The staff here at Boltblitz.com gives their takes on what they think will happen today versus the Titans.
Zak Darman: The Titans record is better than their talent says. What that means is they aren’t a team that should be 4-3. They have Murray on offense, and that’s really it. Delanie Walker didn’t practice Friday so it’s safe to assume he won’t play this week. They have been the team who has given up the most 20+ yard plays this season, and I think one of Travis Benjamin or Tyrell Williams will go for 100+ yards. Chargers 31, Titans 10
Charles LaFurno: Late Mariota drive with a TD pass to Murray seals it as the Bolts lose in powder blues and we all officially hop on the tank wagon. Titans 24, Chargers 20
Michael Brazeel: This is a game Chargers have to win at home. Rivers has big day against this secondary, and defense gives Mariota fits. Bolts win 34-21
Martin JC Jr: I see Rivers having a bounce back game against a sketchy secondary. He gets 3 touchdowns. Gordon will get to the endzone because Whiz will realize that Gordon can score the rock in the redzone. Chargers win 31-10
Travis Blake: The Chargers’ defense is going to be really sore on Monday, that is, if they can slow the Titans running attack. The Titans bring in one of the scariest ground games in the league. Scary because DeMarco Murray and Derick Henry are beasts, and the Chargers starting middle linebackers will consist of a backup and an outside linebacker moved inside. This is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion. We’re really going to see what the Bolts defensive line is made of in this game. If they can curb the Titans running game, the Chargers will have to worry about Mariota who can hurt them with his arm or legs. On offense the Bolts will sputter with no Henry, and both primary receivers banged up. I’d love to see someone else start at right tackle, not sure what’s going on with Joe Barksdale but his play is hurting this team. Chargers lose another close one, 28 – 19.
Brian Scott: With Hunter out the Rivers-Gates combo notch 2 more on their belts. Gordon runs ragged and get his most all-purpose yards of his career. Bosa continues his dominance as he spends all day in Marcus’s kitchen. Titans maintain their run game through most of game but abandons it in the 4th Quarter as Chargers have a big lead…only to dwindle and give fans another heart attack. Chargers win 36-26
Chris Hoke: Let’s see I had us losing in close one last week which Rivers did throw a pick 6 so your boy was right! No Perryman and Brown. Our run defense is screwed just in Preseason the Titans ran us over. Murray being hurt will limit his carries but he still gets 90 yards and a TD while Henry does the heavy lifting going over 100 yards himself. Mariota throws 2 TD’s and 1 pick. On offense we don’t know whether to run or pass so we just settle for 4 Lambo field goals. Rivers throws a TD late to Gordon it’s not enough as the bolts lose another close one and hope fully the McNorv shit finally ends! 21-20 Titans
Cheryl White: Whiz says that two yard line series has kept him awake. I think this is a game where Gordon is continually given the ball. Gates will be in for a good day as well while Williams & Benjamin play as well as expected with knee injuries. Barksdale plays smart this week (no Miller/Ware/Wolfe to face). Defense does ok with the plug-in players, Bosa & Ingram get to Mariota. TD’s by Gordon (2), Gates (1) & Inman (1) with a couple of FGs by Lambo give Bolts a close win. 34-27 bolts
Mike Pisciotta: Individual accomplishments by Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Hunter Henry, Dontrelle Inman, Joey Bosa, Jatavis Brown and Brandon Flowers will be erased by last-minute Tennessee heroics. McCoy, Pagano and Whisenhunt will again out coach themselves to deliver a heartbreaking loss in the closing minutes yet again. I don’t trust the coaching staff. I lost faith in Whisenhunt after Sunday’s embarrassing series of plays from the Denver two yard line. Mike McCoy gets in the way again this week, failing to manage the clock. Titans 27-24
Will McCafferty: I am quite worried about how far down the depth chart the Chargers have to go to fill spots like linebacker and receiver. On the bright side, I think the Bolts can do a decent job of stopping the run and that is the Titan’s strength. I’m not impressed with the Titans overall, but I think it will be a game. Chargers 31, Titans 27
Dave Peters: Whiz gets the better of LeBeau in this one, controlling both the tempo and the clock. Due to injuries adding up on defense, Rivers and the offense must score early and often. Gordon scores and notches another 100-yard game on the ground. Inman steps up with six catches and a TD. Ingram and Bosa each add sacks to their season totals. Bolts win, barely 29-27
The staff here at BoltBlitz.com gives their takes and predictions as to what they think will happen come kickoff on the road versus the Broncos.
