"I.....I forgot what to do with this....." (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
The 2011 San Diego Chargers' offense is ranked 6th overall, 4th is passing and 16th in rushing, if you're basing your rankings on yardage (which a lot of people do). That seems good. The Bolts have scored at least 20 points in every game this season. That also seems good. The Chargers are averaging 25 points per game in losses and 24.75 points per game in wins. That's bad.
Why is that bad? Because it gives this team a false sense of security. Almost as if they believe the 20 they scored against the Kansas City Chiefs in San Diego is every bit as good as the 20 points they scored against them in Kansas City. It's not. This is an offense that is talented, but inconsistent. At the end of the year, it will look like the Chargers were one of the best offenses in the league, when it reality they put up a lot of their points and yardage numbers trying to make up for their own mistakes and long stretches of 3 & Outs.
For all of the yardage and points the Chargers put up last week, when the Packers checked out of the game a little early, it means nothing this week. It has not carried over week to week and I doubt that it will.
Against the 2010 Raiders, the Chargers put up 27 points and 13 points. The Chargers lost both games, one by 8 points and one by 15 points. That's really what it amounts to. This offense can shrink the margin of defeat with some garbage time yards and points at the end of regulation (as they did against the Packers), but if they hope to win the game they need to be more consistent from the first snap to the last.
Ryan Mathews has been practicing this week and is expected to play, despite having a groin injury. Him and Mike Tolbert will get the call early and often, with the hopes of limiting the amount of plays Philip Rivers has to make (and limiting his chances for making mistakes). Fortunately for San Diego, the Raiders are 29th in the league against the run after giving up 160+ rushing yards to Willis McGahee on Sunday.
Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson both had big games against the Packers, which is hopefully a sign that both are healthy enough to make that kind of impact week-in and week-out. They could free up plenty of holes for Tolbert and Mathews, and visa versa. It's Norvember, which means it's probably time for these two parts of the offense to start working in harmony.