I think I feel right now the same way I did after the Denver game. That was an impressive win, but can they build on it? I agree with Anthony Lynn that they could have scored even more, just like that Denver game. Novak missed a field goal and the Chargers benefitted from a struggling QB, just as they did against the Broncos. Happy Thanksgiving to Mike McCoy, by the way.
In the beginning of the game, Melvin Gordon was still waiting way too long to hit the hole. Unless you ARE Le’Veon Bell, there is no point waiting for a better option to develop. Gordon is best when he gets some momentum. Once he’s rolling, he’s hard to take down. This is why Rivers being in the shotgun so often hurts. However, he did get back to the physical style as the game rolled on.
The interceptions were nice to see. I could do without the orchestrated celebrations, because Tre Boston has nothing to celebrate after last week. But most teams are doing it and if the Bolts didn’t so often counter with a backbreaking mistake, I wouldn’t care. So much of being a Charger fan is waiting for the other shoe to drop since it so often does. I saw a clip of Rodney Harrison telling Dan Patrick and Tony Dungy that this team will always break your heart. Patrick seconded that sentiment by adding that they lead the league in that category. This was after Dungy suggested that they are the best team in the West right now.
They might be, but they’ve given themselves very little room for error. The Chiefs won’t always keep on losing, and our game in Arrowhead looms as the most “difficult” on the remaining schedule. I use the quotes because I’m concerned that we don’t lose to the Browns again. I’m being serious.
I wrote a few weeks ago that this team would climb back into “contention” only to blow the one that matters. They did it in 2005, 2010, and 2011. That last one was after a 4-1 start where everyone (myself included) said that sloppy play would come back to bite them. I still remember Eric Weddle telling fans that a win is a win. Before you knew it, Plaxico Burress scored 3 times, Rivers fumbled the snap and we were all proved right.
I’m not saying that I expect them to win at Dallas. They can, and this would be the best time to play them. I know that they will be salty after losing to Atlanta and Philly. But if they had beaten the Eagles on Sunday night, they’d be right back in the NFC East race and fired up as well. The Chargers followed their blowout against Denver by playing stupid and weak against New England. Travis Benjamin was injured Sunday and were better as a result. Mike Williams didn’t make any big plays in his absence but hopefully he and Rivers will get in sync. It took Jackson and Phil a while too. Also Joe Barksdale being down was a plus. The “Mic’d Up” clip of Bosa explaining Stranger Things to Bazooka Joe was funny but I don’t want such a talent standing so close to Barksdale. Unless, of course, it’s one of the Barksdales from The Wire.
Keenan Allen was fantastic. I was happy to see him not preening after every catch. However, he deserved to be. He caught passes in traffic, ran well after the catch, and looked unstoppable. They also got Henry in the mix a little as well. He made a nice sideline grab but dropped one in the end zone. Gates didn’t snag one either and it was one he’s so often made. Tyrell Williams, one week after dropping a sure TD, made a pretty amazing play with that hurdle for the first down. Ekler also rebounded from his ghastly error in Jacksonville with a nice touchdown run.
And of course there was Philip Rivers. I don’t know how serious his concussion was, but the fact that he put himself in the NFL’s protocol speaks to the severity. He’s never done it before and he’s gotten rocked so often in the past. But he was smart with the ball, with the exception of one pass. He handled the Bills’ pass rush and didn’t seem to be spazzing out too much at the line of scrimmage.
I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed Sunday quite a bit. But I can’t buy into this team because I’m not sure they aren’t going to come out Thursday like they did in Foxboro. Not at the very beginning, that looked strong. But they got soft and stupid and Lynn stood by his decision to send Novak out there. Does he still? I saw that he and Rivers were lamenting how many games they’ve blown. It’s just like 2013 right now. They know that their next loss could be the one that knocks them out. I said after the 2013 Cincy loss that at least I wanted them to play like they’d learned their lessons. They played like they had nothing to lose. After the win in Denver, Rivers couldn’t help but wonder what might have been. Well, they got that second chance but decided to run up the gut with Woodhead until they let Phil loose. Then Weddle couldn’t stop a 3rd and 17 and here we are.
I remember after the Sunday Night win at Indianapolis that the Chargers were doing their annual “scariest team in the league” impression. It’s 2017 and has anything really changed? I don’t think the Bolts are being discussed as THE scariest but there seems to be some chatter. However, the team that always finds a way to make errors has left themselves without room for any. As I said, I wouldn’t be surprised with a win at Dallas and a loss to the Browns. Until they prove otherwise, that’s what any Charger fan paying attention would say.
Going back to Rodney Harrison’s “heartbreaker” remark. Rodney knows better than anyone how his dirty play and PED use seemed to get less negative scrutiny in New England. Winners win and losers find a way to lose. With the Patriots, he wasn’t asked to cover as he was with the Bolts and even though opponents hated him he wasn’t getting the flags he got with the Chargers. Yes, I know he got a suspension and was injured in his first Super Bowl. I’m not expecting the Chargers to be like the Patriots, but if they could be a little less like the team they often become I’d really appreciate it. I know I often say that if they are going to blow it in the end they might as well get out of the race now. But while I will regret saying this, I’d like to see them stay in the mix. They know they need to at least 9, probably 10. Let’s see how they respond. Hopefully, I’m not setting myself up for another disappointment. As Jim Walsh said on 90210, you’ll date girls that break your heart until you find one that won’t. Well I’m not finding a new team, so it would be cool if this one wouldn’t always collapse in the end.
Happy Turkey Day,