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I saw Philip Rivers walking with the Queen/They were doing the Werewolves Of London. From what I can see on social media, it seems like the Chargers are getting a lot of fans in London. It’s probably a good thing that they are overseas this week with all the talk of their “viability” in LA. I’m not going to spend much time on the Seth Wickersham ESPN piece, but I really don’t think the NFL is going to force the Chargers to move back. I actually think it’s kinda cruel for those who desperately want them to return to San Diego. I just don’t see it happening and not just because of their lease. If it happens and the Spanos’ finally sell the team it would be too late for those who hate them to really enjoy it. I get hating them, especially for the move, but I’ve spent many weeks rooting AGAINST a team and it’s a pretty empty endeavor.
As for the product on the field, there was a lot to be excited about Sunday. Yes, Baker Mayfield slipped on a first down marker and that hampered his mobility all afternoon. Yes, the refs missed the Okung false start on the first Williams touchdown. The picture above shows how close the second Williams score was to an interception in the end zone. But all these things usually go against the Bolts. I know I’ve seen a few passes grabbed out of receivers’ hands over the years. I’ve given Williams a lot of shit (dropped pass on rub route in Foxboro last season, letting pass go through his hands in this year’s opener) but that was a great play on Sunday. He’s more than a few over the last couple of weeks and deserves a ton of credit.
I am sure Travis Benjamin would cost some money if released (along with Caleb Sturgis and maybe Barksdale) but there is no point of him getting back on the field. It isn’t a coincidence that the best football played thus far has been with those guys on the bench. I don’t know whether Anthony Lynn believes stupid shit or just says it but Benjamin can’t even return kicks. Desmond King has been great, although he’s been so good at safety I wonder if soon it will be a too much of a risk to put him on special teams.
I’ve criticized Wisenhunt a bunch but he has also raised his game a ton this year. Maybe his predictability was linked to McCoy? The inventiveness in the run game has been excellent. In the past, it seemed like the Chargers would always go away from whatever was working. But all the receiver runs have wildly refreshing and when they just hand it to Gordon you can see Allen and Williams running behind him. I am sure that keeps the defense on its heels a bit. Melvin Gordon doesn’t need to be Todd Gurley although the closer he gets the better we’ll be. Ekler as a change of pace back is really working right now.
Everything on offense is working right now. I am sure the blocking on screens is also a result of shitty Barksdale being out too. I know Scott and Tevi aren’t Pro Bowlers but they’ve done a great job. There seems to be chemistry on the line and we don’t need Barksdale fucking that up. It was nice to see Lamp get on the field even in garbage time. Is he timid or getting outplayed by Schofield? Maybe both. I don’t know if that’s a problem for such a highly-touted player like Lamp. Right now let’s but that on the back burner.
Even without jet-lag, I wouldn’t take the Titans lightly. If the Chargers want to make the playoffs and are pissed that Tennessee won the tie breaker last year now is the time to show it. Plus, the Titans did what they could not and won at Arrowhead. They also beat the Eagles a few weeks back. But last week’s game at least provides some hope that the Bolts are learning. They went into a tough situation and put their foot on the Browns’ throat. I know I keep focusing on the Chargers’ inability to beat a good team in a big spot. I don’t know what games on the schedule beyond KC would count but the AFC North teams certainly look playoff bound. The game at Seattle won’t be easy and Denver might not be as bad as everyone assumed. Tomorrow counts as a big game. I don’t think the Titans will roll over. I saw some of that Eagles game and they fought all day. Superstitiously I think all the AFC West teams winning will keep the Bolts focused. Even if KC can’t be caught, this team needs to get to at least 10 wins.
Will Bosa really be back after the bye? His dad’s comments suggest it’s a possibility. The attitude from the fans’ perspective was to get to the off week with the season in tact. Right now, they’ve done just that. But 4-3 coming home doesn’t seem nearly as optimistic. No disrespect to the Titans, but this is a game the Chargers need to take. I know the NFL has been especially unpredictable this season and these London games can really wreak havoc with teams. I have to set an alarm just to catch a 9:30 kickoff on the East Coast. I can’t imagine what the players will feel like (or the California fans) but the Bolts need to take this one. They may not be teams like KC and the Rams in the end but those teams have won games this season without coming out with their best stuff. That may be what the Chargers need to do. Badgley will be kicking again which seems like a good thing. The kickoffs weren’t very deep but hopefully he can work on that. Novak had the same problem. I don’t know how Donnie Jones is going to improve since he’s 39 years old, however, Kaser had his share of shanks too, including one I saw first hand in Buffalo. But those two kicks could sink us tomorrow. The defense deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Browns out of the end zone but I wouldn’t push it.
Anyway, you know all this. The photo above was taken in Brookfield, CT right after the Giants won their first Super Bowl. I had just gotten that blank jersey and put Rivers’ number on after his valiant effort against the Pats. Eli might be done but I know Phil would trade his longevity for just one of Eli’s rings. My dad took the photo. His ability to look past my insanity is just one of the things I miss about him. Anyway, enjoy your Sunday. Talk to you during the bye week. Hopefully, we’ll be coming off a win.
PS This installment of Justice is dedicated to my daughter Sarah who will turn 12 tomorrow. I am so proud of the girl she is and amazed each day by the one she is becoming. Maybe one day Daddy’s team won’t always suck. I love you.