At some point this week, I am going to write a post about finding the "silver lining" in the San Diego Chargers loss to the Atlanta Falcons. I have no idea what I'm going to write about, because the Chargers literally did nothing right. Not one thing.
To win this game, the Chargers coaches and players needed to construct a gameplan for stopping Matt Ryan and had to keep from turning the ball over on offense. Instead, they allowed Ryan to complete 75% of his throws for 275 yards and 3 TDs and the Chargers turned the ball over 4 times on offense.
On defense, San Diego got almost no pass rush on Ryan whatsoever. The cornerbacks couldn't stay with the WRs and nobody could cover TE Tony Gonzalez. While they stopped Michael Turner in the first half, they were beaten into submission by Turner in the second half. He finished with a rushing TD and 5.7 yards per rush attempt.
On offense, the Chargers offensive line struggled to protect Philip Rivers, which kept the team from getting into any sort of rhythm. Although he was sacked just once, he didn't seem to have many (if any) plays where he could stay in the pocket and look downfield. Like the rest of us, El Capitan ended up getting rather frustrated....
Ryan Mathews and Jackie Battle were able to get some yards when they ran the ball (99 combined rush yds on 13 combined carries), but Mathews lost the faith of the fans that were waiting for his heroic return when he fumbled on the Falcons' 3 yard line early in the game. Leaving Jackie Battle as the only Chargers position player who didn't earn the ire of the San Diego fans with a bad game today.
Oh, yeah, and the Atlanta Falcons are a really good football team. They might be the best team in the NFL. Their weakness at stopping the run doesn't matter because their offense can't b stopped and their pass rush can prevent any comeback against them. If they play this way every week, I don't know a team that can beat them.
I will leave you with this bit of good news: The Chiefs may have won (in overtime, against a terrible Saints team), but both the Raiders and Broncos have to make sizeable comebacks if they're going to win today. This means that the Chargers' first-place seeding in the AFC West should stay the same for another week.