Bolts - Offense
Team 5.2 YPC, 1 Sack Allowed
Is it possible that the San Diego Chargers, and Hal Hunter, have someone managed to find a better LT in Brandyn Dombrowski than they had in Marcus McNeill? He's certainly not far off, which is incredible when you remember that last year he was an undrafted free agent Guard. Kris Dielman is playing at a really high level, Nick Hardwick redeemed himself by looking dominant all game, Louis Vasquez can only be described as solid and even Jeromy Clary has been adequate at RT.
Barring injury, this line has a chance to be really, really good this year. They looked strong at all point in this game, and Jacob Hester and Mike Tolbert seemed to do a good job of understanding where they were going with their blocks and following the lane created by the line. I don't think the line could've played much better than it did.
16 rushes, 82 rush yards, 2 TDs. 1 catch, 13 rec yards.
I take back anything I ever said about Tolbert being too one-dimensional to be a good backup to Ryan Mathews. If Mathews goes down for a few weeks, I am now somewhat excited as to what we might see from Tolbert. I was a little upset during the preseason when it became obvious that he had lost his starting FB job to Jacob Hester, but now I see why he did. It would be almost impossible to be both the #2 HB and #1 FB, and obviously Tolbert is more of a weapon as the backup to Mathews and the goal-line back.
For 3 seasons I've been saying this, and I probably will for a bit longer, but the more I see of Tolbert the more I like him and get excited for his potential as a versatile athlete.
22/29, 334 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
I hesitate to throw Rivers a Bolt because this is supposed to be "playing above expectations", and 2 interceptions certainly is below my expectations of Philip. However, neither of those were really his fault, and outside of those throws he had a fairly incredible game. What I liked most about this game for Rivers was how it matched the offensive philosophy that Norv Turner has been talking about all preseason.
Legedu Naanee, who got the most catches last week, got only one this week while Malcom Floyd got a few more. Why? Because Floyd got open more than Naanee did. Buster Davis was getting open all day, and because of that he tied Antonio Gates for the most catches on the team in the game. This has really turned into Philip dropping back and looking for the open guy, rather than trying to force it to Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates and hoping they could make a play.
3 catches, 95 yards, 1 TD
This is exactly what I'm looking for from Floyd on a weekly basis. He provided a deep-threat (54 yard catch), a red zone threat and in general played like a #1 WR against a very good CB in Rashean Mathis. He was the cream to Gates' sugar. The peanut butter to Gates' jelly. The shake to Gates' bake.
5 catches, 57 yards, 2 TDs
YAWN. Another game where Gates looks completely unstoppable and uncoverable. Wake me when this changes so that I can look shocked.
Craig Buster Davis
5 catches, 48 yards
Did I get weird looks in a Las Vegas bar for yelling "CBD!" for each of these 5 catches? Of course I did. I don't care. All my theories, which I assumed were the Chargers theories, about giving him a year off to get healthy and grow into his (still very young) body seem to be paying off. CBD looks healthy, strong, fast, and is displaying all of the things that made him a first-round draft pick in the first place. You want to know why Patrick Crayton only has 1 catch through 2 games? This would be one big reason.
Bolts - Defense
6 tackles, 4 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble
I loved Quentin Jammer after the game basically saying "I don't want to say I told you so, but...." We all lost faith in Cason after last season. "If he can't play nickel, how will he replace Antonio Cromartie?" Then the coaches explained it to us. Then we saw him playing physical defense, which looked out of place across the field from Jammer, and covering receivers as well (if not better) than Cro. "Hmm....maybe it's just preseason." Maybe not.
Is it possible that, while losing "stars" Marcus McNeill, Antonio Cromartie and LaDainian Tomlinson and replacing them with unproven guys that the team has improved at all three positions? It is definitely looking like a possibility. Cason was a beast and had an all-around game so good that Cromartie couldn't even dream of producing the same results. Not even in 2007. What a game.
6 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 interception
Sigh. I don't know what other way to say it, Brandon Siler is much better than Stephen Cooper at this point in their careers. Siler made the entire defense look stronger and better, and the team didn't seem to miss Cooper calling the plays and lining them up. Of course Cooper will be back on the field this week and Siler will be back on the sideline (probably), but every time he gets on the field Brandon shows that he is a force to be reckoned with both in the running game and as a pass defender (maybe the best zone coverage LB on the team).
If Siler goes back to being the backup and Stephen Cooper comes back on the field, it's a sign that the coaching staff believes in chemistry and leadership above performance. That's fine, that's their prerogative, but that's not mine and I will be slightly disappointed at the choice. The best defense the Chargers could field has Siler and Burnett as ILBs, and Merriman and Phillips as OLBs.
6 tackles, 1 sack
The bulk of the attention should go to Jacques Cesaire, who had a career game, and Antonio Garay, who had Game #2 of his career season. Luis Castillo also played well, and the fill-ins (Travis Johnson, Ogemdi Nwagbuo, Alfonso Boone) all played good as well. Their strong play, and they owned the line of scrimmage on just about every play, helped the LBs (who all had great games) and stopped the Jacksonville running game from getting going (Maurice Jones-Drew: 2.6 YPC).
The only Dolt this week is whoever let Rashad Jennings come through and block Mike Scifres' punt. However, I can't easily track down video to find out who got beaten and really....it's not like it happens all the time, so it's not that bad. Overall, no bad games from any of the Chargers players this week....and that's why they won by 25.