"Follow the Guard. You'll only lose one yard instead of two!"
The Chargers traveled to Indianapolis and thoroughly dominated the Colts like no one else in the last dozen years. Every bit of that domination was dealt by the League's best defense, and done so throughout the game. Ron Rivera did a masterful job coordinating this unit to destroy any hope of a win for the home team.
Some quick stats, beginning with my favorite:
In last week's analysis, I said that if defense wins championships, the Chargers have one to give them a shot at it. That rings true even more now. The Bolts are back to playing smart, focused football and that alone will give them a chance at the playoffs, and the division as well.
Players are graded on a play by play basis. 2.0 is the highest score, and is given to a player who makes a sack, a tackle for a loss, bats a pass down, or a player who is double teamed and can successfully anchor his point. 1.0 is given to players who get pressure, shed a block and can make a stop for little gain, slows down the ball carrier enough to give another player a chance to stop him, or if they're double teamed and can't hold their point, but aren't beat or driven away. 0.0 is given to a player who fails. Whether they don't get any pressure rushing the passer, or are completely blocked, or fail to make a stop. There will be half scores as well, of 1.5 and 0.5 when a player's performance falls in between grading points, like almost getting a sack but forcing an incompletion, or stuffing a play that gains minimal positive yardage. 0.5 would be if they almost fail but manage to do even a little positive, like recover from being beat on a block to make a tackle from behind after a positive gain, or getting a QB to move in the pocket but not hurry his throw, or get beat on his double team but still draw both blockers. Also, not every player is graded on every play. Backside defenders can't be graded because they have no play responsibility to be graded for. Only playside defenders will be graded. Note to Wonko: I probably ignored all of this. Maybe.
As a whole, the front 7 (6) played very well. As well as they have all year when you consider they stuffed the run mercilessly and beat down Manning. Check out some of the grades for some of the players. In the first half, Garay and Castillo graded a 1.5. That means they were totaly dominant 75% of the time they were involved on a run play. No surprise. I'm also very happy that Shaun Phillips had his best run-stopping game all year. In fact, almost everyone had season highs against the run, and it's obvious looking at the 24 yards on 13 carries. If they can play this well on sunday, the Raiders may finish the day with 90 yards on 30 carries.
The pass rush was also very good. Manning was visibly shaken by the time the 3rd quarter was underway and his facial expressions confirmed it. On a few losses this year, I wrote that playcalling wasn't nearly the issue that execution was, and my point has been proven thus far. Guys have been better in coverage, and they've been carrying their assignments better as well. I don't think there was a bad playcall all game, actually. In Rivera we can trust, and the players on his defense will give this team a lot to be happy about come January.
Please leave your comments and questions below. As always, recs are appreciated if you appreciate my work. And with Raider week here, GO CHARGERS!!!
This FanPost was written by a member of the Bolts From The Blue community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bolts From The Blue editors or SB Nation.