1. Vincent Jackson
So....um.....this is awkward. I'll cut to the chase. I am sorry Vincent. Is there any chance you would consider staying here in San Diego? It would really be what's best for your career, what with the nice weather and franchise QB that seems to love you, and....well, I'll never overlook your value to the team ever again. Especially not in a contract year. Please don't leave.
2. Defensive Secondary
This is going to sound weird, because I'm supposed to be an expert on these things, but I have no idea who the Chargers' starting SS is. Every time I feel confident in writing a "Congratulations Paul Oliver!" post, Steve Gregory comes out of the shadows and makes a huge play. Are they playing on assigned downs? is Eric Weddle in there on every play? I have no idea. There's a constant mix of three guys that always seems to be on the field, even though that's impossible, and they allow for Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer to play in whichever way they want.
Remember in the days of Drayton Florence and Sammy Davis when the Chargers had one of the worst secondaries in the league each year? A.J. Smith should be given credit for focusing on that group as a weakness and drafting the right group of players to turn it into one of the league's best units.
Once again, the Chargers CBs and Safeties frustrated the opposing QB and nearly eliminated the opposition's top play-makers (in this case, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree) altogether. I would expect a similar performance against the Bengals and Broncos to close out an outstanding season for this position group.
3. Pass Rush
Any time you sack the opposing QB 6 times it is a dominating performance by your team's pass-rush. The Chargers managed to bring lots of pressure from everywhere, from the DEs to the NT to the OLBs and even the MLBs on blitzes, and it kept Alex Smith from ever getting comfortable in the pocket on Thursday night.
It got to the point where I almost started feeling bad for Smith. Before the snap he'd look across the line at Luis Castillo, Antonio Garay, Shaun Phillips, Antwan Barnes and others, and just know that they were going to be hitting him as hard as they possibly could in about 2 seconds. The offensive line in front of him didn't stand a chance at slowing down the best pass-rush in the league (that feels weird to say), and especially not with Joe Staley out for the season.
4. Running Game Balance
It is almost as if Norv Turner is purposely doing this as a game, week-in and week-out finishing games with his two top RBs having the exact same number of carries. "We have no starter!", I fully expect him to say some time soon. "Nobody on this teams gets the majority of the carries, it is the perfect balance between speed and power."
17 carries for Ryan Mathews, including some explosive plays and more than a couple of carries that had to put the defense on high alert. This kid is going to start breaking big runs soon, the only question is when. Then there were 17 carries for Mike Tolbert, who pounded himself into the consciousness of the average NFL fan along with the San Francisco defense. When you're describing the perfect NFL running game, this is almost exactly what you're aiming for in a RB tandem.
|vs SFX / 12.16.10||Rushing||Receiving|
|vs SFX / 12.16.10||Rushing||Receiving|
5. El MVP
While I will fully-admit that Tom Brady is having a fantastic season, I do not think he has eliminated everyone else from MVP consideration. Philip Rivers is having just as good of a season, with a little less luck and a whole lot worse group of Special Teamers sharing colors with him each week. The way he has pushed through this season, with all of the different receivers he's had to throw to, deserves a whole lot of recognition. So, I'll leave it at this: If the Chargers make the playoffs this season, then nobody deserves the MVP trophy more than El Capitan.
|vs SFX / 12.16.10||Passing||Rushing|