It all came about because of a neighbor, who happened to be a diehard Chargers fan.
Initially, I was never a gal who liked to watch football. I went to a couple of games in high school but that was it. I grew up in this little place in Rhode Island, which is about a 90-minute drive outside of Boston. The closest NFL team was the Patriots. (I know, boo-hiss!) The only thing I could tell you then about the New England Patriots was that their quarterback was Jim Plunkett and they played at Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, MA.
My dad was a baseball guy, a fan of the good ol’ Boston Red Sox. The BoSox were his team, and Luis Tiant was his favorite player; probably more so than either Carl Yazstremski (“Yaz” was my favorite) or Tony Conigliaro.
We never watched football!
No, not even Super Bowls!
Fast forward to moving from the East Coast to the West Coast in 1980. I was still pretty uneducated about football at that time, but not for much longer!
I believe it was that fall when we began going to our neighbor’s home to watch San Diego Chargers football on Sunday afternoons. The Chargers’ Air Coryell offense was flying high with Fouts at QB. He had Charlie Joiner and John Jefferson at wideout, along with Chuck Muncie and John Cappelletti as his running backs. Additionally, No. 14 had Kellen Winslow at the tight-end spot. Remember that defense? Willie Buchanon, Louie Kelcher, Woody Lowe, Don Macek, Jim Laslavic and Ed White. Beasts!
That was a great year to start being a fan. The Chargers ended the season with an 11-5 record, finishing in 1st place in the AFC West. They went on to face the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round and won. Unfortunately, they ran into the Oakland Raiders at the AFC Championship level and lost. Disappointed, but my interest was piqued.
The following year the Chargers won their division again, in no small part due to the guys who returned from the previous year, but also additions like Wes Chandler, James Brooks, Eric Sievers and Pete Holohan.
Then came the “Epic in Miami.” What a game! Once you hear it, all football fans immediately associate it with the image of an exhausted and drained Kellen Winslow being helped off the field by a couple of teammates. Chargers won the hard-fought, see-saw contest, 41-38 in overtime. It was quite a battle.
These are the types of games that get fans fired up! I was no different. By that point, I was becoming a fan, although my understanding of the sport was still miniscule.
After the heat and humidity of Miami a week later, Fouts and Company found themselves in Cincinnati. This game gets a nickname, too: the “Freezer Bowl.” From the heat and humidity of Miami to the sub-zero temperatures in Cincy, where the wind chill at game time was minus-59 degrees! The Chargers would have the fight of their football lives on the line. Sadly, they lost to the Bengals 27-7.
Of course, there were other games and players that helped solidify my enjoyment – and frustration – of Chargers’ football, just like many other people who root for them. As a “transplant” to California in 1980, there were four football teams here: the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders, the LA Rams and the San Diego Chargers.
I chose to represent San Diego then as I do now. My understanding of the game is better because of family and friends, plus a little bit of reading. I still have a long way to go and every year is a learning experience.
Thanks for some awesome memories over the years, San Diego Chargers! Now let’s bring on 2016!
Thank you for reading!
A football season is 16 games long. If a team is lucky, it can prolong the time of clearing out lockers and getting bodies healthy for at least four weeks beyond the regular season.
For Melvin Ingram, that would be a total of 64 games in which he could have played every September to December of the last four years. Instead, the thorn in his side has been injuries which cost him 19 games; the equivalent of an entire season!
Ingram’s 2013 campaign was supposed to see his statistics spike; after all, free agency saw Shaun Phillips move on to the AFC West rival Denver Broncos while Antwan Barnes joined the New York Jets. That left the second-year outside linebacker to learn from wily veterans such as Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson. Both Freeney and Johnson were known for their work ethic and hard-nosed play. Unfortunately, his sophomore season was over before it had even begun.
Ingram suffered an ACL tear on May 14 during OTA’s. The expectation was that Ingram would be lost for the year and in August he was placed on the Reserve/PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. Fans were elated to see number 54 back on the field in December and ecstatic to have him force a fumble while sacking Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin. Two weeks later in Cincinnati, he intercepted Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the AFC Championship game.
“SupaMelvin” was BACK!! Or was he?
