September 10, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd (80) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
That was about as good of a Week 1 game as the San Diego Chargers, and their fans, could've hoped for. The team went into the stadium of a divisional rival and came out with a sound victory.
The lack of a Chargers running game was disconcerting until Philip Rivers morphed back into old Philip Rivers and proved that he didn't need a running game to win. The lack of a Chargers pass-rush was bothersome until I realized that John Pagano was playing Ron Rivera's game of "Don't blitz until you have a lead", which occasionally works out perfectly.
The key to the Bolts' victory was an injury to the Raiders' long-snapper, leaving them vulnerable to turnovers every time they had to punt the ball.
Still, there's a number of Chargers players that deserve game balls. Atari Bigby played great. Donald Butler and Eric Weddle looked like Pro Bowlers, which is not a surprise. Shaun Phillips looked 5 years younger, as did Quentin Jammer. Nate Kaeding looked like a better Kicker than before his injury. Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem and Rivers all had impressive moments.
However, I think I'm handing the game ball to Defensive Coordinator John Pagano. In his first game, he was able to corral Darren McFadden on the ground and was able to put pressure on Carson Palmer when it mattered. Without Pagano calling some Prevent Defense towards the end of the 4th quarter, the Raiders wouldn've never scored a TD. That's an impressive achievement for John's first game calling plays.