The Chargers currently sit at an abysmal 1-3 record. Chargers fans all around the world are used to the Bolts blowing leads and not being clutch when it matters most, but this season takes on a whole new level of the word “disaster.”
Essentially speaking, for every lead they have blown thus far (three) they have had major injuries. Just to name a few key players that were going to help this team compete this season, Danny Woodhead, Keenan Allen, Manti Te’o and Jason Verrett have all suffered season-ending injuries and its only Week 5.
So, to say that this season isn’t a rose garden in heaven is an understatement. However, I feel like these next two games can entirely make or break what the Chargers want to do this season. Facing the Raiders this Sunday in Oakland and the Broncos on a short week will be one of the biggest two-game stretches of games the Chargers have had in recent memory.
In the past 13 division games dating back to the start of the 2014 season, the Bolts are a lousy 2-11. That pair of wins coming from a sweep of the Raiders in 2014. Other than that, the Chargers could now easily be considered the little brother in the AFC West. The 2015 season in particular stands out the most because they just continuously kept getting pummeled.
The Raiders dominated the Chargers in their first meeting in 2015 at Qualcomm, much like the Chargers were doing to the Chiefs Week 1 of this year. The difference in those games? The Raiders didn’t fold completely and let the Chargers back into the game, as that game ended in a Chargers’ loss, 37-29. A couple of games later they hosted the Chiefs in a game where they failed to find the endzone. In fact, they failed to find the endzone in both meetings last year against the Chiefs and in one meeting against the Broncos.
Everything seemed to be different this year, as the Chargers literally bolted out to a 21-3 lead at the half. Well, we all know what a big lead meant at that point when you have Mike McCoy: a blown lead. The Chargers failed to get into the endzone in the second half of that game and gave us all flashes of last year while the Chiefs came all the way back to tie the game up on a two-minute drill drive aided by a very poor punt from the Bolts that gave the Chiefs life around midfield. The Bolts got hit with a double whammy that game, as their star receiver Keenan Allen went down with a torn ACL forcing him to miss the entire season.
Sunday, they face the Raiders at O.Co Coliseum. While the Raiders will most likely be without recently emerging Latavius Murray, the Chargers will also be without a stud of their own in Jason Verrett.
Just a couple of days ago, the Bolts learned that Verrett had been playing with a partial tear in his ACL. He underwent tests and, like Keenan, is now out for the rest of the season. This injury is devastating to an already banged up secondary.
Brandon Flowers is dealing with a concussion and Craig Mager is also banged up. It’s most likely going to be the Cooper and Crabtree show, and if they can’t get some magic going of their own on offense, they could be in for a very long day and an even longer week.
Now, if you can develop a consistent pass rush on the quarterback, it could in some cases make the most average corners look elite. It looks like the Chargers are getting major reinforcements in that department, as Damion Square’s four-game suspension is up and the God, Joey Bosa, is making his NFL debut. Though both will most likely be on limited snap counts, it still helps the defense immensely.
While Oakland’s offense has been great this year, ranking 4th in the league in total yards with 392 yards per game, the Chargers are no slouch. Even though they are ranked 14th in the league, their offense is scoring a scorching 30 point per game. Both defenses could be better as the Raiders are ranked 31st in the league and the Chargers are 20th. If the Chargers want to have a shot at taking control of this game and creating serious momentum, they are going to have to get Melvin Gordon going. While he has scored a TD in every game including two in Week 1, the run game has taken a dip in production in the yardage department. After totaling 305 rushing yards through the first two weeks, the Bolts got slowed down to just a measly 75 yards in the last two games against two of the worst rush defenses in the Saints and Colts.
It can be argued that Derek Carr is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league this year, posting a blistering TD/INT ratio of 9 to 1 and having a 104.6 QB rating while completing almost 60% of his passes. He’s been great for the Raiders and, without a doubt, clutch on a couple of game-winning drives. The Chargers must make him feel uncomfortable right out of the gates. Bosa will play a key part in this game. Although he could very well struggle in the early parts of the game, his athleticism and length will draw double teams at some point, giving other players like Jeremiah Attaochu, Corey Liuget and Melvin “Supa Mel” Ingram one-on-ones.
This game should come down to the last couple of minutes. The outcome of the game will be determined by who punts the ball more and who gets more turnovers. I can honestly see the Chargers winning this game as long as they play their own game. Keep scoring, don’t take your foot off the gas, get some stops on defense and come away with a huge upset. Easier said than done.