Ingram appeared to make it through the 2014 OTA’s, minicamp and preseason unscathed. That all changed after the September 14 game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. The weekend arrived and brought with it another stint on the Reserve/Designated to Return list. Eight weeks later he was back sporting his blue and gold. It was a deja vu moment – two years with back-to-back injuries and who does he suit against? Both games were at home against none other than those pesky Raiders. San Diego won both contests.
In April of 2015, the Chargers exercised the fifth-year option of Ingram’s rookie contract. His salary for the 2016 season is $7.751 million, per Spotrac. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
Ingram appeared in all 16 games for the first time since his rookie season, collecting 65 tackles, 10.5 sacks and six passes defensed (PD). His career numbers in 45 outings are 143 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 13 PD with three forced fumbles.
The Bolts’ defense needs Ingram to step it up. Adding former Seahawk Brandon Mebane at the nose tackle position is a start. Drafting Joey Bosa, projected to be the bookend on the defensive line opposite Corey Liuget, was a boon. Having third-year man Jerry Attaochu in the mix along with thumper Denzel Perryman provides defensive coordinator John Pagano with chess pieces that he hasn’t had in years.
Ingram has only logged two games with more than a single sack, both coming last year. One was the preseason game against Seattle last year (2) and another 2.5 collected in the win over Miami. Expect that to change.
Should the starting group on the field complement one another as anticipated, I can see this defense lighting up wide receivers and tight ends, stuffing the run and pushing back opposing linemen.
For Ingram to be successful, he must start strong and stay strong. He has to be a leader on defense this season. He needs to set the tone.
Does Ingram outperform his 2015 numbers? I anticipate that he will. Could he get to 14.5? It could be a real possibility given he should be a bit more free to roam with Mebane in the middle at nose.
These guys don’t wear lightning bolts for show. That electricity HAS to find its way into each and every game and I hope that “SupaMelvin” leads the charge.
Thanks for reading!
The San Diego Chargers went into Sunday’s road game against the Baltimore Ravens knowing it was a make-or-break game. Despite a litany of injuries to key players throughout the game, the Chargers found themselves in a tied game with minutes left to go. A costly pass interference penalty on Steve Williams put the Ravens in position to boot the game-winning field goal as time expired. Baltimore succeeded on the attempt and sent San Diego flying back across the country with a 29-26 loss.
The loss is the fourth in a row for San Diego, the sole occupant of the AFC West cellar with a 2-6 record. Even more frustrating is the fact that the Chargers could easily have the inverse of that record as three of their last four losses have literally occurred on the last play of the game. The Bolts are easily the best 2-6 team in the league, but there are no moral victories in the NFL and there are definitely no moral playoffs.
The sky is indeed falling in San Diego.
The lightning bolts on the Chargers’ helmets are supposed to symbolize lightning striking the opponents. Instead, the lightning has been striking each other. In the Baltimore game alone, twelve players went down with injuries. Most notably, Keenan Allen, King Dunlap, Ladarius Green and Corey Liuget did not finish the game on the field. To add insult to injury, only Allen did not leave Baltimore in a walking boot.
Injuries have been the undoing of the Chargers.
There has been no shortage of negative stories coming out of Chargers Park this offseason. There were contract issues with Eric Weddle and Philip Rivers. Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd are ready to call it a career after the season. The potential relocation to Los Angeles has been a black cloud that has loomed over the entire season. Fans have been apathetic when it comes to showing their team pride at games. Visiting teams have said playing San Diego on the road was like playing in their own home stadium. And speaking of home stadiums…on second thought, enough has been said to that end without anyone having anything relevant to say.
The Chargers needed a great season to put all the negative feelings, stadium and relocation talk on hold and focus on football. Instead, the losing and recent NFL Town Hall meeting has bolted those issues to the forefront once again. The fans are stomping mad about the product on the field.
Should they be?
Four of the Chargers six losses have occurred on the final drive of the game. San Diego is holding together with duct tape and bubble gum on both sides of the ball, especially the offensive line. The running game has been nonexistent but they are the number one offense in the league. Philip Rivers has been remarkable considering the pounding he’s taken and the number of bodies of his offensive linemen growing exponentially each game.
You would have to delve deep into the record books to see the last time the No. 1 quarterback in the NFL through eight games was on the last place team in his division. The Chargers’ record does not reflect their effort. Sadly, the record is all casual fans will see and the outrage will give way to more apathy.
As if that weren’t enough, on Tuesday, Keenan Allen, Branden Oliver and Tourek Williams were all placed on injured reserve, ending their seasons. Allen was on the way to shattering records. He suffered a lacerated kidney on his highlight-reel touchdown on Sunday. Oliver was more decisive in his running than Gordon. While his yards per carry was slightly less (3.7 to 3.5), he outgained Gordon in the passing game (8.6 to 5.2 yards per catch). Williams had missed the entire regular season but looked to be close to returning.
What hope is left in this season?
San Diego has a schedule that lends itself to a long winning streak. There are five AFC West games as the Bolts have only played the Raiders to this point. Of their remaining eight opponents, only Denver and Oakland have winning records. Their non-conference opposition (Chicago, Jacksonville and Miami) have a combined seven wins.
Their chief opposition, Denver, is done with the cupcakes of the league and now face the meat of their schedule with games against Indianapolis, New England, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in addition to their conference schedule.
If San Diego can string together wins, and most importantly beat Denver, they can realistically challenge for a wild card spot. Winning the West is out of the question barring a complete Denver implosion, but stranger things have happened in the NFL. Yes, this is the glass-half-full viewpoint, and I’m one of the few who still has it. To quote the X-Files, I want to believe. I still do believe.
How about you? Is your glass half-empty or half-full? Leave your comments below.
The Greg One
The San Diego Chargers’ secondary has been tested early and often through the first five games of the season. Though their 2-3 record suggests otherwise, the banged-up unit led by Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett has fared extremely well against the NFL’s top receiving talent.
The Chargers began the season at home against the Detroit Lions and their All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Johnson finished third in the NFL in receiving in 2013 and fell out of the top ten in 2014 despite recording over 1,077 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. San Diego allowed Johnson one catch on the first drive of the game and one catch on the last drive of the game. At the end of the day:
Calvin Johnson: 2 catches for 39 yards.
The very next week, the Chargers traveled to Cincinnati to face the Bengals and their All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green. Green is currently fourth in the NFL in receiving yards with 495, adding three touchdowns. He did have a touchdown reception on a perfectly thrown ball in the back of the end zone. Aside from that score, Green only touched the ball three other times. At the end of the day:
A.J. Green: 4 catches for 45 yards and one touchdown.
In Week 5 before a prime-time audience on Monday Night Football, San Diego welcomed Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The All-Pro Brown finished 2014 as the number one receiver in the NFL with over 1,600 yards, and is third in the league this season with 523 receiving yards after five games. In the prime-time tilt, Brown was held to three receptions for a paltry 45 yards. At the end of the day:
Antonio Brown: 3 catches for 45 yards.
This is a great sign for a team that is once again beset by injuries in the secondary and the offensive line. Both Flowers and Verrett have missed critical game action. When they’re on the field, they have proven to be exceptional at shadowing the best wide receivers the game has to offer.
At the present time, San Diego owns the ninth-ranked passing defense in the league at 218 yards passing allowed per contest. Through three weeks, Green had been allowed the most catches with four and Bengals wideout Marvin Jones had the most receiving yards with 48. In the Week 4 overtime thriller against Cleveland, the Chargers allowed six passes for 79 yards to the Browns best wide receiver, Travis Benjamin.
In the soul-crushing Monday Night Chargers loss, Steelers’ wideout Marcus Wheaton caught only one pass. Wheaton shook off Flowers with a double move that resulted in a 72-yard touchdown. No Steelers’ wide receiver caught any more than three balls. At the end of the day:
Most yards allowed to a wide receiver: 79
Most catches allowed to a wide receiver: 6
Most receiving yards allowed regardless of position: 85 (RB Duke Johnson, Cleveland)
No player has had a 100-yard receiving day against San Diego.
Only one quarterback, Cleveland’s Josh McCown, has thrown for over 300 yards against the Bolts.
The Chargers three losses can be attributed to many things. Injuries, turnovers, clock management and play calling can be named among the various reasons. A weak secondary is not one of those reasons. Dropped interceptions can definitely be added to the list. In the Pittsburgh game alone, three interceptions were dropped, two of which had a clear path to the end zone. Dropped picks were among a list of other missed opportunities that cost San Diego a win against Cincinnati as well.
This bodes well for a team that has more elite receivers on the horizon. San Diego will travel to Green Bay (Randall Cobb) in Week 6 and still has two games against Denver (Demaryius Thomas) remaining.
There is also a trio of rising stars the Chargers secondary will face with Jacksonville (Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns) and two games against Oakland (Amari Cooper). If the Bolts can continue to keep bottling the opposition’s best weapons, the Chargers will win more games and be in prime position to challenge for the AFC West title.
Keep in mind, the remainder of the schedule after the game against the Packers is very favorable for the Chargers.
It is not over yet, BoltFam.
What do you think Bolt Nation? Encouraged or discouraged?
Leave your thoughts in the remarks below.
The Greg One
On April 21st NFL fans around the world rejoiced as the 2015 season schedule was released. Experts and fans alike went to work forecasting the record of their favorite team. The San Diego Chargers had an unusually tumultuous offseason headlined by contract disputes, trade rumors and one glaring suspension. However, the Philip Rivers contract extension, free agent signings and drafting of blue chip running back Melvin Gordon gave way to great expectations among the fan base.
Amidst the litany of injuries along the offensive line and lack of an advantage via special teams (only five return yards after four games), some Chargers fans are already beginning to write off this season’s edition of our favorite Southern California team.
To paraphrase infamous former Arizona Cardinals coach Denny Green, Are the 2015 San Diego Chargers who we thought they were?
Let’s put the season into a logical perspective.
After four games the bolts are one of ten teams sitting at 2-2. They are only one of four AFC teams with that record. No one expects the Chargers to go through the season undefeated. Only one team has completed the NFL season undefeated. This season will be no different. Losses are going to come. If the Bengals don’t intercept Rivers during the final two minutes of the game the Chargers may well be 3-1 at this point. All things considered, 2-2 is a good place to be.
Through four weeks:
Philip Rivers has thrown for the most yards in the NFL.
Keenan Allen is the NFL’s seventh-leading receiver in yards and tied for fourth in catches.
Melvin Gordon leads all rookie running backs with 228 yards on 56 carries, good for a 4.1-yard per carry average.
San Diego is averaging 31.5 points in their two games at home, both wins. They are tied for 13th in the league at 24 points per game.
Keep in mind this is with the all-too-familiar cornucopia of injuries along the offensive line. During their midwest road trip, the bolts lost four starters to injury during the Cincinnati game and were down two starters during the game against Minnesota. Last week against Cleveland, not only did the Chargers have the same reoccurring injuries to three offensive line starters but receivers Malcom Floyd and Stevie Johnson both were lost for the game. Despite finishing the game with only two able-bodied wideouts, the bolts persevered and churned out a come from behind win.
The record may be average, the play has been way above average. It’s no coincidence the games the Chargers lost were the games where offensive linemen were dropping like flies. Even then, the third game against Minnesota was the only game where San Diego had no chance to win in the fourth quarter.
The secondary is still banged up with Flowers, Verrett and Addae on the injury report as questionable for the Monday Night home game against Pittsburgh. On the wide receiver front, Stevie Johnson will not play. Malcom Floyd and Jacoby Jones are questionable for the game although they did practice during the week at varying capacities. Keenan Allen and Dontrelle Inman will be ready to go. Don’t be surprised to see Javontee Herndon brought up from the practice squad to complete three-receiver sets and return kicks if Floyd and Jones aren’t ready.
Despite their woes at receiver, the offense will get a huge boost in the form of All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates. Expect a big game from Gates as Rivers gets his favorite weapon back. With 99 touchdown catches over his career, Gates will be targeted a lot in the red zone so he can receive his landmark touchdown catch on prime time national TV. The presence of Gates will also serve to open the field for whomever is playing wideout for the Chargers on Monday night.
After four weeks, one-half of last years’ Super Bowl is 2-2. Indianapolis, picked by many to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this season is 2-2. Do we wish the San Diego were better than 2-2? Of course. Are they holding serve and staying in the hunt for the AFC West title? Absolutely. That’s all we can ask of them right now. The injuries will eventually subside and this team will get even more potent.
A quarter of the way through the season, the Chargers are right where we need them to be. What do you think Bolt Nation? Encouraged or discouraged? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
The excitement surrounding the secondary of the 2015 San Diego Chargers was palpable heading into the regular season. What they lack in size – as not one is taller than 5-feet-11 – they make up for in experience. Consider that the on-field leader for these men is eight-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowler Eric Weddle, a guy who is matched in intensity only by the Bolts’ offensive signal caller, Philip Rivers. There are only two other Pro Bowlers in this unit, Brandon Flowers and Darrell Stuckey. For a bunch of men who were primarily drafted in rounds one through four, they should be performing at a high level. At least that is how it shakes out on paper.
Chargers fans are quite obviously frustrated with the product appearing on the field these past four weeks. So, what seems to be the problem? Injuries have a role, but so do ridiculous penalties when the team has the opponent stopped and a chance to get the ball back into the hands of No. 17. What lengths do secondary coach Ron Milus and his assistant Greg Williams have to go to so that this bunch does what it is paid to do? With the Pittsburgh Steelers coming to town for a Monday Night game, and even if Ben Roethlisberger isn’t under center, this unit needs to be prepared.
Let’s review some of the issues through the first month of the season.
First and Foremost: Get healthy, stay healthy!
Of the four designated starters: free safety Eric Weddle, strong safety Jahleel Addae, left cornerback Brandon Flowers, and right cornerback Jason Verrett – only Weddle has started each game. Opposite him, Addae has been nursing a sore ankle since the Cincinnati game. Additionally, Flowers (knee/concussion) and Verrett (foot) have been in and out of the lineup. Milus has had his own merry-go-round to manage due to injury, shuffling corner/safety Jimmie Wilson as well as safety Adrian Phillips, plus corners Patrick Robinson and Steve Williams into the lineup. Rookie cornerback Craig Mager was finally on the field against the Minnesota Vikings only to be inactive last week with a bum hamstring. As of this writing (Friday) Addae, Verrett and Mager are still on the injury report though with limited participation in practice. Who suits up this week will be of utmost importance against the Steelers.
Although there have only been five penalties, the fact remains that they have come at inopportune times. Two by Verrett gave the Cincinnati Bengals a new set of downs TWICE; both were 15-yard personal foul infractions. In the game against the Minnesota Vikings, Williams was flagged for a costly pass interference (PI) which set up the Vikings at midfield rather than punting. Against the Cleveland Browns last week, Williams was called for illegal use of hands. And in the same matchup, Flowers was nailed for a PI which fortunately only cost six yards. Five penalties in four games by just the secondary is not conducive to winning. This area needs to be addressed.
Tackling by the numbers
As per usual, Weddle leads the posse with 38 combined tackles (29 solos), plus half a sack. Addae has managed four solo tackles in two games. Flowers has collected eight solo tackles (10 total), while Verrett has been credited with six overall (4 solo). The back-ups (Wilson, Robinson, Phillips and Williams) collectively have 42 tackles, a forced fumble (Robinson) and two picks (Robinson versus Detroit and Williams at Minnesota). In 2014, the secondary was responsible for six interceptions on the year. Is having two thus far a good measuring stick for Milus’ men? Time will tell.
Despite the secondary undergoing a bit of upheaval early in the season courtesy of the injury bugaboo, Milus and Williams seem to have their group on the right path. However, they will need to step it up and play smart. Meaning, no getting beat, no dumb penalties, no blown coverages. Monday’s AFC divisional face-off with Pittsburgh will be a turning point as the Bolts’ secondary will need to play it tight – keep Antonio Brown and company in check.
Here’s to execution being stellar this week!
Thanks for reading!
The Chargers come into Week 3 with a 1-1 record as they go on the road to face a Vikings team who is coming off a very impressive 26-16 win over the Lions.
Here are my three keys going into Minnesota and coming away with a win.
1.) Contain Adrian Peterson
The Chargers run defense has been awful these first two games and they get their biggest test this week in trying to stop AD. Last week, Peterson had 29 carries and 134 yards, averaging 4.6 yards a carry. The Chargers are coming off a game in which they allowed 175 total rushing yards on 36 carries for an average of 4.86 yards per carry. That’s going to HAVE to get better, or AD will run all day and single-handedly beat the Bolts. Oh, and no, I will not mention that he ran for a single-game rushing record last time San Diego played them in Minnesota.
2.) Limit the mistakes
Last week the Chargers killed themselves with the stupid penalties and costly turnovers, leading to sloppy all-around play. Going on the road in back-to-back weeks is not easy; especially playing two very good home crowds in Minnesota and Cincinnati. But this will be yet another big test for the Chargers. If the Bolts can limit the penalties and turnovers and keep the Vikings offense, and more importantly Peterson, off the field, they will have a very nice game. Should San Diego do just that, they should be flying home to America’s finest city with their second win of the season.
3.) Make Bridgewater beat you, not AD
This goes back to point No. 1 as well. Adrian Peterson is by far their best player on both sides of the ball. So, forcing the hand of Teddy to win the game would be huge for this defense. The Vikings don’t have the offensive weapons that the Bengals or Lions have. Teddy is a decent QB, but is only in his 2nd year. Eliminate (try to at least) the best player on the field, and you can create turnovers, and hopefully the offense can take advantage of that this week.
Let me know what you guys think are keys to this week’s game and go Bolts!
Last week, Keenan Allen reintroduced himself to the NFL world by catching 15 passes for 166 yards in a Week 1 victory over the Detroit Lions. However, no one is talking about Allen’s herculean display of pass-catching proficiency. Like the Chargers themselves, Allen is getting little attention or respect from the league or national media.
Luckily, Bolt Nation, you have me.
Let the truth be known!
Such numbers might not get a second look if it’s elite receivers like Dez Bryant or Calvin Johnson. Actually, yeah, they would.
Let’s look at the facts for a moment.
In Week 1, Allen had more receiving yards and twice as many receptions as Bryant and Johnson combined.
Demaryius Thomas has 15 catches for 176 yards…after two games. Thomas is regarded by many as a top-five wideout in the NFL.
Keenan Allen is on pace for 240 receptions and 2,656 yards. Those would both be all-time receiving records. What’s even more improbable is Allen would have all those receptions and yardage but no touchdowns.
With Tyrell Williams getting released by the Chargers on Saturday, and Jacoby Jones being doubtful for Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, San Diego will play four wide receivers including the aforementioned Allen, Malcom Floyd, Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman.
You know what that means? More targets for Allen.
After one week, San Diego has the league’s No. 1 offense, quarterback and wide receiver. Cincinnati may as well begin the game playing prevent defense. That would, however, amount to more catches and yards for Allen. The flaw with the prevent is it gives the offense more yards; making that option moot.
Throw in the under-the-radar yeoman’s work of tight end Ladarius Green last week (5 rec, 74 yards, 1 td), and with the running backs catching out of the backfield, Cincinnati would probably forfeit the game if they could get away with it. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m predicting a resounding win for the away team; somewhere in the 37-17 range.
Keenan Allen will add another double-digit catch game and stay on pace.
Dez Bryant and his broken foot will be somewhere watching Allen on an insanely big screen, tears short-circuiting his remote control.
Calvin Johnson wants to be Keenan Allen when he grows up.
Keenan Allen doesn’t catch balls, balls are sucked into his gravitational pull.
Chuck Norris wears Keenan Allen pajamas.
Donald Trump wants Keenan Allen to be his running mate.
If Tom Brady threw a pass to Keenan Allen, the ball would inflate.
Keenan Allen caught Halley’s Comet.
Keenan Allen deserves all of our support as he runs (and catches) toward NFL immortality. Cheers to you, Mr. Allen! The most interesting man in the world wants your phone number so he can learn how to be as interesting as you.
The Greg One
**Writers note: This column is for entertainment purposes only. Any rebroadcast, re-transmission or commenting on the absurdity of this column after only reading the title without the expressed written consent of the Chargers, the NFL, BoltBlitz.com and The Greg One is strictly prohibited.
Chargers (1-0) travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals (1-0). Here are three things the Chargers must do to come back to San Diego with a win.
1.) Force Andy Dalton to try to beat you by containing the running game
Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard anchor the backfield for the Bengals and they are two very good backs. Jeremy Hill is a big back who is physical, yet elusive. As a rookie, Hill had 1,124 rushing yards (good enough for 5.1 yards a carry) and nine TDs. Last Sunday versus the Raiders, Hill went for 63 yards on 19 attempts (3.3 yards per carry) and two scores. Gio Bernard is the quick, multi-use back. Last season, he ran for 680 yards on 168 attempts (4.0 yards a run) with five TDs and caught 43 passes for 349 yards (8.1 yards a catch) with two touchdowns. Combined, he had a total of 211 touches for 1,029 yards (4.8 yards a touch) and seven touchdowns. Last week, the Chargers gave up 69 rushing yards on 16 attempts (4.3 yards a run) and one TD. That is going to have to tighten up. The Bengals are very balanced on offense and will not be afraid to run the ball down the Chargers’ throat. Contain Hill and Bernard, forcing Dalton to try to beat you.
2.) Get the ball to Danny Woodhead
Danny Woodhead is the key to this Chargers’ offense. He is a matchup nightmare, and a guy who is Rivers’ security blanket that can turn a one-yard gain into a new set of downs. The last time these two teams faced off against one another, Woodhead had 17 touches for 68 yards (4.0 yards per touch) and the offense went for 324 total yards. That day was the Chargers’ first playoff victory under Mike McCoy and the team’s first playoff win since 2008. Woodhead makes the linebackers think more and forces them to play up closer than they normally would, leaving the middle of the field open for a Stevie Johnson or Ladarius Green.
3.) Win the turnover battle
This should be obvious, for many reasons. But for the Chargers, it’s an important one. Limit the turnovers you make, play ball-control offense with the running game and short passes, keep your defense healthy and let Rivers do what he does best, and that’s control the game. Andy Dalton is very “friendly”, and by that I mean he turns the ball over a lot. In Dalton’s four years as a pro, he has 66 interceptions on 2,145 attempts. That averages out to 16.5 a season and just a tad over one a game and one every 32.5 pass attempts. For the Chargers to get the highest chance of a turnover, they must get the lead early and pressure the former second-round signal caller in the passing game. If they do this, I feel very strongly about their chances at victory in Cincinnati.
What do you think are the keys to victory? Let me know in the comments below. Go Bolts!
Malcom Floyd has entered his 11th season in the NFL at the impressive age of 34 years old. There were many questions swirling this last offseason regarding whether or not he would enter the 2015 campaign still capable of competing with more youthful opponents. The answer to those questions is clear, and last Sunday’s performance, coupled with a solid offseason with the team, gave a sneak peek of his relentlessness.
Floyd (M80) is one of those age-defying players. Less than two years ago, he suffered a season-ending neck injury during the second week against the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only did he bounce back the following year, he prevailed. Now that he is approaching that time in his career where many consider retirement, the Chargers’ longtime wideout is still showing signs of excellence.
Since joining the team as an undrafted free agent back in 2004, Floyd has built a special bond with Rivers. In 2014, he recorded 52 receptions, logged 856 receiving yards, all while averaging 17.7 yards per reception; giving him one of his best seasons yet. The rapport between the two has given the Bolts hope in clutch conditions.
During last week’s comeback win against the rugged Detroit Lions, Floyd seemed to fly under the radar. Granted, the All-Pro Philip Rivers has more passing options this year, limiting the receptions Floyd would have seen in the past. However, the veteran wide receiver still notched a 29-yard reception in a critical situation. Although he only had one catch, it is worth noting that he did a solid job blocking in the running game from the wide receiver position.
The season is still very young along with many players, but M80 hasn’t showed signs of stopping. Heading into Week 2, the Bolts travel across country to Cincinnati face off against the Bengals. Last week, the Bengals held the Oakland Raiders to a lousy 183 passing yards, while the Chargers notched 388 yards against Detroit. Floyd and the receiving corps has their work cut out for them, but certainly have the opportunity to advance their record to 2-0.
Briana Soltis (@BrianaSoltis)