Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers rushes for a 15 yard first down as he is tackled by Elvis Dumervil #92 of the Denver Broncos. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Running Game
At least, when it wasn't the only thing that Norv Turner was trying, the running game was very effective. Ryan Mathews (5.2), Jacob Hester (4.3) and Mike Tolbert (4.8) all finished with good yards per carry averages. Mathews, in particular, is showing more each week.
At this point, I'm pretty confident in saying that there's nothing Bam Bam can't do. He's a big play threat, he can run outside, he can run inside, he can catch the ball, he can run routes, he can block, he's dangerous on screen passes, he can out-race just about anybody and he can take the beating of a 20+ carry day when the defense is keying on him. Ryan finished with 125 yards on 24 carries, marking his first 100 yard game since the last time he played the Broncos.
Malcom Floyd, not Malcolm Floyd
Malcolm Floyd's little brother had himself a game, and it couldn't come at a better time. With Vincent Jackson as the only big-play threat in the passing game so far this year, Champ Bailey glued himself to VJax and the Broncos left Malcom Floyd to prove himself. M80 finished the game with 100 receiving yards on 3 catches, including a 42 yard touchdown catch with just seconds remaining in the first half.
Every time Floyd has a game like that, it completely changes the game plan of defenses in future games. Instead of the Jets feeling confident by simply putting Darelle Revis on Jackson, they'll have to make sure Antonio Cromartie is handling his business against Malcom before ramping up the blitz against Philip Rivers.
Jolly Saint Nick Novak
In his last two go-arounds in the NFL, Nick Novak got off 10 field goal attempts before the season ended or he was released. With the Washington Redskins, he made 5 of those 10 field goals. With the Kansas City Chiefs, he made 6 of his 10 tries. As a San Diego Chargers, Nick has attempted 11 field goals and made all of them. Has it just been luck? Has he changed his mechanics? Is he calmer now? I have no idea, all I know is that I'm still not 100% confident in him. I am very happy to see him succeed, though, and it looks like he's forming some strong bonds with the Special Teams unit.
Ending QB Seasons, One Team at a Time
The Chargers defense now has two notches in its belt for this season. Last week, they knocked Chad Henne out for the season and probably ended any chance he has of being a starter in the next few years.
This week, they made Kyle Orton look so bad that he was benched for Tim Tebow for what will most likely be the rest of the season. Considering he's in a contract year, and what little time he had on the field made him look incompetent, it's entirely possible that the Chargers ended any chance of Kyle being a starter in the NFL as well.
I really hope Antonio Garay starts wearing a necklace with the helmets of "QB careers killed" this season. It would be such an Antonio Garay thing to do.
FOUR-and-ONE is not TWO-and-THREE
I'll state this once more, for the record. This is the first Norv Turner-coached Chargers team to not be 2-3 after five games. 11-5, 8-8, 13-3, 9-7... They all started at 2-3. For as much as I've complained about this team and said that they're no different from the Turner teams of the last four seasons, I can not debate the fact that they are nearly undefeated after 5 games instead of being under .500 as per usual.
If the Chargers win 4 out of every 5 games, they'll finish 12-4 at the very worst but more-likely 13-3. That would be a solid team, not just one with a good record but one that stayed consistent throughout the season, and would set San Diego up with a path to go deep into the playoffs.