Zak Darman: The Chargers beat the Broncos only two weeks ago, showing off their beautiful looking color rush jerseys, 21-13 in a game in which the Chargers fully outplayed the Broncos, whether the team stats show it or not. Joey Bosa was a monster in that game defensively and Gordon finally had a long run in the regular season. Siemian was coming off a left shoulder injury and couldn’t find rhythm all game. BUT, it’s two games in three weeks for each team versus each other and beating a team twice in three weeks is tough no matter the opponent. I think this game is close and a turnover by either side determines the game. The offensive line looked baaaaad last week vs a front seven that is weaker than the one they are about to face off against and Kubiak being back is also a plus for Denver. Broncos 24-Chargers 20
Chris LaFurno: Chargers win on a late 4th quarter drive ending in a touchdown by MG28. Jatavis and Bosa combined for 3 sacks. Flowers comes back and gets an interception. Chargers 24 Broncos 21.
Michael Brazeel: Chargers travel to Mile high, trying to win their 3rd in a row. This will definitely be a defensive struggle, with the score being tied 17-17 in the 4th. Broncos will get the ball with a minute left and will kick a field goal with no time left. This will send the Bolts to 3-5, setting up a must win game against the Titans at home next week. Broncos 20-17
Travis Blake: I’ll really be looking at 94 in this game, he was losing snaps to Caraun Reid before Reid was placed on IR. With Joey Bosa drawing double teams, Liuget needs to start winning more often, so far he hasn’t performed to the big contract extension he signed recently (normal). I’m really nervous about both Flowers and Addae possibly playing in this game. Flowers is old and Addae has never been very good. Hopefully the fact that Trevor Siemian sucks will help these two boat anchors out. Pressure all day is they main key for the Bolts defense. Chargers win definitively, 34-17
Laura Leech: A second away game for the Chargers, this one in Mile High. The defense continues to play with an arrogance not seen in a few years. They stop the Broncos from going down the field a lot. They get 3 sacks and one interception. Chargers offense still struggles against a powerful pass defense and end up running the ball a lot. They score more than one touchdown but still settle with a few field goals. A battle of defenses, the Chargers pull off the biggest upset of the year, sweeping the Broncos. 31-17 Chargers
Brian Scott: San Diego faces another uphill battle as they travel to Denver to face the 5-2 Broncos. Two weeks ago, the Chargers dominated the game against the Donkeys, only to still have to worry about an onside kick and a Hail Mary. After beating Atlanta last week, and winning the first back-to-back games since Nov of 2014, confidence is rising in the Bolts locker room, even with players dropping like flies onto the IR. CJ Anderson is out, however Booker is a talented back who thrives between the tackles. Trevor Siemian is beginning to look like the 7th round draft pick that he was as of late, and faces another hungry Charger defense. Rumors also have it that Siemian has been given the green light to change plays at the line of scrimmage as he sees fit. San Diego has lost the last 3 in Denver and has not swept the Broncos since the 2010 season. However, with the balanced attack offensively and Bosa, Liuget and Ingram playing lights out defense, the Chargers will win their third in a row, and finally sweep the team that has given them fits for years. 24-17 bolts
Brian Krich: I believe the Chargers will get the inside run game going this week as Denver has shown they are vulnerable there. I’d feel better if Denzel Perryman hadn’t had to pull off a Kellen Winslow impression circa 1982 in Miami as he’s the key to corralling the suddenly resurgent Denver run game. I think he’s pretty dinged up at this point and probably needs a week or two off. Given its in Denver and I think the Broncos are deeper and a little more healthy. I have Denver winning in a 23-17 type game.
Chris Hoke: Flowers makes his return to the defense and has a big day with a pick. Bosa continues his tear and gets another Strip Sack. Gordon gets going on the ground and in the air 150 total scrimmage yards. Rivers has a solid day passing 18/28 250 yards 2 TDs. It’s the one pick he will want back as his costly turnover will turn this one. Chargers drop a close one 24-21.
Cheryl White: Chargers get scores from Gordon, Henry & Williams. Bosa gets a sack. Ingram & Perryman continue to wreak havoc. Side note: The Broncos Center, Matt Paradis, is questionable. Maybe Siemian has a few errant snaps? 27-20 Chargers.
