Josh Lambo

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The staff here at boltblitz give their predictions and takes on what they think will happen Sunday versus the Buccaneers

Zak Darman: Coming off a big road win in Houston, Philip Rivers and the Chargers go home to take on the Buccaneers in what many think will be a close game. I happen to agree with them. Most are picking the Bucs, I don’t agree with them there. I think the Chargers control the clock fairly easily and force a few turnovers on Winston, who is known to give up the ball at times. Chargers 24 Bucs 20

Charles LaFurno: Defense does a great job shutting Mike Evans down and the Chargers cool off a dangerously hot Bucs team to seal their sixth win and get back to .500 with four games left to play. Philip goes over 300 yard mark with four touchdowns. Bosa and Ingram combined for 3 sacks and the defense snags two picks from Famous Jameis. Chargers 34 Bucs 20

Michael Brazeel: Mike Evans against Casey Hayward is going to be the matchup of the day. Evans gets the better of CH going for 100 yards and a touchdown. The Bucs will be in position to tie the game late in the 4th, but the rookie kicker will miss. Giving the Bolts a win and getting them back to .500. 27-24 bolts

Brian Scott: The young and up-and-coming Bucs suffer a hangover after defeating the Seahawks. Bucs give up sacks and with the improved pass rush, the Bolts get in the backfield often. Rivers has a 300 yard game and Gordon gets 80 with two touchdowns. Chargers win 36-17

Laura Leech: Back at home and trying to get to .500 for the third time this season, the Chargers finally do it. It comes down to the wire but they are victorious in this must-win game. 31-28 bolts

Corey Decker: Both teams going into this game with something to prove. The veteran presence and the record of Philip Rivers in December are the two reasons chargers walk away victorious. 24-21 Chargers by 3.

Brian Krich: I like the Chargers here. I believe Bucs will struggle to protect Winston and won’t be able to effectively sustain run game. Mike Evans will get his, but it won’t be enough. Chargers balanced offense carries the day. I say 27-17 Bolts.

Chris Hoke: Chargers have a very sleepy first half falling behind 14-0 giving up a TD to Mike Evans and another on a Rushing TD. Melvin Gordon carries the team in the Second half scoring a TD and racking up 200 scrimmage yards. Rivers finds Hunter Henry late to tie the game up 14-14 the Chargers get the ball back with one minute left and drive into Lambo range he makes the game winner. 17-14 bolts

Cheryl White: Bucs fly West hoping for another “W” but Chargers defense plays hard & Bosa disrupts Winston often. Rivers is epic again this week with 300 yards & TDs to Gates, Williams & Inman while Gordon runs for 85 yards & a scores twice. Chargers win 35-17

Mike Pisciotta: Lambo misses two FGs, but hits in the closing seconds for the win. Rivers throws 2 INTs, but balances those with 2 TD passes and Gordon runs for another. Rivers and Gates connect early and often with the old man collecting 125 receiving yards. Bolts over the Bucs 27-24

Will McCafferty: I think the Chargers get out to a first quarter lead, let the Bucs back in the game in the second quarter and then open up a can of ass-whoopin’ in the second half. Chargers win going away, 34-17.

Dave Peters: Gates gets one step closer to Tony Gonzalez and the TE-TD record. Rivers throws for three scores as the Chargers dominate until late in the game. Joey Bosa logs a 2.5-sack day. Denzel Perryman recovers a fumble forced by Corey Liuget. Pagano goes ultra conservative in his play calling, as always, surrendering a couple scores late. Chargers 27 Bucs 26

Tyrell2

 

Man, oh man! What a day to be a Chargers fan!!

That was my reaction to the Chargers vs. Falcons game a few weeks back. And if you had Tyrell Williams in your fantasy football lineup that week – he reaped HUGE dividends! I have him on my team in two leagues and he was well over his projections: 15 points against an 8.64 in my Yahoo league while in my NFL League it was 14 versus an estimated 5.70 low.

