just when I think the Falcons are going to pass it in a Julio-based design, they go to a play-action deep to one of the tight ends. The play design is just crazy this year.
6) Defensively, outside linebacker Vic Beasley leads the Falcons with 4.5 sacks on the year, surpassing his mark of four sacks during his rookie campaign. How is Beasley used to get after quarterbacks and what flaws does he have in his game?
Beasley is normally just rushing from a nickel left end spot. He’s been a good fit there, but he is very one-dimensional right now as a speed rusher. His best move is a dip-under to the outside shoulder. He’s solid against the run too. He’s not close to reaching his potential though. He still has to figure out some counter moves.
7) I was a big fan of strong safety Keanu Neal coming into this year’s draft. His physicality certainly caught my eye as soon as I started to watch film on him. How has he looked during his rookie year and is there a defender — past or present — who he reminds you of?
Neal has been excellent as a rookie. He reminds me a lot of what William Moore was early on. He’s not the fastest safety and not the biggest safety, but he plays smart and his instincts put him in the right place at the right time. Plus, he can matchup well with tight ends in coverage if he’s actually used there.
8) Veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney, formerly of the Colts and Chargers, signed with the Falcons earlier this year. What kind of impact has he made and does he still have gas left in the tank?
Freeney definitely has gas left in the tank and is a good pass rusher even still. The biggest impact he has made is helping Beasley develop his primary pass rush move. Eventually, Beasley will learn that spin and Freeney and Beasley will dominate teams together.
9) Can you please give the fans a few under-the-radar players which they should look out for on Sunday?
Deion Jones is seemingly under the radar. But he and De’Vondre Campbell have been keys to the defensive improvement this season and should continue to help the defense turn into an above average unit before the season ends. They could be essential in stopping the passes to your tight ends. On offense, the Falcons offensive line as a whole is why things work. Jake Matthews, Andy Levitre, Alex Mack, Chris Chester and Ryan Schraeder all are playing exceptionally well as a group right now even if some have individual lapses at times.
10) Lastly, who wins this game and why?
The game is in Atlanta. If I had to guess, I’d say the Falcons win it 35-28 in a similar fashion to the Oakland game. They get up early and are winning by two scores heading into the fourth quarter and goes back to the prevent to close the game out. San Diego is a good team. Atlanta is just at home and a better team.
I would like to thank Scott for taking the time to do this interview and providing the Chargers fans with a little insight into his Atlanta Falcons.
Although I hope he is wrong about the final score, I do appreciate him giving his thoughts on the Chargers-Falcons contest.
You can find Scott’s work at BloggingDirty.com, Sportsnaut.com and on Twitter (@CarasikS). He also keeps track of the 2017 NFL draft order — which is updated weekly in a spreadsheet format — here at this link: https://t.co/97PiBmB1K7.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave Booga Peters
For the first time in what seems like forever, the Chargers’ injury report does not seem to be too overwhelming.
As opposed to having a plethora of names on the report, the list features four players who will either miss the game or are questionable.
The three-game stretch that began with Denver last week, a game in which the Chargers won 21-13, continues with a road trip to Atlanta and then ends at Mile High in Denver. This run is critical when it comes to determining whether or not the Bolts can turn around their disappointing 2-4 start.
- SS – Jahleel Addae Clavicle
- OLB – Jerry Attaochu Ankle
- CB – Brandon Flowers Concussion
- WR – Travis Benjamin Knee
The fact that Attaochu is out this week is a bit concerning, but it is not the end of the world. Though the linebacking corps is getting thin both inside and outside, Attaochu has been relegated to pass-rushing situations this season.
His presence on passing downs will be missed, but the Chargers will run with Melvin Ingram and Kyle Emanuel as the usual starters with Tourek Williams coming off of the bench.
Veteran cornerback Brandon Flowers will miss his fourth consecutive game for San Diego. He has been dealing with concussion issues for a month now. The team has gone on the record saying that he is getting closer to joining his teammates in practice and on game day, but that time is not now.
Seeing wideout Travis Benjamin listed as questionable is a big issue. With the Chargers already rolling out a depleted wide receiving group, Benjamin’s playmaking ability would certainly be missed should he not be able to play on Sunday.
If Benjamin is unable to play, the team would trot out Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman and Griff Whalen. Calling up Dom Williams from the practice squad is not out of the equation.
One thing of note on the injury report is that inside linebacker Denzel Perryman was a full participant in practice for all three days this week. Perryman has been dealing with a shoulder ailment the last few weeks, and a healthy No. 52 should pay dividends this week against a dangerous Falcons’ offense.
The Chargers need all healthy hands on deck for this week’s game in Atlanta. The Falcons are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, boasting a 4-2 record, the league’s top scoring offense and leading the NFC South.
The Bolts must not get behind early in this one, or it could be a long day for the fellas in lightning bolts.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave Booga Peters
When Branden Oliver left Sunday’s game with an obvious Achilles injury, Bolts fans, as well as the team, were faced with the question of who would fill in for the third-year back.
Monday, that query was answered when it was announced by chargers.com that the team had claimed running back Gus Johnson off of the waiver wire from the Atlanta Falcons.
Johnson is a 5-foot-10, 215-pound running back (Stephen F. Austin) who went undrafted in 2015. He was initially signed by the Dallas Cowboys and spent time on their practice squad until he was released and subsequently picked up by the Falcons. In two preseason games with Atlanta, Johnson collected 60 yards on 14 rushing attempts (five for first downs) with zero touchdowns.
The Chargers currently have Kenneth Farrow (5-foot-9, 219 lbs) as the only depth behind ball carriers Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead as the team just stated via chargers.com that Dreamius Smith was waived on Tuesday.
Farrow’s preseason numbers are 16 rushes for 60 yards with five of his runs ending as first downs. Though the former University of Houston (2016) back did not see any on-field participation against the Vikings on Sunday, it could be that his stature, being so similar to Oliver’s (5-foot-7, 208 lbs), may have swayed the coaches into Farrow still being on the roster.
It looks like Thursday’s preseason game against the 49ers will determine who ends up taking the No. 3 spot in the starting running back rotation.
In the meantime, welcome Gus Johnson to the San Diego Chargers.
Thanks for reading!