Mike Pisciotta: Does the other shoe drop or does McNorv do enough to stay out of the way? Lately, Trevor Siemian has looked like a seventh round pick. Joey Bosa continues his tear and channels his inner Von Miller, strip sacking Siemian in the closing minutes to preserve the win. Bolts 28 – Broncos 24
Will McCafferty: I’m worried because I actually feel really good about the Bolts chances on Sunday. The last two weeks, I picked the Bolts to win (I always do), but I didn’t feel good about it. In both cases, they won! Now, I feel like they should win, so I have to worry about being let down AGAIN! The final score of this game could greatly depend on the injury report. If Marshall, Talib, Anderson and Ware are actually “out”, I think we run the score up on them. The problem is that they could just be resting Marshall and Talib due to a short week. Well, I am betting that these guys will at least be slowed down by injuries. Chargers 31 Broncos 13
Greg Williams: The Chargers continue to build momentum and confidence this week in Denver. Mile High Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Chargers but this year it’s San Diego that will hand out the Halloween Eve frights. The defensive line tees of on Trevor Siemian to the tune of eight sacks. The multitude of sacks will result in fumbles, interceptions and short fields for Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Gordon will add two more touchdowns to his ledger. Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry will have red zone touchdowns and Rivers will post 350 and 4 touchdowns on the vaunted Denver defense. Chargers win 41-13.
Dave Peters: The Bolts travel to Mile High to take on the Broncos in a game that could provide the Chargers with their first sweep of the Broncos since 2010. After beating Denver at home and then Atlanta on the road, San Diego is primed to win their third game in a row. Sophomore Melvin Gordon does his usual: over 100 yards from scrimmage and reaches pay dirt twice. Rivers is efficient but doesn’t pass for a ton of yards, finding both Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry for scoring tosses. Rookie Joey Bosa wreaks havoc throughout the game, but it barely shows in the box score. He still manages to add a sack to his season total. The special teams units go unnoticed, which is good thing as there won’t be any glaring mistakes in this one. Chargers win, sweeping the Broncos for the first time since my son, Kayden, was born. 34-24 bolts
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 looking at the Chargers’ injured-reserved list, it is clear that there are a few names which jump out immediately.
One of those marquee names who suffered a season-ending injury is Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett, who was placed on injured-reserve after suffering a partially torn left ACL.
Verrett, 25, played through the ailment for two games leading up to the Week 5 contest against the Oakland Raiders, who happen to be his childhood team.
The former Horned Frog would not play against the Raiders, as his fate was sealed by the aforementioned diagnosis above.
Shortly after the injury, the stud corner stated that he would have surgery in a couple of weeks.
On Wednesday, Verrett took to Twitter to announce that he had undergone surgery and it was a success.
Surgery was a success!!! I’m built for this. Preciate all the prayers 🙏🏾 ..Ima attack this and bounce back stronger 💯
— Jason Verrett (@Jfeeva_2) October 19, 2016
Not having Jason in the Bolts’ defensive backfield is a huge loss for the Chargers’ defense and team as a whole, but it is encouraging to know that his surgery was a success.
The 25th pick in the first round of the 2014 draft has been slowed by injuries throughout the course of his young career, missing games in 2014 (10 games missed), 2015 (two games missed) and, of course 2016 (played in four games; set to miss 12 remaining games).
Though we won’t be seeing Jason Verrett on the field until 2017, I can certainly say that I am looking forward to his return.
In Verrett’s absence, and due to the concussion issues with Brandon Flowers, the Bolts’ cornerbacks group is down to only Casey Hayward, Craig Mager, Pierre Desir, Steve Williams and Trevor Williams, all who will be tasked with stopping the high-flying passing attack of the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7.
Dave Booga Peters
The San Diego Chargers will have their first primetime game of 2016 Thursday against the Denver Broncos.
Off to a 1-4 start, the Bolts look to win their first divisional game since November of 2014.
Suffering multiple season-ending injuries to starters such as Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and Jason Verrett, among others, the Chargers are banged up — as usual — entering their Week 6 contest against the Broncos.
The team released its injury report on Wednesday for the Thursday Night game at home against Denver.
- SS – Jahleel Addae Collarbone
- CB – Brandon Flowers Concussion
- OT – Joe Barksdale Foot
- OG – Orlando Franklin Ankle
- OT – Chris Hairston Groin
- CB – Craig Mager Shoulder
- WR – Dexter McCluster Hamstring
- ILB – Denzel Perryman Shoulder
All of the players listed as questionable were limited in practice on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Some of that could be a precaution, while it may also mean that they just weren’t able to practice fully.
