I asked the question last week if there was anything to be excited about at this point. I clearly did not think that this team would be able to rebound with a win in Philadelphia. I was even more skeptical after the Ryan Mathews fumble. Once Malcom Floyd was on the stretcher, I Tweeted that I saw the game and season slipping away. But to their credit, the Chargers rose up. If Stuckey hadn't recovered Whitaker's fumble, it might not have mattered, but they deserved to win that game. Yes, Chip Kelly could have bled the clock down (although I didn't consider that at the time) and the Eagles' performance against the Queefs suggests that they may not be all that good. But going into that game, Philly was all the rage. They were playing with a ton of confidence and were matched in their home opener against a team that had every reason to be down in the dumps. When Novak's kick cleared the crossbar, I let out a cathartic scream that scared my kids. That win felt better than anything since the 2010 game at Houston.
I decided to put my Philip Rivers jersey on at the start of the fourth quarter before kickoff. If this team was going to do anything, he would have to shine when it mattered. I know how cliched that sounds, but it's the truth. To his credit, Rivers looked better than he has since 2009. I'd like to say something to Philip directly, if you don't mind.
Look, I was wrong about you if only for a week. You still had it in you, but you were wrong too. You defended Norv all these years and you slipped into some really bad habits. Once Jackson left and Brown got hurt, you kept throwing like the guys we had were going to be able to go up and get the ball. Who knew what a difference a healthy Eddie Royal would make? You went from the "chuck and suck" to those high percentage passes that McCoy stressed in the offseason. I saw you scramble in two consecutive games and make passes while being pulled down that were still pretty accurate. Now you face the team against whom you first showed you could lead this team.
It was in the Tennessee playoff game in 2007 that Rivers started his ascent. After cheapshotting Gates (after doing the same to Merriman earlier in the year), Rivers was forced to air it out as the TItans were daring him to beat them. The 2009 game was the Bolts' last trip to Nashville. That was also their last great moment of the year. They locked up the #2 seed on Christmas after Nate Kaeding's fool's gold game-winning against Cincy. In fact, I think that was Rivers' last game-winning drive. Much like Sunday, the score was tied when he last got the ball.
But you know all this, FAITHFUL READER. I don't know why I'm wasting your time.
I wish Antonio Gates would not always go for the extra yardage sometimes, but that's more due to fear of injury. He fumbles so infrequently, I can't complain. When the ball hit the turf, I wondered if it would be like Sproles' goal-line fumble in our last playoff win. In that game, like the previous year's game against Indy, you could just sense that the team would play through it. They deserved it. But the Mathews' fumble was where I was sure that all was lost. I mean, look at how he fucking carries the ball. There's a link in there. How can he not be more careful?
But Weddle spoke to the team the night before about not being able to finish a game and the building fear around it. Of course after the opener, the players said that they never got the "here we go again" flashbacks that the fans did. But Weddle's speech must have done something, although #32 whiffled on a tackle in the first half. Mathews was used on the huge 3rd down and McCoy talked him up after the game. However, there is no way he can be trusted. Ronnie Brown played well against one of his former teams on Sunday, but he's slow as shit. Woodhead is good on the ground in doses. This is Mathews' last chance season. However, I can no longer suggest that he should get more carries. I don't envy McCoy's position. Even Ladainian Tomlinson admitted to Darren Smith this week that Mathews is only his "flex" back on his fantasy team.
Speaking of fomer teams, King Dunlap has looked pretty good thus far. He had two penalties against him on Sunday, but Rivers was kept pretty clean. If DJ Fluker's concussion keeps him out on Sunday, I'll be more than a little worried. I know nothing about Tennessee this season other than the fact they have Jackie Battle. Chris Johnson has broken off huge runs in our last two games against Tennessee, although they haven't really mattered.
Sunday's win felt so good that I watched all the highlights. On the last stop to force the Eagles to kick a field goal, Sammy yelled out "Who was that?" when Jarius Wynn came flying into the picture. I gotta say, I knew very little about him before the season. Could there be another Antwan Barnes in our midst? Wynn played for the Titans so maybe he'll have a little extra for Jake "Hurt" Locker. Yeah, you can use that one.
