San Diego’s worst nightmare grew as the night wore on. Battered on the offensive line, they lost center Nick Hardwick and guard Louis Vasquez with significant knee injuries. Luis Castillo came off with a shoulder injury and never came back.
Nose tackle Jamal Williams hardly played in the second half, and neither did LaDainian Tomlinson. One wonders about their health.
Shawne Merriman was dragging his surgically repaired left leg while chasing ball carriers or rushing the passer and was a shell of himself.
The electrifying Sproles, who made very big plays down the stretch, dropped three kicks, something never seen before. Tomlinson fumbled, Rivers was picked off and the offensive line gave up three sacks and allowed 13 pressures.
Kevin Burnett cannot cover tight ends. Clinton Hart got burned multiple times. Steve Gregory was singed in coverage. Defensive end Travis Johnson got crushed. And when it was Big on Big, the defensive line was pushed around like a shopping cart at Vons.
My worst fears all arrived at once. I worried about lack of depth on the offensive front, and now you have lost two starters. Those backups committed three critical penalties.
I worried about lack of talent along the defensive line, and now you see what has transpired.
The Chargers may have won, but they lost a lot of talent along the way. The Raiders may claim a moral victory, but it was a real-life loss.