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.
When the average football fan thinks about the best quarterbacks currently in the league, they acknowledge Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees as the best in the NFL, and understandably so. But why does Philip Rivers continue to get overlooked? Why can’t he be considered a top-5 or even top-3 signal caller?
Or can he?
It goes without saying that the quarterback position is the most important position in football. Rarely do you see teams succeed without quality quarterback play.
Take the Broncos and Manning last season as an example. The Broncos’ defense was great. Statistically, Peyton had the worst season of his career and had a below average playoffs. But his leadership qualities and his football-genius mind was enough to lead the Broncos to a title (which still haunts me). If you were to put any other QB that had that kind of season that wasn’t Peyton, the Broncos don’t have a Championship right now. Having a quarterback who can take full command of the offense and be trusted day-in and day-out to lead your team to a victory no matter what the scenario is, should be treasured.
Philip Rivers is the embodiment of leadership.
In 2004, the Chargers selected Eli Manning with their 1st overall pick in the draft. However, Eli made it clear he did not want to play for the Chargers. Three picks later, the Giants picked Philip with the 4th pick and the teams managed to come to an agreement that included the Giants getting Eli and, in exchange, the Chargers got Rivers, a 2005 first-rounder which turned into Shawne Merriman, and a 2005 fifth-round pick in which the Chargers traded to Tampa for offensive tackle Roman Oben.
The Chargers were then stuck with a tough decision following the 2005 season: should they go with Drew Brees or Rivers as the team’s quarterback. The choice was obvious in Rivers, as Brees had injury concerns due to a shoulder ailment suffered at the end of the previous season.
In 2006, Rivers’ first full season as the starter under center, he took full advantage of the promotion, throwing 22 touchdowns with nine interceptions and 3,388 yards. Impressive, right? What’s more impressive is the 14-2 record the Chargers produced. Now, of course they benefitted from a historic year from LaDainian Tomlinson, but that is still quite a welcoming to the league for him.
Philip has had a great career in San Diego. There can be endless arguments made as to whether or not quarterbacks like Big Ben, Brady, Rodgers, et cetera are to be considered better than No. 17, having more successful careers even though some of them have benefitted from having great defenses, numerous groupings of clutch players and, most importantly, great coaching.
Philip also has a trait that only he and Eli stand up atop the list among active QBs for… DURABILITY. Including the playoffs, Rivers has started 169 consecutive games. That’s 10 full seasons and nine games of another. When you put into perspective that he tore his ACL against the Colts in the 2007 playoffs and came back in the AFC championship after surgery to play, it tells you a lot about the toughness and leadership he wields.
Another gritty performance that is framed in my mind is in 2014 in the latter half of the year. Philip was dealing with back spasms against the 49ers. He led a furious comeback win in overtime despite having a bum back. Health or off-the-field issues have never been a problem for Rivers.
It goes without saying that Rivers isn’t the best QB in terms of rings or playoff wins. Now that being said, he brings one quality that next to nobody can match, and that is competitiveness. It doesn’t matter if you’re a punter, water boy or 330-pound defensive lineman, Philip will always be in your face. Even if he’s having an off-game, his mouth is always running. The heart and devotion he pours into the Chargers isn’t comparable to any others. The energy Rivers brings to the team is both fierce and contagious. He’s able to develop chemistry with his players exceptionally well,which is evidenced in his relationships with players such as Danny Woodhead, Keenan Allen and, obviously, Antonio Gates.
In 2013 against the Denver Broncos on TNF, the Chargers took the 11-2 Broncos down at Mile High. This performance had to have been my favorite; not only because of what proved to be a very crucial game in an improbable Chargers’ playoff run, but because Rivers handled it like it was just another day at the office. He was out there as competitive as ever, having a good time.
Being a huge fan of Brady, a fan of Brees since the SD days, liking Rodgers cause he’s a surgeon while slinging the rock, I still feel confident in saying that none of the aforementioned signal callers can match Philip’s intensity. That is a really good thing going into this season, because this is a sneaky good team on both sides of the ball.
If Philip can get these young rookies’ heads on straight quickly, this team can be very scary. I truly stand by my opinion when I say the resurgence of Melvin Gordon and the O-Line staying healthy will give Rivers the opportunity to cement his status as a top-3 QB this year. As long as this roster continues to gel and get better, he should have multiple shots at championships, and that might be the only thing separating him from being thrown into the mix with everyone else’s favorite quarterbacks.