The secondary is yet to get an interception and actually hasn't been all that close thus far. I know I said before the opener that at least we'd have two new corners getting burned, but that's getting old real quick. Wright got smoked, but Jackson does that to a lot of guys. Derek Cox looks like he doesn't even belong. The pass defense needs to get shored up.
I know Colby Underwood has been hyping Vincent Brown due to his SDSU roots and Tom Twomey has always been telling me how good he looks. However, I'm more impressed with him now than I was in that Raider game in 2011. He hasn't made the acrobatic grabs, but rather fought off coverage and made the very catches Rivers was expecting guys like Robert Meachem to make as he was throwing interceptions. Speaking of Rivers, the last time he led the team to a game winning field-goal attempt was in Arrowhead before he fumbled the snap. Yes, that's what I was thinking about on that last drive.
In fact, I couldn't bear to fully watch Novak's last kick. I sort of looked into the bottom of the screen and kept my eyes from focusing. Obviously, we've been hurt before. I liked his soccer style celebration, but Kaeding went crazy after that kick in '09 and it meant shit. Novak's come a long way since the pee jug against Denver in 2011.
The last few years, the Chargers have actually played well in their early starts. That includes a trip to KC in 2009 where Acee revealed that they were out late the night before partying. Apparently, Mathews has also been enjoying the San Diego nightlife as well. I'm all for it unless you can't deliver on the field. So far, he hasn't delivered. He'll be someone else's problem unless he gets his shit together.
It was nice to see McCoy bench Bird even though he had all those tackles Week One and stopped Foster on the 4th down play. The guy clearly wasn't cutting it. Freeney has been great so far, so I won't spend any more time talking about it and jinxing him. If could have played in his last Super Bowl, Drew Brees might not have his ring.
I know, it's all in the past. I saw Brees' detergent commercial and assume that was his actual wife. She looks a lot better than she did when they lived in San Diego. Yeah, I know it's irrelevant. It doesn't matter that when I saw the Philly cheerleaders on Sunday, I couldn't believe how much hotter they are than ours. It's San Diego, for God's sake. We don't need to have girls with caked on makeup and average looks.
Lastly, I watched the remake of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers before kickoff last week. I have always enjoyed the Cold War themes of the original and don't approve of remakes generally. However, it was so cheesy and 1970s, I had to watch. Plus, the banjo player had Jerry's original strummings dubbed over and if you click the link above you'll see that Robert Duvall has an umbilled cameo.
That's all for now. It's 9:00 PM on Friday and I think I'm ready to start my weekend. I am excited for Sunday. Please don't make me regret that, Chargers.
It really is shocking how poorly the defense is playing. We could probably get a bunch of us JICers together and put up 300 yards on those bums. The pass defense is atrocious but the run defense -- what the fuck?! I thought they were supposed to be young studs.
Our own running game sucks krokodil balls too.
Jenkins came from Baltimore under the banner of "he's near the ball a lot." That's all he was that year as he never defended passes a la Cox this far.
Liuget and Reyes are who you are referring to and they've been largely absent. Depth aside, this secondary is beyond horrible. There has to be some way to improve or get better players in there. Cox got a big deal relatively speaking and has been awful--like DeRon Jenkins horrible
I'd like to amend my stance on Pagano. I've been unfair to him. I'm not necessarily saying he's the guy for the job but I don't know of a DC out there that could do much with this crew. My gosh what a bunch o' nothing. All you can do is try to get guys in position to make plays but they either can't get there or if they do they still fuck it up somehow. I'm still having a hard time with how certain players on that defense were oversold to the fans during the offseason but said players have disappeared to this point. Besides Weddle and Donald Butler I don't think there's another guy over there that could start for another team. Telesco god bless you you've got your work cut out for you I hope you're up to it.
Now for the offense. All the Chargers can do for Mathews at this point is to showcase him for a trade. The (arabic) handwriting is on the wall for him.