Knowing the history of the Chargers’ injuries along the offensive line, it is discouraging to see two starters (Barksdale and Franklin) on the list, along with their swing-tackle (Hairston).
Perryman may miss another game with that shoulder ailment, leaving the inside linebacker spots to rookie Jatavis Brown, Joshua Perry and the recently signed Korey Toomer.
The secondary will once again be without cornerback Brandon Flowers, who is still working through the concussion protocol. His absence leaves Craig Mager, Casey Hayward, Steve Williams, Pierre Desir and the recently promoted Trevor Williams as the team’s cornerbacks.
Chargers’ fans are not strangers to watching a severely banged-up squad, but, nonetheless, the Bolts must come out and find a way to win their second game of the 2016 season regardless of their injuries.
For whatever reason, I do believe they’ll achieve just that, beating Denver at home by a score of 27-26.
Dave Booga Peters
With Wednesday’s news that cornerback Jason Verrett is done for the season due to a partially torn ACL, the San Diego Chargers have re-signed cornerback Steve Williams, according to the team’s official website.
In a corresponding move to make room on the roster for Williams, the Bolts waived defensive lineman Ryan Carrethers.
Williams, 25, was the team’s fifth-round selection in the 2013 NFL draft. Possessing blazing speed, the undersized Williams was released in order for the Chargers to sign cornerback Pierre Desir.
The former Cal Bear spent two weeks with the Los Angeles Rams, both weeks of which he was inactive.
The 2016 season will mark Williams’ fourth year with the Bolts. During his short career, one that saw him miss all of his rookie season due to injury, Williams has amassed 29 total tackles, seven passes defensed, one sack and two interceptions.
According to Chargers.com, Williams will be wearing the No. 41 jersey, as his former number of 23 has been taken over by defensive back Dexter McCoil.
Carrethers, also a fifth-round draft choice, but in 2015, participated in 20 games with San Diego, including three starts. The defensive lineman had been inactive for all four of the Chargers’ four regular season contests in 2016.
Carrethers flashed some ability at times, but had found himself on the outside looking in when it came to reps during the offseason.
Though he has been waived, should he clear waivers, the team could possibly bring him back onto the practice squad, which in turn would mean another move would be coming to a roster/practice squad that has already seen a ton of fluctuation.
Dave Booga Peters
After suffering their third loss of the season, another game in which the Chargers should have come out victorious, the Bolts enter their Week 5 contest against the Oakland Raiders very banged up.
But what’s new?
The team announced its practice participation report for Wednesday’s practice.
Did not participate:
- SS – Jahleel Addae Clavicle
- LB – Nick Dzubnar Knee
- CB – Brandon Flowers Concussion
- CB – Jason Verrett Knee (It was announced on Wednesday that he has a partially torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2016 season)
- OT – Joe Barksdale Foot
- OT – King Dunlap Illness
- OG – Orlando Franklin Knee
- TE – Antonio Gates Hamstring
- OT – Chris Hairston Groin
- ILB – Joshua Perry Knee
- ILB – Denzel Perryman Shoulder
- DL – Joey Bosa Hamstring
Well, I’ll be damned! Joey Bosa may play in his first NFL game since being drafted by the Chargers with the third overall pick in this year’s draft. Though the team will remain cautious regarding the hamstring ailment that the rookie has been dealing with since signing his rookie contract, Bosa may be added to the mix as a situational pass rusher come Sunday.
Again, the team has not decided whether or not he will indeed make his NFL debut, but it is nice to see that he is getting closer to suiting up in a regular season game for the Bolts.
Both starting offensive tackles (Joe Barksdale and King Dunlap) and the team’s starting left guard (Orlando Franklin) were all limited participants on Wednesday. Joining the injury-laden linemen is swing-tackle Chris Hairston.
After using 26 different offensive line combinations during the 2015 season, the Chargers are already having to mix and match their options along the offensive front.
In addition to the offensive line, the team’s inside linebacking corps is banged up (Dzubnar, Perry and Perryman all were limited), too. When you add in the loss of Manti Te’o for the season, a once promising group has been reduced to shambles. Hopefully the shoulder injury to Perryman is not too serious, and he’ll play on Sunday at close to 100 percent.
The only positive that comes from the maladies suffered by the inside linebackers is it forces the team to get rookie backer Jatavis Brown more involved on the defensive side of the ball.