Unfortunately for the Chargers, things don’t get easier. They have a short week and host the Broncos on TNF next week. So while coming away with both wins would be monumentally huge for the team going forward, it’s a daunting task that the team has to step up to and be willing to face head on. This Broncos’ defense is scary. You don’t have to check out stats to know who Von Miller, Chris Harris and Aqib Talib are. They anchor a fast, young, ball-hungry crew that almost is a lock to score a defensive touchdown every game. They only give up around 170 passing yards per game. They have an excellent secondary benefited by a great pass rush, which is the recipe for success as they are 4-0. It’s not too far-fetched to say the Bolts can grab one of these wins, because when you have Philip Rivers, you are truly never counted out of any game until the clock hits :00.
The Chargers are 0-2 on the road this season, but I believe they should win this Sunday at the Raiders. That will prove to be a small spark to what can be fireworks next Thursday.
Oh yeah, have you guys seen those Color Rush unis?!? They are to DIE for!! Possibly my favorite looking unis I have ever seen over all sports.
So, tell me and let me know what you guys feel or think about this hell week coming up. Can the Chargers end their 0-9 drought against their division, or will it turn to 0-11 by next Thursday?
Anything can happen on any given day. If there is one thing we can all agree with, it’s that the Chargers are the hardest team to predict how they’re gonna play or what’s going to happen. It makes it hard to predict but I will take a whack at it.
I say the Chargers lose a tight contest to the Raiders by the score of 35-31, with the defense having an opportunity to stop the Raiders and give the ball back to the Chargers’ offense to finish it off. They’ll come up short, however, they will rebound at home and look good while doing it with a 27-17 win against the Broncos.
This Sunday marks the first time Drew Brees makes his return to San Diego since leaving in free agency for the Saints in March of 2006. Brees owns a 2-0 record against the Chargers since his departure from America’s finest city.
While the Chargers are a couple of plays and injuries away from being 3-0, the Saints are as well. New Orleans looked as if they were going to go 1-0 until the Raiders scored with 52 seconds left and Jack Del Rio elected to go for two and the win instead of the tie. The Saints failed to get into field goal range and lost a heartbreaker to fall to 0-1.
The Chargers lost a heartbreaker to the Chiefs in Week 1, as well. In Week 2, the Saints’ defense held the New York Giants’ offense in check, but lost a tough one 16-13; largely in part to a blocked field goal attempt which was returned for a touchdown.
Their Week 3 contest proved no different, as they lost a shootout to the Falcons 45-32. The Saints have fallen to 0-4 only twice in the Drew Brees’ era, and one of those seasons – 2012 – they ended their losing skid against the Chargers.
Brees is an excellent Quarterback. Despite being vertically challenged for his position, it makes me appreciate his game even more having to stand on his toes to make plays at times. He has a serious weapon who cannot be overlooked in Brandin Cooks, who I believe is a better version of T.Y Hilton, and can cause serious problems for this defense come Sunday if they aren’t well prepared.
Mark Ingram a solid back who’s off to a bit of a slow start but San Diego is notorious for letting players get hot. Willie Snead has emerged as a top target for Brees, but he has a toe injury that caused him to miss his last start against the Falcons. Should he play against the Bolts this Sunday, containing him and Cooks will be a really tough challenge.
I can see this game being a high-scoring shootout, seeing as the New Orleans’ defense ranks 31st in the league. They’re giving up 299 passing yards a game and 149.3 yards on the ground.
San Diego’s defense ranks 25th in the league, giving up 322 passing yards a game and 81 yards on the ground.
Drew Brees currently is 1st in the league passing with eight touchdowns and only one interception while throwing for 1,025 yards.
On the other side, Philip Rivers has 755 passing yards with five TDs and no interceptions. Granted, San Diego is a more leveled offense this year having more running plays than passing plays and the Saints have been in two shootouts; so it warrants a team to pass more than run.
Let’s take a look at how the Brees-Rivers matchup has looked in 2012 and 2008.
In 2012, the Chargers and Saints played a close game in which the Saints came out on top 31-24. A couple of questionable calls on the last drive ultimately stalled the Chargers from possibly tying the game up. A couple of holding calls and an offensive pass interference killed all the momentum the Bolts had going on their final drive. Rivers passed for 354 yards with a pair of touchdowns and one interception, while Brees threw for 370 yards slinging four passing scores and one interception.
In 2008, it was a similar result. The Saints took that matchup, 37-32. Brees and Rivers had identical numbers in that matchup as well, throwing for three touchdowns and roughly 340 yards.
Historically, the Saints have been a tough team for the Chargers to beat. It is like Brees has the cheat sheet to barely escape with victories over his former team. In my opinion, this game on Sunday will once again be a close one. There are a couple of things that the Chargers need to do and do well to keep Brees and company. on their toes and against the ropes.
