Melvin Ingram played by far his best game since returning from a torn ACL. He looked quick around the edge, collecting a strip sack and 2 hurries as a pass rusher. He also played very well against the run. Considering Ingram tore his ACL in May, it seemed very unlikely that he would be able to make a return in 2013, let alone play at a high level. His play against the Raiders may be the type of boost the defense needed down the stretch.
The safety play was phenomenal. Marcus Gilchrist and Eric Weddle both played a great game coverage-wise, in addition to each collecting 3 QB disruptions each on only 11 total rushes. Weddle made an excellent interception that gave the Bolts great field position and led to Mathews' 7 yard touchdown run. Considering how poorly the cornerbacks have played all season, this type of performance from the back end of the secondary is huge for the Chargers defense.
Except for a pair of penalties, rookie tackle D.J. Fluker had a dominant game. He was perfect in pass protection after not allowing as much as a hurry. He also had his best game run blocking, which has been surprisingly sub-par this season. Fluker is playing well and has the chance to be a dominating, mauling offensive tackle.
Philip Rivers wasn't necessarily bad, but since I won't have many chances to put Rivers on this list Sunday's performance makes it. He threw an interception on a very poorly thrown pass and was uncharacteristically inaccurate. He had a 28.5 QB rating on play action passes, compared to his 130.7 for the season (according to Pro Football Focus). It says a lot about a quarterback that he can have one of his poorer performances of the season and his team can still win by 13. Still, if this is more than just an off day week 17 does not look so great. I say he is back in form for the last game of 2013.
The Chargers' offensive line played very well, except for Jeromey Clary. Raiders' defensive lineman Pat Sims looked more like J.J. Watt, racking up 12 tackles, a sack, and an astonishing 10 total stops (PFF). To put that into perspective, Jarret Johnson leads the Chargers' defense with 26 stops on the entire season. Clary doesn't deserve all of the blame, but his performance sticks out like a sore thumb on an offensive line that played fairly well.
The Oakland Raiders. Everything about them is ugly. The Chargers turned the ball over three times and the Raiders only managed to scrape out 13 points. I also imagine that the referee's arms are sore after throwing so many flags, as the Raiders were called for 15 penalties and had another 3 declined. The beginning of the season brought a slight glimmer of hope for the future in Oakland, but this team still needs some rebuilding.
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