Despite the fact that the defense was without cornerback Brandon Flowers this past Sunday, and he did not practice on Wednesday, that is not the worst news regarding the secondary this week. Stud cornerback Jason Verrett has been lost for the year due to a partially torn ACL.
Recovering from the loss of your best defensive player is never a small task.
The secondary has already been without starting strong safety Jahleel Addae, as he suffered a clavicle injury and is expected to miss more time.
As it stands right now, the cornerback group is down to Casey Hayward, Craig Mager, Pierre Desir and the recently re-signed Stevie Williams; that is, of course, if Flowers struggles to pass the concussion protocol tests as we approach Sunday.
Just like any other year in recent memory for Chargers fans, the team has been bombarded with injuries, forcing the club to play individuals that even some Chargers fans are not familiar with the names on the backs of their jerseys.
I mean, this was supposed to be “our year,” right, guys? (Every year is supposed to be our year, as long as the team stays healthy and the coaches find a way to remove their heads from their asses…..)
The injury report leading up to this week’s game is certainly something worth keeping your eyes on, folks.
Dave Booga Peters
There comes a time when repeated tragedies occur, that you throw up your hands and bellow out a sarcastic laugh or bow your head and give it a good hearty shake.
Week 3 is now in the books and so is the third Charger player to be out for the season due to an injury in as many weeks.
Misery certainly does love company.
After an MRI on Monday, it was officially announced that Manti Te’o is out for the season with a torn Achilles.
The “Next Man Up” mantra that has been utilized by the Chargers for the past few seasons might need to be changed to “Next Man Down.”
Despite the loss of the defensive captain, the Chargers (1-2) also lost another game where they had a chance to win in the end.
Circling around social media last night and Monday morning, there are many that have blamed Philip Rivers, Hunter Henry, Mike McCoy, Melvin Gordon or Josh Lambo for Sunday’s 26-22 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on the road.
Sorry, but I am not going to dignify a response for blaming a kicker whose job is to kick field goals and extra points – not to prevent a rusher from getting a chance to block a kick.
From the early onset of the game, the vibe and tone set by the team was extremely sluggish. The fire and passion that resonated through the first half of Week 1 against Kansas City and the entire Week 2 victory against Jacksonville seemed a distant memory.
Rivers was not the elite quarterback that fans have grown accustomed to watching, missing many targets with passes that were too high, too hard or simply off the mark. The fierce competitor that he is, after the game he admitted to the poor performance and execution of his game – even singling out his biggest mistake of the game. “Of all the plays I missed today, I wished I got the one to Travis (Benjamin) on 3rd-and-2 because we were running that thing down. We may end up with it in our hands at mid-field, and I just missed it…”
Indeed, it was one pass that if completed, the rest of his errant throws would have been forgotten. It was a crucial play that could have possibly secured the game, forcing Indianapolis to use their timeouts and dwindle the game clock down.
Chalk it up to a bad game for the offensive and team leader.
One player in particular took the loss solely on himself:
Gotta take this one on the Chin!!! I Loss the Game …..
— Jason Verrett (@Jfeeva_2) September 26, 2016
No, Jason, you alone did not lose this game. And might I add that your humility is a breath of fresh air and one of the reasons why you are a fan favorite.
It might be true that Jason Verrett was beat often against a very good wide receiver in T.Y. Hilton on Sunday. Equally important to note is that in no way shape or form is the loss all on his shoulders. Game after game the Pro Bowl cornerback has shut down the opposition’s best wideout. It was just a bad day for the talented corner – occurring on a day where others experienced lousy games, as well.
Moreover, it was not Feeva’s fault for being on the sidelines during a potential game-clinching 4th-and-7 play with less than two minutes left in the game. Brandon Flowers was covering Hilton and instead of playing him up close, Flowers gave T.Y. a four-yard cushion where he made the easy, wide-open catch at the first down marker, falling forward to ensure the call was a simple one. Flowers has been playing exceptionally better this year than last, and was one of three players that I mentioned on this site to have a great impact this season. It is unfortunate that this crucial play has his named associated with it.
Melvin Gordon was held in check by Indianapolis, who came into the game ranked as the worst rushing defense in the NFL. Clearly, the Colts knew about this dubious honor of theirs and studied a lot of film on the second-year starter. It was clear to them that “Flash” loves to run in between the tackles and does not improvise as much as an elite back would. Perhaps it is his style, or perhaps it’s his youth that explains why he runs the way the play is designed to, without recognizing other outlets.