Melvin Gordon has had a good year up to this point, scoring a TD in every game so far and two in Week 2. His four rushing scores tie him for the league-lead in rushing touchdowns. He currently has 194 yards and has been running with confidence and has patience. He has not fumbled yet this year in 54 carries (I’m hoping I don’t jinx him). He will play a huge role in this game. I want to forget about that Colts’ game as a whole, because I felt like while the Chargers only lost by four, they should’ve won by at least seven. They were out of sync for a large part of the game.
Which brings me to my next key: Philip Rivers trusting his receivers.
Philip looked off that game, missing a wide-open touchdown to the newly acquired Dexter McCluster in the endzone, and a crucial 3rd down to wideout Travis Benjamin which would’ve essentially put the nail in the coffin and given the Chargers the win.
It is never easy losing your top two targets and having your No. 1 all-time target out for the game, but Philip must find a way to get on the same page with his receivers. Benjamin is almost always open and Tyrell Williams is a beast waiting to be awakened. They did look as if they were going to make an interesting ending to the game, until rookie tight end Hunter Henry fumbled on the 40-yard line. But that doesn’t take anything away from what Henry has done. He’s been brilliant for the Chargers, especially as a blocker, but he has flashed some of the receiving ability that made the Bolts select him in the second round of this year’s draft.
Lastly, my final key is getting a consistent pass rush. Melvin Ingram, the newly elected team captain after Te’o went down for the season with a torn Achilles, will have a big game here. He has two sacks on the season so and he happens to be in a contract year. Due to his recently appointed captaincy and the fact that he is in a contract year, I think a flame will be lit under his tail to kick it into high gear and perform consistently the way we all know he can.
So, with all that being said, I believe the Chargers can squeak out a win despite Drew Brees being hungry and being eager to return to the Q to play the NFL team who drafted him. It will be a back-and-forth affair with the Chargers pulling ahead by 10 late in the 4th for a 31-21 Chargers victory and the Bolts will move to 2-2.
Let me know what you think below in the comments section, Chargers fans.
EDITOR’S NOTE: BoltBlitz.com staff writer Charlie LaFurno is expecting some big things for your San Diego Chargers in 2016. In an effort to explain how the team will be able to achieve the expectations that LaFurno has for them this year, he highlights three keys which will enable the Bolts to be very successful during the ’16 campaign.
First, let’s start things off with giving both the Chargers and Joey Bosa several rounds of applause until our hands hurt. They FINALLY reached a contract agreement of $25.8 Million over four years this Monday. The contract comes with a $17 million signing bonus and makes him the highest paid upfront rookie in Chargers history.
As it stands after the Bosa signing, I certainly believe the Chargers can be a 10-plus win team and, depending on how they play their division games, they could very well end up at 11-5 or 12-4. Now, in order for this to actually happen, and for Chargers fans to stop dreaming and this finally become a reality, a couple of things need to play out in the Bolts’ favor.
Melvin Gordon having a breakout season is a KEY part to the Chargers’ success this season. He showed flashes of the Wisconsin version of Melvin Gordon this preseason, albeit a small sample size. He had three carries for 12 yards against the Titans in Week 1, adding a 44-yard touchdown catch — something he failed to do all last season was getting into the endzone. Hopefully that shook the jitters off for the youngster. But, he continued to stay hungry even though the starting position is his. He didn’t have a huge second game, rushing six times for 18 yards, but he came back the next week against the Vikings and had a BIG performance even though the Bolts fell short. Gordon rushed four times for 51 yards, including a 39-yard TD. Granted the play was audibled by Rivers and Gordon got a little lucky with the Vikings linebacker completely misplaying it, but No. 28 finished the play, showing elite speed and burst. THAT play got me extremely optimistic and enthusiastic. Gordon did not play in Thursday’s preseason finale against the 49ers. Keep him fresh for Week 1 in Arrowhead. The team is really going to NEED him.
The offensive line staying healthy and getting continuous reps and playing time together will come a long way in developing the chemistry that they have failed to sustain for a while now. Barksdale is the only lineman that played in every game last year. Last season, the Chargers used 26 different O-Line combinations.. TWENTY SIX. To say that is putrid would even be an extreme understatement. The Bolts averaged a measly 3.46 yards on the ground last season — 32nd in the league — and it needs to improve going forward if they want to have a shot at the Lombardi Trophy.
This offseason, San Diego signed Matt Slauson and drafted former Trojan Max Tuerk in the 3rd round. I loved the pick because I watched some film and saw that he has good athleticism and outstanding movement. He doesn’t overcommit on plays which is huge and could be a clutch player for years to come. The starting offensive linemen should consist of Dunlap, Franklin, Slauson, Fluker and Barksdale. That is a very capable group of talented individuals to create space for MG28 to eat, eat, eat and eat some more. We already know what Philly Riv can do when given the proper amount of time to throw the football to his bevy of weapons.
