Let me start off by addressing and clarifying the big news of the week, because it seems I wasn't exactly clear yesterday. Legedu Naanee joined me for 15-20 minutes on last night's podcast (listen here), but as of right now we don't have plans for him to come back on the podcast. Not that he's said no, I just haven't asked.
What "Legs" will do is answer several questions for us each week via e-mail, then pop-in after I've posted the questions to answer any follow-up questions from you guys in the comments. That weekly segment will either be called "Runnin' with Legs" or "Kickin' It with Legs", because those seemed to be the two favorites in the comments yesterday. Vote accordingly below.
Onto the (admittedly, late) Bolts & Dolts!
Philip Rivers - 29/53, 455 yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
We already went over why, but it should be mentioned that this was probably the least-protected I remember Rivers being since the beginning of the 2009 season. Not only was he sacked 4 times, but outside of the last drive (when the Seahawks decided to rush 3 and drop 8 into coverage) he didn't have a single play where he had enough time to let the play develop while he waited in the pocket.
Antonio Gates - 7 catches, 109 yds, 1 TD
The Chargers real #1 receiver has been the most consistent player all year. There's nothing left to say about Antonio Gates. He might be the most difficult-to-cover receiver in the NFL, but I can't pretend like he's not amazing week-in and week-out.
Malcom Floyd - 6 catches, 97 yds, 1 TD
That is exactly the type of production the Bolts are looking for from their #1 receiver. Roughly 100 yards and a TD, freeing up space for guys like Legedu Naanee to get his intermediate catches and for Buster Davis to stretch the field deep.
Brandon Siler - 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 safety
His sack for the Safety was a thing of beauty. Watching him, along with Antonio Garay, against the run reminds me of Ray Lewis in a lot of ways. So far Siler has had 2 starts this season and has played 2 excellent games.
Kevin Burnett - 5 tackles
Burnett has quietly been having an outstanding year, both against the run and the pass. His game against Seattle wasn't particularly great compared to the others, I just feel like he deserves a Bolt after being one of the top players on defense for 3 weeks in a row.
Antonio Garay - 3 tackles
It figures that this team would pick some guy off the street, a veteran, and he'd come in and be every bit as good as Jamal Williams was. Simply put, Garay continues to dominate double-teams and is the single biggest reason that the Chargers defensive has moved from "average" to "good" this year.
Paul Oliver - 2 tackles, 1 forced fumble
He didn't see a lot of field time, but made arguably the best defensive play of the day when he forced a fumble on the 1 yard line and created a turnover. For that play alone, he gets a Bolt.
Kick Coverage - 2 TDs allowed, 63.3 yards averaged against
I still don't know who to blame here. Coaching? Overzealous players like C.J. Spillman? Short kickoffs by Nate Kaeding? Who knows. Let's put them down for "terrible game" and hope we can move on.
Not because of the play-calling, I think his play-calling was actually quite good. It's just that he's the easiest one to blame for the slow starts that have plagued this team since he arrived here. Last year I theorized that he ran a training camp that was too soft and it left players unprepared at the beginning of the season. This year there was certainly no difference in the intensity at camp, at least that I saw, and so he gets a Dolt because he didn't do enough to change the mentality heading into the beginning of the season.
Bolts & Dolts given out will be tallied each quarter of the season, which means the first tally comes next week.