Rivers is currently 14th all-time on the passing list with 41,447 yards, and can move into 7th or 8th with a 4,500-yard-plus campaign. He also has 281 passing TDs, which is ranked 11th in NFL history; having as little as 20-25 touchdowns this could move him up three or four spots. All of this is incredible when you realize that he didn’t start for the first two years of his career.
In comparing him to another Chargers great, Dan Fouts, let’s take a look on how their stats match up.
Fouts had a 14-year career in San Diego ranging from 1973-1987. Philip has been in the league for 12 years now, so their stats should match up similarly, right? Well, in terms of durability, they’re both as reliable as super glue for a school project. Fouts played in 181 games in his career and started 171, while Philip has played in 164 and started 160.
A lot of people consider accuracy to be the main ingredient in selecting a QB. While Fouts does have roughly 2,000 more career passing yards — 43,040– than Rivers — 41,447 — while his accuracy is far worse. In fact, Philip makes Fouts look little league when I researched each of their completion percentages.
Rivers boasts a 281-135 touchdown-to-interception ratio, while as Fouts holds a 254-242 ratio. Rivers’ career completion percentage of 64.8 is exactly 6% points higher than that of Fouts (58.8%). Total QBR — Quarterback rating — is another stat in which Philip takes a dominant lead on Fouts. Philip clocks in with a whopping 95.5 QBR compared to Fouts’ number of 80.2.
In terms of records, Philip also grabs the crown. Rivers has piled up a 92-68 record and Fouts had 86-84-1 record. Fouts does have an MVP award and one more Pro-Bowl nod than Rivers, six to five, respectively.
In 1993, Fouts was elected to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. Rivers still has a couple of years or so to grab every possible passing statistic in Chargers history and, furthermore, climb up the NFL’s all-time passing ranks. So in that theory, I very much expect Philip to be a sure-lock for the Hall Of Fame.
Now, lets take a look and compare his stats to his fellow 2004 draftees, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
While you can easily say that both of them have the easy edge over Rivers by having 2 rings, that doesn’t define one player as a whole. I did some research and noted that both Ben and Eli started the year they were drafted. Philip did not start a game until the 2006 season. But what shocks me most is that Philip isn’t too far behind in stats and, in fact, had the same kind of seasons, if not better seasons, the years Ben and Eli won their respective rings.
We can look at Eli’s numbers first. In 2007, the year the Giants made history and took down the Patriots, Eli’s stat-line finished with 23 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 3,336 yards and a 56.1 completion percentage. Philip had almost identical numbers that season with 21 touchdowns 15 interceptions, 3,152 yards and a 60.1 completion percentage. You could even make a case that had Philip not torn his ACL those playoffs, that Chargers-Patriots game would have finished with a different victor.
Next, let’s touch base on Big Ben’s 2008 championship season.
Roethlisberger’s stat-line for that year included 17 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 3,301 yards and a 59.9 completion percentage. Now, at the end of the day, he won a ring, but Philip’s 2008 season was far superior. In fact, that could’ve been Philip’s best year stat-wise, despite the Bolts finishing 8-8. He produced 34 touchdowns to just 11 Interceptions with a completion percentage of 65.5, boasting an outstanding QB rating of 105.5.
Has Philip had the success both Eli and Ben have had in terms of winning rings? No. Has he put his team on his back more and given his teammates more opportunities to win? Certainly.
Philip currently ranks behind both of them on the all-time leaderboards for passing. Rivers is ranked 14th behind Ben by about 1,500 yards, and is behind Eli — 11th — by roughly 3,000.
In my honest opinion, I believe when it’s all said and done, he’ll be above both of them. Additionally, he’s 11th on the passing TDs leaderboard — in front of Ben by nine touchdowns and behind Eli by 13.
Taking these facts and stats into consideration, the rings weigh a huge amount in terms of Philip not getting the credit he deserves.
So, while there might a small strain of bias on my part, I ensure you that Philip is everything I have made him out to be in this article, and everything he’s proven via the numbers provided above. He’s a franchise QB, a positive role model on and off the field and a rare leader, competitor and talent that you won’t come across very often. It is also worth noting, he’s a damn good dresser. You can never go wrong with rattlesnake-skin boots and a bolo tie.
I encourage you all to tune into some Chargers games this season and check him out and let me know what you think.
Where does Philip rank on your list? Let me know in the comment section below.