Last, but not least, the defensive line. I feel like the last time I saw a good Chargers’ rush unit was when I was on the couch at nights before bed playing Pokémon. And no, I’m not talking about Pokémon Go, I’m talking about the actual Gameboy games. In the midst of the contract stalemate Bosa and the Chargers had, he was still working out at different facilities in Florida up to three times a day. His work ethic and leadership are lights out. He reminds me of somebody. As it stands now, the starting defensive line will feature Liuget, Mebane, Philon with Bosa coming in on 3rd downs or in sub-packages until he gets fully ready to man that right spot. The Chargers also have Ingram, Emanuel and Attaochu as the outside linebackers. Both Ingram and Attaochu are speedy, freakish athletes but they have to remain healthy and produce consistently. Emanuel is solid on early downs, setting the edge and helping to slow down opposing ball carriers.
This is a year where the Bolts might know what it feels like to get to QBs that still have the ball in their hand and what does that lead to?? Turnovers. Everybody loves turnovers. It’s just us Chargers fans who aren’t really used to them. To make the Joey Bosa addition even better, the Chargers went and got Jatavis Brown. where they ranked 1st and 5th, respectively, in TFL in FBS over the last two seasons.
There’s going to be some plays where the defensive line doesn’t look good, but John Pagano’s defensive unit features Denzel Perryman and Manti Te’o to clean it up, along with the Electric Avenue secondary!
All in all, if all three of those things can happen at a consistent rate, the Chargers will be in very good shape to make a run this year. I predict Melvin to produce 1,200 yards, 8-9 TDs and 30-40 catches with 2 TDs. His improvement in the running game will open up play-action passes and defenses are not going to be ready for Keenan, Gates and Benjamin on the field; there are just too many weapons to account for, especially when you have one of the greatest QBs in Philip Rivers.
I predict the Chargers will have a top-5 offense and a top-10 defense. My honest prediction is 11-5 — if healthy — with a 4-2 division record.
Get hype Chargers fans!!! This franchise is ALIIIIIIVEEEEE!
How can Dean Spanos win back his fans? It really depends on which fans he needs to win back.
There are die-hard Chargers fans. These fans buy season tickets, have cars decked out in Chargers gear and sport their gear wherever they go. These are the fans who were upset about the relocation drama yet are morely likely to follow the team to LA or the moon. They are all about the Chargers!
Then there are the San Diego city fans. They too are die hard. They attend games, buy season tickets, watch their beloved team on TV and deck out their cars with Chargers gear. They are fans of the Chargers because they are the team in San Diego. Some of these fans would gladly welcome the Raiders with open arms if they ever came to San Diego. They are all about the city of San Diego!
Lastly, is the casual and somewhat fair-weathered fan. They might go to a game but probably will just watch it on TV. If the team is having a bad year, they might not follow as closely. They like the Chargers but would not be upset if they leave. They are all about just rooting on a team.
The hardest fans to win back are the city fans. The die-hard Chargers fans are upset but willing to believe that Dean Spanos is genuine in his claim to want to stay in San Diego. The city fans will be more skeptical. They are still upset about the team wanting to up an leave their beloved city.
One way to win fans back is to fire Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani. Fabiani was been with the Chargers since 2002. He was the hated man in this crazy relocation roller coaster since he was basically of the voice of the Chargers. The chances of that happening is very unlikely, but he has been MIA in the last week.
Dean Spanos needs to be the one to make the statements and to address the media. As much as fans hated Mark Fabiani, more fans are upset that Spanos let him do all the talking. Dean needs to show that city and the fans that he wants to stay by being vocal and visible. Spanos has never been a very public person but being public is very critical to gain the respect of the fans.
The Chargers need to look at both options, Mission Valley and downtown San Diego and weigh all the options. The city needs to allow Spanos to take charge of the negotiations. If Spanos is in charge, he will work harder to get it done. His approach would be more sincere to the fans.
Dean Spanos needs to work with Tom Tolesco on improving the team. The fair-weathered fans are not going to vote for a stadium if the team is having losing seasons, like the the 2015 season. It’s a harsh reality of the city of San Diego. If the team isn’t playing well, the citizens can find plenty of other things to do on a Sunday. A winning team, with a chance to make the playoffs in November, could sway some voters to approve public money for a new stadium.
Dean, along with Mark Fabiani, need to make an apology to the fans. It needs to be heart felt and sincere. They need to assure the fans that they do matter to the Chargers as much as the Chargers matter to the fans.
Lastly, the fans need to forgive Spanos and realize how hard this has been for him and the organization. It is not easy to be defeated. It is even harder to come back to the ones you might have wronged and try to mend the relationship. Dean Sopanos and the Chargers need to see that the fans are still upset but have not given up yet.
Let’s hope 2016 is not the roller coaster ride like 2015. Save our Bolts!