Gordon did, however, hit pay dirt again for the fourth time in three games and continues to punish those would-be tacklers. The Chargers fans are very excited about his play thus far. His ability to get into the endzone, his potential, especially if he learns from his mistakes, and how high his ceiling is reinforce the fact that the excitement is justified.
The second-round draft pick of 2016, tight end Hunter Henry, received the starting nod to take the place of the future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates. Hunter had five catches for 76 yards and looked like he could be the heir apparent of Gates as he levied space between him and the defender, moving the chains on several occasions. Although, it is hard to remember those precise routes and great hands due to his late game fumble that ended any last-ditch efforts for a comeback.
Yes, the Bolts still had a chance to win the game. Yes, the fumble ended that hope. However, it should not have come down to that one play, nor is it the dubious “play that lost the game.” Hunter is a talented rookie and as you could see his reaction on the sidelines he was devastated.
As upsetting as it was to watch the game slip away, my heart went out to him and I wondered what encouragement he would receive. Then I saw Gates call him over and give him a veteran pep talk.
By now, most fans who watched the game or have seen the highlights know about all the following miscues: dropped punt, missed catches, missed throws, fumbles…etc. Let us not take too much time dwelling on those players, because it was not one single player nor single mistake that helped in the loss on Sunday. It was the collective faux pas of many.
McCoy expounded on my thoughts when he stated after the game, “There are a number of plays you look at; missed opportunities through the entire game. It’s not just one drive or one series. There were a number of opportunities we had, where we didn’t make the plays today.”
To further McCoy’s point, it was not just those mistakes, which during a loss are enhanced and nit-picked, but it was also the penalties. Those yellow flags are thrown often during NFL games, legitimately or otherwise, and this game would see 20 of them – 10 for each team. It has been instilled in many young athletes that a physical mistake is easier to forgive than a mental mistake. Having your named called out by the men in pinstripes is a mental mistake, showing a lack of discipline more often than not. That being said, at least two of those “phantom calls” would cost the Chargers points in the end.
Several times those penalties either killed a drive or allowed the Colts to continue theirs. Whether the call is obtuse or astute, it is difficult to gather momentum when the game stops for a penalty.
When all’s said and done, with massive blunders and penalties, San Diego still had a chance to win the game. Even with the defense unable to stop the aging wonder who is Frank Gore, collectively they were able to sack Andrew Luck twice, forced two fumbles (recovering one), scored a touchdown and had an interception. Thus far after three games, the defense has logged six total turnovers — four interceptions and two fumbles.
In 2015, the Chargers secured only 11 interceptions and nine fumbles for the entire season. Furthermore, Rivers has yet to throw an interception, which has contributed to San Diego being at plus-2 in the turnover department, ranking 5th in the AFC.
It was, without a doubt – a sloppy game but one that San Diego should have and could have won. As stated previously, with the poor play at key moments by positional players, and the horrid and massive amount of penalties, the game was still within reach in the waning moments. However, in order to take this team to the next level, a game like this is one that the Chargers needed. A victory would have given then team confidence to win close games and perhaps string a few victories together to gather momentum. After all, the Bolts have not won back-to-back games since November of 2014.
Let that last sentence sink in for a bit.
The Chargers will return home to Qualcomm Stadium in Week 4 to face the New Orleans Saints. This game will provide the Bolts a prime opportunity to get back on track, possibly evening out their record to 2-2 against a Saints’ team that struggles defensively.
Here is to hoping that the Chargers do NOT lose another key element to their roster for the fourth consecutive regular season week in a row.
Please comment below on what miscue, by players or non-players, was the main contributor to the loss in Indy.
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
Here we are once again, left to ponder the “what-ifs.” What if this pass was completed? What if this tackle was made? What if this play was called? It is like a broken record for Chargers fans. This was once again the case as the Chargers dropped another heartbreaker to the Colts on Sunday.
After a sluggish offensive start, especially from Philip Rivers — who just looked a bit off all game long — the Bolts fell behind early by a score of 13-6.The Chargers then would tie it up on a fantastic strip sack by Jatavis Brown. The scoop and score afterward by Caraun Reid looked to be the play of the season thus far. The Bolts looked to have stolen the momentum from the Colts going into halftime.
