The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Week 14

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

In a game that the Chargers needed to win to keep their (very) slim chances of reaching the postseason alive, fan-favorite Eli Manning and the Giants came to town. The Bolts dominated from the start and pulled out the victory, improving to 6-7. Here is what was good, bad, and downright ugly.

The Good

Melvin Ingram

Hey, who is that number 54 running around? Ingram only played 14 snaps and wasn't all that effective, but its great to see him on the field in less than 7 months since tearing his ACL. The Chargers hope he can give them a little boost at the end of 2013, but more importantly it looks like Ingram should be back to full strength by next season.

Keenan Allen

It seems like Allen will make this list every week, but in week 14 he broke LaDainian Tomlinson's Charger rookie record of 59 catches after nabbing 3 receptions to get to 61 on the year. 2 of his 3 catches went for touchdowns, including an impressive 43-yarder. Allen looks to be right in the thick of the race for Offensive Rookie of the Year and has been probably the most valuable player on the team besides Mr. Rivers. With all the injuries and ineffectiveness at wide receiver, Allen's 2013 season has been phenomenal.

Kendall Reyes

Good to see Reyes in the good section for a change. We all know he is capable of playing at a high level, as his rookie season showed, but he has been one of the worst defensive players in the league this year. He bull rushed Giants lineman David Diehl to get a sack and totaled 5 QB pressures. Pro Football Focus rated him at +3.6, only his second positive grade of the season. Lets hope that Reyes can build on this momentum for the rest of 2013 and into next season.

Manti Te'o

Still getting washed out in the ground game, Te'o is at least showing strides in coverage. He only allowed 1 catch for 4 yards and notched a defended pass. On his defended pass, Te'o correctly read the routes and the QB's eyes and put himself in a position to make a play. That is exactly what Charger fans should hope to see from the young linebacker.

Defense

Where did this come from? The Chargers defense was excellent in by far the best team effort of the season. I mentioned how well Te'o played in coverage, but the star in the secondary was Shareece Wright. He was targeted 6 times and allowed 3 catches for 46 yards. The other 3 attempts resulted in 2 defended passes and an interception. Sean Lissemore played 17 snaps at nose tackle, more than all of 2013 combined, and played well. Lawrence Guy continues to make plays on limited snaps, getting a QB hit and a batted pass in only 8 pass rush attempts.

The Bad

Edge Rushers

Melvin Ingram made his triumphant return, but he can't be counted on to be a major contributor this season. Jarret Johnson, Tourek Williams, and Thomas Keiser combined to get one QB disruption. Reggie Walker has played surprisingly well since moving to the outside, but the defense needs to find a way to get more pressure off the edge.

Antonio Gates

This is getting nitpicky because the Bolts played so well, but Gates had a poor game blocking, dropped his 7th pass of the season (tied for tops among TE's), and still seems to be Rivers' emergency plan. Too often Rivers panics and just dumps it to Gates when he has better options available.

The Ugly

Wide Receiver Injuries

Keenan Allen battled through an injured shoulder, just as he has all year, but the all-too-familiar thought of an injury to a receiver was very scary. San Diego lost Denario Alexander to a torn ACL before the season, and Malcolm Floyd to a neck injury in week 2. Also, Eddie Royal continues to miss practice and is a game–time decision every week. The only healthy receivers are fairly ineffective ones, Vincent Brown and Seyi Ajirotutu. The Bolts can't afford to lose Allen.

Eli Manning

An ugly Eli Manning is a pretty sight for Charger fans. He was PFF's second worst QB of week 14, as he (she?) threw 2 interceptions to a defense that struggles to take the ball away. Manning definitely played like the person Charger fans depicted him (her?) as.

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