I like what McCoy is doing for the offense. The line they had in at the end of the game was ridiculous but PR has been brilliant. I liked his 3rd down run call that Brown scored on. I liked the pitchout call to Mathews that got the first down.
All I know is that if Norver was still here, he'd be Jesse Pinkman: BITCH! What the fuck can I do with no fuckin o-line. BITCH
Gilchrist's drop and even McCoys call to run on 3rd are nothing compared to the inability to stop the pass. Now the depth is showing when there are scrubs out there letting a Brittless TN team led by Jake Locker throw at will.
I guess all Chargers fans have come to the same conclusion that I have by now that all of AJ Smiths defensive picks the last five years all stink or are injured all the time, or both.
You knew when Marcus Fucking Gilchrist dropped that pick that the Titans were going to take it. Goddamn defense, can't make a fucking play to save themselves. No pressure, no turnovers, just another painful L. Oh well, we all know this is a throw away season anyway.
Ever since they made the choice to let Tenn re-kick that punt that moved them back from the 35 to the 18 yard line you knew this was going to be another messed up day.
This is a bad team.
I hope that win over a mediocre-at-best Eagles team doesn't get everybody too excited. Yes it was encouraging to see the team fight through all the adversity and gut it out, but this fan base tends to go overboard when the team wins a game like the one last Sunday. Games like that tend to raise expectations to an unrealistic level. My expectations are the same going forward as they were before the first game. The Chargers are very flawed, especially on defense, which as you all know was touted by the organization as a strength going into the season. Strength my ass, it has regressed as evidenced by the statistics - 480 yards per game, 1 turnover forced, sacks not sure but not many. The numbers don't lie. It's still the same old bend-but-don't-break shit we've seen through so many seasons. I'm with you Ross - I can't stand the sight of Mathews, who had the gall to say that the fumble wasn't his fault. With an attitude like that there's no hope for him. Oh well, he'll be outta here after the season, and none too soon.
This is a tough matchup coming up on Sunday. They're not going to be able to move the ball and score against the Titans like they did against the Eagles. Hope I'm wrong. So it's going to come down to how well their very suspect defense holds up against a so-so offense. Those so-so offenses can look pretty good against a defense like the Chargers', especially when said offense is playing at home. We'll see.
Ross, great post. Nothing to add to it. You nailed every point. Here's to hoping that the Chargers will keep "breaking bad".
@Lucab12 Did DeRon Jenkins play for the Chargers? Man there've been so many crappy DBs that've come through here that I can't come close to naming 'em all, especially guys like DeRon.
@Lucab12 You just knew they were going to lose after Gilchrist's muff.
And you are correct, their past defense is beyond stupid. What was their plan after adiosing their starting two cbs from last year? And not even spending a high pick on a replacement?
I do appreciate them "trying" to generate more pressure in the 2nd half. But as bad as their pass d was, their run d sucked schweddy balls too. I swear Tom Bass had been called back to coach the d.
@Lucab12 No team can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like the Chargers. No even close. And no team comes close to making heretofore struggling QB's look like the second coming of Brady/Peyton than the Charger defense. That defense is like an elixir for guys like Locker. It's uncanny. I bet Weeden is sittin' there thinking "If only I could play against that defense, it might save my otherwise hopeless career". I wonder how many QB careers have been saved by the Chargers. Blaine Gabbert may get his chance. But worst of all is the way the organization seems so nonchalant about the whole thing, as well as the SD media. I can't believe no one has asked Pagano what he's going to do to fix the problem. It's Cotrell all over again, only there are no candidates on the staff to replace him like there was when Rivera took over. Ah but again it doesn't matter b/c this season was in the shitter before it even began.
Going to be a long season Jeff. No playoffs. But if we have any hope at all it's in the fact that I think Telesco will clean the house out of this bunch of sorry players that Smith left us with. Also, Mathews is a bust, our running game has been reduced to Woodhead and sometimes Brown. Mathews has a total inability to avoid tacklers. Maybe McCoy and Telesco can put it all together the next 3 years and get Rivers his Super Bowl ring before he retires ala Elway.