The Chargers would then come out for the second half seeming to shake of the rust of the first half, as they drove the ball down the field lead by some huge catches by Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry. The drive was then capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by second-year running back Melvin Gordon. Following the TD, the extra point was blocked by former Charger Antonio Cromartie. On the ensuing drive, the Colts would march right down the field and score, creeping to a one-point disadvantage, 20-19.
As San Diego looked to close the game out, the Rivers-led offense drove the ball down the field in a drive in which Melvin Gordon looked effective, yet the Chargers once again went away from him, throwing it on three consecutive downs. Rivers continued to look just a bit off on two of the three passing plays.
The Bolts just seemed content to kick a field goal and let the defense “Do its job;” by job I mean a big choke job, as Jason Verrett had his worst day in lightning bolts, getting burned by nicked up T.Y. Hilton all game long. The final drive from the Colts would be no different, as Luck would find T.Y. for the game-winning score, as fill-in safety Dexter McCoil and a host of Chargers couldn’t bring him down.
With 1:15 left and two timeouts, the Bolts seemed to have enough time to mount a comeback and steal this one. All hopes of this would soon be dashed away, as a huge completion to Hunter Henry would turn into a fumble with Clayton Geathers punching the ball out and the Colts’ D’Qwell Jackson would recover it, leaving Chargers fans to continue to wonder what if…
Duds of the game:
Philip Rivers – I’m sure he would be the first one to tell you he wasn’t sharp and he left too many points on the field. Notably, early in the game, No. 17 missed a wide open Dexter McCluster for a score. Philip was 26 of 39 for 330 passing yards. Why is he on the Dud list? His misfires were in huge situations where we he has been known to deliver. This loss was atypical for Rivers, seeing as he missed several throws which he would normally complete with ease.
Jason Verrett – I can’t think of a game in which I’ve seen Jason struggle like this. Hilton had his number all day, hauling in eight receptions for 174 yards and the late touchdown to him. Maybe it was just a bad day for Jason. He was definitely exposed against the speed of the Colts’ No. 13.
The Injury Bug – If it wasnt apparent with the loss of Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, the injury bug is alive and well in Charger-land, claiming its next victim for the injured-reserve list, Manti Te’o. Te’o wasn’t the only one who was injured, as DJ Fluker, Jason Verrett and Denzel Perryman all looked gimpy by the end of the game on Sunday. Injuries are the nature of the game and tons of teams deal with them, but it seems no team has had to deal with it quite as much as the Bolts have over the past three years. Maybe there really is something in the water, or maybe the McNorv Kool Aid is going bad..
Dishonorable mentions – Chargers’ Run D (making Frank Gore look like ’08 Gore), Chris Hairston, Brandon Flowers
Studs of the game:
Jatavis Brown – The 2016 fifth-round selection was thrown into the fire when Te’o went down. Brown made his presence known with his strip of Andrew Luck. He also laid some huge lumber on a number of plays. We didn’t see much of Jatavis in preseason. One thing is for certain: from the limited time we have seen him on the field, Brown seems to have a nose for the ball and is a more capable coverage linebacker then Manti. With No. 50 out for the season, we will see if he can consistently be as disruptive as he was this past Sunday.
Tyrell Williams – Does any wide receiver on this team get more YAC (Yards after the catch) than Williams? He gets the ball and breaks tackles gaining at least 10 more yards afterwards. Add to that he has become one of Philip’s go-to guys on 3rd down, consistently picking them up time after time in the second half. If anyone needs to see the ball more it’s this guy. The emergence of Williams can only mean positive things for this offense going forward.
Melvin Gordon – Numbers-wise, his performance wasn’t better than last week; in fact, it wasn’t even close, as Gordon had 16 carries for 36 yards, adding one rushing score. Why is he on here then? For the simple fact that he contributed on all phases on offense: rushing, receiving and pass protection. The block he had on Robert Mathis was just unbelievable. Last year’s Melvin would’ve missed that. Melvin still has a long way to go, but thus far this season he’s showed up and then some.
Honorable Mentions – Chargers’ pass rush, Casey Hayward, Travis Benjamin, Denzel Perryman
For San Diego fans and NFL fans everywhere, this is the time of year where expectations are the highest. All teams went through a draft, have not lost a game and can possibly win their division – on their way to becoming the next Super Bowl Champion. The jaded fans grow into optimists about the players, coaches and organization.
