Bolts & Dolts: Chargers Blow Another Game to the Ravens

Harry How

Each week, we go through the box score of the latest San Diego Chargers game and give recognition to those players that played above or below expectations.

Bolts

Philip Rivers - 23/36, 228 yds, 1 TD
There was a time when Rivers was the first name in this post every single week. It actually started getting a little annoying for your author. Now, Rivers is here because he played above current expectations (in that he didn't turn the ball over) but still didn't have a great game. Weird.

The San Diego Chargers are 1-2 in games where El Capitan doesn't turn the ball over at all. They're 2-0 in games where he turns the ball over once. So, the winning formula is right in front of us. Rivers needs to turn the ball over once, but not more than once! Also, the Chargers should be playing the Chiefs in those games.

Danario Alexander - 5 catches (8 targets), 74 rec yds
After watching what's gone on with Jared Gaither this season, Alexander's breakout performance each week scares me quite a bit. If the Chargers sign him to a long contract and expect him to be a starter (which will be weird, since Meachem is already making starting money), there better be plenty of "healthy knee" clauses in there.

Special Teams
San Diego's special teams have been struggling lately, but they did quite well against the Ravens. Nick Novak went 2/2 on tough FGs and Mike Scifres was trying to make it rain with his deep punts. Coverage on punts and kickoffs was also consistently good.

Shareece Wright - 5 tackles, 1 defended pass
Now that he's healthy, Wright has been getting plenty of chances on defense (along with special teams) and has looked like the team's best cornerback in the last two games. It's almost too bad for Wright that Quentin Jammer (who will certainly not be benched) had the bad game on Sunday and not Antoine Cason (who could be benched, but played well).

Corey Liuget - 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 defended pass
You probably could ask for a better season from a 3-4 Defensive End than what the Chargers have gotten from Liuget in 2012, but you'd look insane doing it. Corey has been dominant against the run and rushing the passer. He's started knocking passes down somewhat regularly now, and he always seems to be the guy making the big play when it's needed most on defense. He's been playing at a Pro Bowl level since Week 1.

Antwan Barnes - 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
How do you not include a part-time player with a stat-line like that? This was the first game in a while where the San Diego pass rush looked potent, and Barnes' contributions were a big part of that.

Dolts

Norv Turner
We went over this last night. Norv Turner was completely outcoached by a coach that looked like he had just woken up from a coma and had no idea what planet he was on. Turner's defense was playing well and the offense was playing good enough, but in the end it was his poor game/clock management that let the Ravens get back into it during the 4th quarter.

Injuries
Donald Butler, Eric Weddle and Atari Bigby each left the game with injuries (as did several other Chargers players). Aubrayo Franklin was already injured when the game started. Yes, it's amazing how the medical staff has kept Malcom Floyd and Ryan Mathews healthy all season. However, it seems to have come at the expense of just about everyone else on the team.

Offensive Line
Yes, they were beaten up with injuries and starting Mike Harris and Rex Hadnot. That being said, allowing 6 sacks on a QB that seemed content to throw it away whenever the play wasn't there is below expectations. No matter what Norv Turner says during his press conference today, this team cannot be expected to win with this offensive line.

Quentin Jammer
Divorce or no divorce, Jammer's days as a starting Cornerback in this league are numbered. The team may have even missed their opportunity for a clean shift over to Safety for Jammer. He's been a weakness on the defense for two seasons now, and there's no way the team will let it go for three...right?

Referees
The 4th & 29 was on the defense. Their plan should not have been to give up 28.5 yards on that play. However, that is almost certainly what happened. Here's a GIF of the play for you to watch over and over again. Once you've finished crying, you'll notice that the only way that Rice made the first down was if he went down on his own and wasn't touched before crawling another 1.5 yards. In this scenario, Antoine Cason is a ghost. Remember, after 9+ minutes of reviewing, the refs deems that Rice was down on the 33.5 yard line. 33.5!

That was just one play, though, and doesn't come close to explaining how sloppy the calls were for most of the game. Not that it really would've made much of a difference.

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