Crazy to recall that this huge, raw talent was not invited to the NFL Combine. Guess he was considered too raw as he went undrafted.

That’s okay, because the Chargers picked him up. And while he didn’t see much on-field time until late last year, it’s all good.

Fast forward to 2016.

The 6’4″, 205 pounder made his way up the depth chart after an injury in training camp landed Stevie Johnson on IR. Shortly after that, the Bolts’ number one wide-out Keenan Allen was lost for the season. Where did that put Williams? Squarely in the starting line-up along with slot receiver and off-season signing Travis Benjamin.

During training camp last year, Chargers’ signal caller Philip Rivers made mention of how much Williams reminded him of Malcom Floyd; the way he moved, almost as if gliding his way down the field.

He is becoming adept at using that big body and 4.38 second speed to fly across the middle or along the sidelines. Through 10 games, Williams career stats are 43 catches for 720 yards and four TD scores. The Falcons game saw him mark career-highs in both targets (7 of 10) and receiving yards (140). To date, he is ninth in yards after the catch (YAC) with 317. That breaks down to an average of 7.4 YAC.

Those are all great. There are, however, a couple of things that Williams needs to tweak. One is his sideline awareness.

Early in the second quarter, first and 10 from Atlanta’s 49-yard line, Benjamin threw the ball towards Williams, who caught it and ran. A 22 yard bomb. While the toss took many by surprise, it was an awesome catch…except that it was called back incomplete. A simple nuance – dragging his right toe as he was going out of bounds would have been the difference of another set of downs rather than the challenge that followed. Second and 10 at Atlanta’s 49 yard line rather than first and 10. Sigh. The Bolts kick a field goal to cap that drive.

Williams was kind of quiet in the second half (3/4, 27 yds) as San Diego continued to run the ball with Gordon and began mixing Inman into the offense more. Williams’ last catch of the day converted a 3rd and 10 at the Falcons’ 15 yard line into a Chargers’ 1st and goal at Atlanta’s 5-yard line early in the fourth and Josh Lambo kicked a chip-shot to pull the Bolts’ within three.

The thing with Williams is that he is extremely adept at picking up those yards after the catch, much like Malcom Floyd was prone to do when Rivers was putting the ball up for him to nab. In just his second year, Williams and Rivers have quickly developed a rapport in which when No. 17 fires a bullet in his direction, he is confident that No. 16 is getting his hands on it. The game is not too big for him as he has continued to build on what began last December – opportunity knocking due to Floyd having to leave the Denver game. He hauled in his first NFL touchdown that day in front of Broncos’ corner Aquib Talib.

He hasn’t looked back since.

So what does Williams need to do at this stage of his development? One thing he MUST do is work on his route running. For example, we have all seen how at least a couple of times throughout a game he misses the option route. Those miscues just give Rivers fits. So far there have been 11 times where the chance for better field position has resulted in the ball not being in his hands. Overall better recognition of where the defender is in conjunction to when/where Williams should break or how deep into the route before he does will come with repetition. He needs to get a quicker break off the line of scrimmage also.

When Keenan Allen went down week one, it was Williams’ turn to step up. At that time, Rivers stated to Michael Gehlken (SD-UT) “We need him to catch a bunch of balls this year — a bunch of balls and have some huge days and big gains.”

From the apex of Atlanta to the debacle in Denver, Williams appeared to be hampered a bit in Mile High Stadium. Battling a knee injury had his status questionable all week, so perhaps limited practice time may have affected him in his running and timing ability. A tipped ball off his hands led to a 49-yard interception-TD by Bradley Roby and gave the Broncos the lead late in the second quarter. On the Bolts’ next series, Williams tweaked his knee again going after a pass and was done for the day. Targeted six times, he hauled in a lone catch for four yards.

Though still having a sore knee with minimal practice reps, Williams hauled in six Rivers’ passes for 65 yards and a score this past Sunday against the Titans. This week versus Miami, with fellow wide-out Travis Benjamin inactive with his own knee injury, Williams’ stat line was 5/125 and a TD. It could have been more if not for at least twice where he didn’t even look back to Rivers to recognize that the ball was headed in his direction. Or because he let the defender beat him to the ball and didn’t fight for it, thus causing an interception.

The chemistry between Williams and his signal caller continues to evolve with each rep in practice and on the field. After the Thursday Night game against Denver two weeks ago, Rivers told Tom Krasovic (SD-UT) “Tyrell, as you saw, has the potential to make every play. There’s not a play physically that he can’t make. It’s just a matter of continuing to grow as a receiver – running (optimal) routes.”

They say knowledge is power. Stepping in to fill the shoes of your team’s number one receiver at a moment’s notice shows one’s mettle to teammates and coaches alike.

So far, Tyrell Williams has proven he is up to the challenge. He MUST continue to do so for team to have any kind of chance at winning games.

Cheryl White

#LearningCurve

@BoltnUp

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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

New San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy pauses during an NFL football news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in San Diego. The former offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos replaces Norv Turner, who was fired along with general manager A.J. Smith after the Chargers finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the third straight season. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

New San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy pauses during an NFL football news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in San Diego. The former offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos replaces Norv Turner, who was fired along with general manager A.J. Smith after the Chargers finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the third straight season. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

 

So much for sweeping divisional rival Denver in 2016.  So much for a divisional win on the road.  The Chargers lost 27-19 in what was, at times, a typical gritty divisional game and what was, at other times, a complete slop-fest branded as football.

There were really seven plays that could be pointed to as reasons the Chargers lost.

The first was a missed field goal by Josh Lambo from 45 yards out with 59 seconds left in the first half.  He simply hooked the kick for his first miss inside of 50 yards this year.

The next was a blocked point after attempt by Lambo with 4:09 left in the third quarter.

This is where it gets ugly and where my hatred for Mike McCoy grows.

After a Casey Hayward pick six from the Denver 16 with about eight minutes to play, McCoy makes the right INITIAL decision to go for a two point conversion.  It was the right decision because the Chargers were down by five.  A successful two point conversion makes the deficit three points.  What was wrong about the decision was to throw the ball from two yards out.  Too many things can go wrong.  Some did go wrong.  Antonio Gates was called for offensive pass interference, running an illegal pick play.  Back the ball up 10 yards to the 12 and now a pass play is the only option.  Everyone knows that and another Philip Rivers pass was batted up in the air by a Denver defensive lineman.

Fast forward to 2:54 left to play.  The Chargers are at the Denver two yard line with first and goal to go.  The offense runs not one, not two, not three, but four pass plays — all of which fell incomplete — to turn the ball over on downs.  Most teams would bring in their heavy personnel package — three tight ends, blocking back and tailback and cram the ball down the defense’s throat.  The Chargers running game was somewhat effective this week, so it’s reasonable to expect Melvin Gordon could manage two yards.  Instead, the offense comes away empty-handed.

These five play call decisions and the quote below exemplify why Mike McCoy is unfit to be a Head Coach in the National Football League.

mcnorv

 

 

 

Really, Mikeyboy?  You don’t say!

I know that Ken Whisenhunt is the Offensive Coordinator and play caller.  Mike McCoy, as Head Coach is Ken’s boss and should have overruled him and didn’t.  He kept his hands in his pockets.  The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over, expecting different results.  I humbly submit Mike McCoy is insane by this definition.  To make matters worse, Whisenhunt pulled a Norv and got the plays late to Rivers so there wasn’t enough time on the play clock to change out of the stupid calls.

What say you, BoltBlitz readers?  Am I blinded by my hatred for McCoy?

Mike Pisciotta

mccoy11

 

 

Mike McCoy is sending his team the wrong message and it’s a very negative message. It’s a message that says “I don’t trust you in critical times.” Telling your team, through gutless, no-risk decisions, that you don’t trust them is not how to develop a winning culture.

Yeah, the Chargers won in Atlanta on Sunday. Aided late by plays by Denzel Perryman in particular, and John Pagano’s defensive unit in general, the Chargers actually came from behind to win in overtime. That win wasn’t without idiotic decisions (or non-decisions) by the cowardly head coach.

Let’s go back to the end of the first half, shall we? Melvin Gordon scores the second of three touchdowns with 3:29 remaining to pull within 10 points, 27-17. Instead of playing aggressively, McNorv is content to let the half run out, leaving all three timeouts on the board. I guess he thought he could save them and have six at his disposal in the second half?

Three and a half minutes is virtually an eternity in the NFL. Why McCoy chose to let the clock run out, knowing Atlanta was to receive the opening kickoff in the second half is beyond me. I’d have burned the timeouts until Atlanta either punted or got a first down. What do you have to lose? Play aggressively, try to get the ball back and see if Philip Rivers and the offense can’t move down for at least another Josh Lambo field goal?

Maybe Mikeyboy deliberately wanted to trail at the intermission, not trusting himself, his staff or his players to have an opportunity to lead given their penchant for pissing away second half leads. Or maybe he’s just a chickenbleep coach.

Someone said to me “What about the ‘gutsy’ call on fourth down to go for it?”  What about it?  It was do or die.  Two minutes left on the clock, down three points, fourth down and two to go.  There was no other decision to make.  Convert or lose.

Fast forward to overtime. The offense was rolling, having outscored Atlanta 13-3 in the second half. Defense makes a huge fourth down stop, giving the offense the ball in plus territory in overtime. McCoy decides to play conservative and play for a walk-off field goal instead of going for the jugular and playing for six.

Atlanta’s defense was reeling. Rivers picked them apart. McCoy had the opportunity for an exclamation point win. He had the opportunity to let his offense really drive a dagger into the chests of Atlanta but chose to play it safe. His message was clear: he didn’t trust Philip and the offense enough to make this win a signature win.

These are just two poor decisions made by McCoy on Sunday.  There were other questionable decisions, but these were the most glaring.  Mike McCoy coaches scared and it will cost his team in the long run.

It’s been brought to my attention that I incorrectly read the box score.  Gordon scored with 1:04 left in the half, not 3:29.  My contention that McCoy should have used his timeouts does not change

 

Mike Pisciotta

@hawk_pie

 

voteyesonc1

 

The staff at BoltBlitz.com gives their takes and predictions to Sunday’s upcoming match-up versus the Falcons.

Zak Darman: This should be a high-scoring game. Both teams have good offenses. The Chargers have a better defense but they don’t really have anyone who can stop Julio Jones. Benjamin isn’t a lock to play, and without him their receivers are Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, and Griff Whalen (yes, I had to go to the team’s depth chart to even put him down). Hunter Henry gets another touchdown and Rivers goes for 300+ yards but comes up just short. Although teams lose about 70% of the time the week after playing the Seahawks…. Falcons 35-31.

Chris LaFurno: Late Julio game-winning touchdown and Chargers offense can’t answer back as Atlanta wins a nail biter. Falcons 37 Chargers 34.

Michael Brazeel: Rivers will have to go length of field in :40 with no timeouts, as usual, and come up short. Falcons 35-31.

Corey Decker: The Falcons are coming in with a chip on their shoulder so expect them to come out firing. Falcons 34-28.

Travis Blake: I’ve been feeling all week that the Bolts will start slow and sluggish in this one. That’s probably coming from the fact it’s a mini-bye week for the team, and a later than usual start for an east coast game (game time is 1:05 PM PST). The question is can they overcome a slow start and finish out a game strong, instead of leaving us all with that familiar feeling of they screwed something up, or almost did? I believe this defense will continue to build off its improvement in the Bronco game and stop the run. The Bolts will get the running game going and pull off several long drives that quiet the crowd. Bolts win their first road game of the year. Chargers 31-24.

Laura Leech: High scoring game with two explosive offenses. Chargers defense is not facing a sub-par OL like they did against Denver. That extra rest from a Thursday game should help a little, but flying to the East Coast is never easy for any team. It will come down to which defense can cause the most turnovers. Unfortunately, though, Falcons get this one. 38-34 Falcons.

Brian Scott: The defense for the Bolts is playing at a high level and with confidence. Ryan gets sacked multiple times. Air show begins and ends with Rivers throwing his 4th touchdown pass. Gordon scores and gets 80 yards. Chargers finally win back to back games since 2014. 41-31 Bolts.

Chris Hoke: The Falcons start the game driving down the field on their first possession and scoring on a TD to Julio Jones. The bolts respond with a long drive in which we are forced to settle for a Lambo field goal. This is repeated till the second half in Which its 14-6. Chargers come out in the second half and MG breaks away for a huge TD run. It’s wire to wire from this point where the bolts go for it on 4th down. MG gets stuffed and the rest is history. The Falcons hang on 35-29.

Cheryl White: Been thinking all week that this is going to be a tough one, too. Aforementioned trip to East Coast and later start time may be detrimental. I would point out that this team did go to Baltimore and was the first west coast team to win there, although that was 2014. Downside, no Slayer/Woodhead/Verrett this time. We do have Gordon who is running better plus Henry; and lets not forget Bosa. If he can’t get to Ryan maybe he pressures him enough that someone else can. Hayward and Phillips in the secondary though versus those WRs are challenging. Atlanta’s OL is tough and their HC knows a thing or 2 about defense. There better be a damn good game plan in place. Don’t for the love of God go prevent defense or stop running Gordon. Have some guts and get after it because Atlanta WILL capitalize if you allow them to. 38-35 Bolts.

Mike Pisciotta: Chargers will again open an early lead and go conservative. McCoy, Whiz and Pagano love to sit on leads, and they will piss away another one. 37-31 Atlanta in overtime.

Will McCafferty: Honestly, I’m far from confident this week. I felt better about he Denver game. This reminds me of the New Orleans game with a higher power offense. It should be a shootout as both teams can move the ball. Hopefully, the Chargers can get the ball in the end zone and not settle for field goals. Atlanta should be able to score as well. Chargers 38 Falcons 34

Dave Peters: The Chargers actually play a game well from start to finish in this one. This is one of those games where no one, for the most part, expects them to win. The Chargers’ offense outpaces Atlanta, as Hunter Henry scores for the fourth consecutive game and Philip Rivers throws for over 300 yards and three scores. Bosa gets his third and fourth sacks, respectively, while Denzel Perryman recovers a fumble and takes it to the house. Bolts 41 Falcons 27.

kaser2

 

Rookie punter and 2016 sixth-round pick Drew Kaser had a game to forget against the Oakland Raiders in Week 5.

The former Aggie botched a punt late in the third quarter of the game, netting only 16 yards on the punt and setting up the Raiders for what would be a touchdown in the early part of the fourth quarter.

Though that gaffe was excruciatingly difficult to watch, his next error was even more depressing.

The Chargers, after fighting back to get within a field goal of the Raiders, worked their way into field-goal territory with just about a minute left in the game, positioning kicker Josh Lambo for a 36-yard field-goal attempt.

The special teams unit lines up…. the ball is snapped…. and the holder, Kaser, muffed the snap and the game would end in a 34-31 loss, as the Raiders ran out the remaining time on the clock.

This performance by Kaser has fans murmuring about bringing back the organization’s best punter of all-time, Mike Scifres.

Obviously, Kaser is not even close to the only reason why the Bolts lost that game. There were many other factors which helped to contribute to another gut-wrenching loss.

On Wednesday, head coach Mike McCoy announced that second-string quarterback Kellen Clemens will be taking over holding duties for the Chargers, replacing Kaser, who once was the holder for Lambo while the two were teammates at Texas A&M.

Clemens had been a holder earlier in his career with the Jets, and he said that he’s been practicing holds often.

“You stay ready for everything,” Clemens said via The San Diego Union-Tribune, who fielded long snaps from Mike Windt after practice Tuesday. “I took some holds today, but I’ve been taking holds every week, just nobody has been paying attention.”

After having a strong preseason where Kaser was booming punts down the field for an average of over 54 yards per punt, the rook has struggled mightily during the regular season, averaging only 39.1 yards per punt.

In a game where field possession is so critical to a team’s success, 39 yards per punt is not good enough.

Though the Chargers are taking away Kaser’s job as the holder, he will remain the club’s punter, for now. Should the youngster continue to struggle, don’t be surprised if the Bolts bring in some free-agent veterans to workout for the position.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Dave Booga Peters

 

Rivers-Sad

 

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.

 

dear-god

 

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.  

 

slug

 

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:

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.

 

 

hang-head

 

 

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.  

 

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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        

 

BoltsRally1024

 

The staff at boltblitz.com give their take on the Chargers week 3 matchup vs the Colts

 

Zak Darman: Chargers come out flat and the Colts come out guns ablazin’. Colts get a 17-10 lead going into halftime with Luck picking apart this defense for 200 first half yards and 2 Touchdowns. Philip gets one before half hooking up with Travis Benjamin. Second half starts and it is the opposite this time with the Chargers leaning on Melvin Gordon and the running game to take a lead late and the defense holds to win it. Chargers 24 Colts 20

 

Chris LaFurno: Last time these teams saw each other, Luck wasn’t hurt. He was good and that Colts team actually went 11-5. Chargers won that game 19-9 not allowing the Colts into the end zone once. Now they face Luck and Co. with a much improved run game and an emerging defense. I believe MG28 will get it going as early as the first drive and the Chargers won’t look back. They’ll open up a 14-0 lead and it will go score for score from there on out. I love Luck. He’s great but just doesn’t have enough help around him for this to be a trap game. Chargers are ready. Phil will go over the 300 yard mark with 3 Touchdowns. MG28 gets two Touchdowns one through the air and one on the ground. Luck will try to test Verrett often and Verrett will answer the call. 6 targets for 2 receptions for 20 yards, 2 PDs and an interception. Defense comes up with 3 turnovers. Chargers win 35-20

 

Laura Leech: Gordon has another strong game with a touchdown. Benjamin with 2. Hunter Henry gets his first. Colts keep it close but an interception seals the deal for the Chargers in a nail biter. 31-24 Chargers

 

Cheryl White: Defense harasses Luck & Co. all day. Verrett blankets Hilton so Luck really can’t get the ball to him. Defense gets at least 2 INT’s, M28 gets two TD’S, Philip surpasses 300 yds this week with 3 TD’S and zero INT’S.. #GoBolts 38-14 Chargers

 

Chris Hoke: The chargers and Indy trade points for most of the game leading to a game winning field goal by Josh Lambo 27-24 bolts

 

Mike Pisciotta: Despite McNorv’s inability to rally the team to play a 60 minute game, Philip Rivers and the offense take advantage of Indy’s depleted secondary to win. Melvin Gordon runs for a buck again and a score, Travis Benjamin hauls in two Rivers’ TD passes and Dexter McCluster runs the first kick off back for a score for the Chargers since 1857. Bolts win 31-17

 

Will McCafferty: I really wanted to predict 41 for the Bolts but I can too easily see McCoy’s sphincter tightening in the fourth quarter once more. He just can’t help himself. The Colts have been getting killed on the ground and no reason to believe that trend shouldn’t continue. Look for Gordon to have another big day….unless he gets pulled in the fourth. The Chargers will dominate the time of preseason, as well as the scoreboard. 31-24 Chargers

 

Greg Williams: The offense keeps rolling and the defense continues to force turnovers and get good pressure on the quarterback. Keep an eye out for Hunter Henry, who will record his first pro touchdown subbing in for an ailing Antonio Gates. 30-14 Chargers

 

Bolt fans, put your prediction down below in the comment section.

 

Thanks for Reading

BoltBlitz-800x450-e1412795490245

 

 

The staff at BoltBlitz.com gives their picks and analysis of Sunday’s home opener

Zak Darman: Chargers start out hot and get out to a two-score lead going into halftime, giving the fans thoughts of last game. They come out sluggish once again, as Jacksonville, behind Bortles and Julius Thomas, tie it up but Rivers executes a beautiful two-minute drill to get into field-goal range where Lambo nails a 48-yarder to give the Bolts their first win of the season. 27-24 Bolts

Charles LaFurno: McCoy lets Gordon run wild and it pays off. 100+ yards on 20 touches for two touchdowns. Defense comes up huge with a turnover late in the fourth to secure the win. Henry gets his first touchdown. Philip throws for 300 yards but will be under pressure for at least 70% of the game. Luckily, he’s great when doing that. Chargers 24 Jaguars 20

Travis Blake: The pregame strategy meeting between McCoy/Pagano/Wiz goes like this: McCoy starts off by saying “we’re really going to shake things up this game, boys. Since we have to limit Melvin Gordon to 20 carries, I want him to get 19 of them in the second half this week instead of the 1st half like last week. The Jags won’t know what hit em!” Pags chimes in with, “that’s great, Mike! I want my guys to blitz/get pressure only in the second half this game instead of the first half like last week, they won’t be able to handle it!” Wiz looks at both of them and thinks, “at least the weather is nice here, and this job pays good.” So after the best game plan meeting in 4 seasons, and an excellent week of “salty” practice the team comes out to shit the bed in the first half of the game. Every other play is a delay draw to Danny up the middle for little or no gain leaving 3rd and a mile to go, perfect time to throw a bubble screen to Travis Benjamin behind the line of scrimmage. Rivers throws a frustration pick to end the first half and the defense bends to the tune of 250 total yards but only gives up 13 points to a Jax offense that looks sluggish. The second half sees the Bolts come roaring back with Melvin Gordon leading the charge for two more touchdowns. The Bolts win only due to the fact Jax is not quite there yet and the two teams don’t play each other very often. Charger fans complain for another week because we didn’t blow out the hapless Jags and the #FireMcCoy hashtag goes in popularity. 24 to 19 Bolts

Corey Decker: The bolts are looking to make a statement in front of their home crowd. Not just for the team, but for the city as well. The chargers must bounce back and not take their foot off the gas like what happened last week. Chargers 24-10

Cheryl White: Whiz continues to feed Gordon all game and Tyrell Williams uses that big body to his advantage. Isiah Burse sees some playing time. Scores by Gordon, Williams, Woodhead. And of course #85! 27-21 Chargers

Chris Hoke: In a high scoring affair the bolts break out to a 14-0 lead only for the jags to come charging back. Trading points for points. The Chargers lose another heartbreaker. 31-28 Jaguars

Mike Pisciotta: Jacksonville is Jacksonville. Chargers will get out to a resounding 28-10 lead on 2 TDs each from Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon. Jacksonville will make a valiant effort to make McNorv pay for sitting on another lead, but the Bolts hold on to win on a late field goal by Josh Lambo and a comeback drive thwarted by a Jason Verrett pick six. 37-31 Chargers

Will McCafferty: I’m going to assume that the Chargers are going to play a complete game and not pump the breaks in the second half. Chargers 28 Jags 20

Greg Williams: Chargers learn their lesson from last week and show up for BOTH halves. Gordon runs for 80 and a touchdown and Rivers throws three touchdowns (two to Gates). Chargers beat the Jags 30-20.

Dave “Booga” Peters: Gordon scores twice, again. Manti Te’o provides an encore performance of last year’s Jags-Bolts contest, picking off Bortles (and missing several tackles). Chargers rack up almost 200 yards on the ground and Rivers passes the 300-yard mark in an offensive explosion. Jalen Ramsey picks off Rivers and does “the Bosa shrug,” reminding fans who the team should have taken (I’m kidding, folks…. kinda). Chargers 31 Jaguars 30

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