Heading into the 2016 NFL season, every sports writer makes their attempt in finding that diamond in the rough; predicting which players will exceed everyone’s expectations. It is an easy task to take on, considering there is no accountability in the event those prophecies don’t pan out.
On the flip side, those players named in their write-up will become that writer’s metaphorical “baby.” Cheering on the named players as if they were the ones who drafted and molded them, hoping they turn into an 18-carat jewel and not a cubic zirconia. Some writers base their forecasts strictly on stats, and possibly going to the extreme with logarithms and equations that would make any math genius giddy with excitement. Others, like myself, use statistics sparingly, mixing in their gut-feeling about certain players.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
After the dreadful 2015 season, where the team from America’s finest city landed in the bottom of almost every offensive and defensive category, 2016 fills the lungs anew, smelling of sweet hopefulness and the taste of victory. With that, let us look at a few players whom this writer feels will surpass expectations.
Branden Oliver – The undrafted running back out of the University of Buffalo is playing in his third season with San Diego. After 191 rushing attempts and 49 receptions in two seasons, Oliver has yet to fumble the football.
After Ryan Mathews went down with another injury in 2014, Bo was able to showcase his talents and determination. Watching him closely his rookie season, I was amazed with this lower body strength and ability to fight for those extra yards.
Entering his second year in 2015, he was back down on the depth chart with the selection of first-round draft pick Melvin Gordon and the recovered Danny Woodhead.
Bo, entering his final season under his rookie contract, is a hard worker and might be playing with a chip on his shoulder. Oliver has latched on to Woodhead as his mentor and seems to have healed from last season’s turf toe injury that he sustained in Week 8, landing him on the injured reserved and ending his season.
With Gordon entering his second season after an insipid rookie campaign and Woodhead healthy, Oliver will more than likely begin again as the third back. As the third on any depth chart, expectations are slim. It is no secret that the run game will be targeted to emerge as a force, especially with Ken Whisenhunt once again calling the shots. In addition to his strong work ethic and ability to hold on to the ball, his quickness and power will allow Oliver to gain more snaps and targets this upcoming season.
Brandon Flowers – The 30-year-old cornerback enters his third season with the Chargers. A former Pro Bowler, Flowers initially signed a one-year contract with San Diego and played as well as expected, earning him a four-year contract at the end of the 2014 season. With a lucrative contract in the books, Brandon’s body language and his constant lack of effort was that similar to former Chargers’ linebacker Donald Butler, who signed a big contract only to show nothing on the field.
According to Pro Football Focus, Flowers ended the 2015 season being graded as the third-worst corner out of a possible 111 qualifiers. It might be too simple to pick Brandon as someone who will exceed expectations, because it would not seem possible to get any worse.
Not wanting to follow in Butler’s footsteps, who to this day is still unsigned, the cornerback has come into San Diego with resurgence and a body that shows how hard he has worked in the offseason.
With Jason Verrett earning a Pro Bowl spot after his second season, Brandon will be looked upon as a mentor for Verrett while he is learning to play the inside more.
Flowers is a defensive back and not just a corner. At his age, and his horrid season where he did not record one interception, it might be easy to imply that his tank is on empty, not being able to perform like he did in Kansas City and his first year in America’s Finest City. However, Brandon is a professional and entered spring in great shape, with a competitive spirit and a smile on his face.
If healthy, he will return this season and reestablish himself as the reliable corner who the organization can count on.
Jeremiah Attaochu – A decade ago, San Diego was enjoying the fact that they housed the an incredible pass-rushing tandem of Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips. With the 2016 season approaching, Chargers fans might once again be able to see two outside linebackers strike fear into opposing offenses.
Melvin Ingram has solidified his dominance and respect around the league and Jeremiah is catching up. Combined, Ingram and Attaochu accounted for a little more than half of the total sacks for the Bolts in 2015.
A vast improvement from his rookie season to last year’s crusade, Jerry needs to stay consistent all year if he is to improve on his six sacks. Utilizing his quickness and his ability to get in the backfield, there is no reason why his numbers will not again balloon in 2016.
One of the hardest and most diligent workers on the team, Jeremiah already showed improvements at spring practices. He might be underrated, and if teams will focus on Ingram, which they will, the second-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech will continue to disrupt the opposition with an even stronger force than teams have seen so far. Expect a sizeable jump in both sack numbers and tackles for loss this upcoming season, all the while creating a ferocious duo with teammate Ingram.
Comment below on which players you feel will exceed expectations.
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott