Okay fine, maybe it was just a preseason game, but that's about as well as a preseason game can go these days. The Chargers won 25-10, putting up points in every quarter of the game while helping the Bears to zero points in the second half. The Chargers rushed more in the first half than the Bears did all game and also out-passed them.
A quick run-down of the highlights.
El Capitan looked normal. 4-for-6 for 62 yards and a pretty 28 yard TD pass to Legedu Naanee. These next 3 weeks will be used by him to haze rookies, play practical jokes on teammates and beat Billy Volek in games of golf in between practices.
Starting DT Antonio Garay is apparently a monster, but none of us knew this before. How the team managed to find him in the middle of last season is beyond me, but he was consistently getting past 1 blocker and then was still disruptive with 2 guys trying to stop him. I was a little shocked when he was listed as the starter, but he totally deserves a shot there.
I'm convinced that Alfonso Boone should be starting opposite Luis Castillo. I am aware that this would make 2/3 of our starting D-line guys that we picked up off the street mid-season last year. I'm okay with it. Boone seems to cause as much trouble as Garay and he always seems to know what the offense is trying to do (the creators of the Madden football video game series would give him a very high "Defensive Awareness" rating if they weren't too busy swimming in their solid-gold pools to watch some football games).
C.J. Spillman is insane. All he wants to do is hit people really, really hard and make them fumble the football. I'm not sure he thinks about anything else, or anything at all. He's like a cyborg sent back in time with the goal of hitting players ridiculously hard.
Brandon Lang is going to be the guy talked about for the next week. Not only was he fantastic rushing off the edge as a OLB, but he blocked a punt and caused a safety all by himself. In completely unrelated news, Jyles Tucker looked lost and terrible out there.
Charles David Whitehurst is apparently ripping the Titans apart with his razor-sharp passes and deadly good looks. Good for him. Jonathan Crompton played much of the 2nd half for the Chargers as their third-string QB, and looked similar to Ol' Charlie pre-beard and Jesus hair. That is to say, he looked nervous, erratic and inaccurate.
Ron Rivera must be mad at somebody. I thought there was a rule of "No Blitzing in the Preseason"? Maybe Ron read that rule wrong and thought it said "No, Blitzing in the Preseason!" and he happened to read it right when he was coming up with his gameplan and asking himself "Should I call lots of soft zone coverage and rush only 3 men?" It definitely would've seemed like an answer to his question had he seen it then, and would totally explain why he was sending like 5 corners and 2 safeties on blitzes on every play. Seriously, Wade Phillips thinks Ron Rivera should calm it down with the blitzing.
Shawnbrey McNeal is apparently not Darren Sproles. Who knew?
- Zero injuries. At least none reported. Nobody stopping the action to get up slowly
. Rivers' cheekbones looked to be in mid-season form with all the smiling on the sideline.
- Ryan Mathews may or may not be the greatest Chargers RB of all time, but he definitely is. I've been saying this for two weeks now, people! He finished with 50 yards on 9 carries and had the longest run of the night (18 yds).
- The offensive line looked very good, despite Jeromey Clary trying to give himself a challenge by getting called for false starts every other play. The run blocking was terrific and no pass-rusher even got to see Philip Rivers from closer than 5 feet. They really wanted to.
- In an interview with the Bears broadcast team (Uggghhh), Julius Peppers said that the Chargers' passing game was "very quick" and because of that they had no reason to put two blockers on him. In a nutshell, he said "You could've left me unblocked and I still wouldn't have had a sack." Ball's in your court, Mr. Marcus McNeill.