Hello, hello, hello. Let's start off today's Bs&Ds with some bad news. As predicted, I missed the first half of the Chargers game (mostly, we'll get to that in a second). Not as predicted, my DVR decided that it wasn't going to record the game unless I went home and set the thing manually. Once I realized that, I became the jerk at the family function that was watching a football game on his phone and ignores everybody else. What else could I do? It's almost playoff time!
I saw about 5 minutes worth of football on my phone. The first play was a should've-been-easy TD to Antonio Gates that Philip Rivers overthrew by about 3 yards. On my 3 inch by 6 inch screen, it looked like Philip laughed that one off. The second play was a little bit more difficult TD pass to Gates. After that I watched the Redskins move down the field with ease thanks to Quinton Ganther and packed in the phone for the car ride home to a larger television screen.
This game made two things very, very evident. One, as has been the case seemingly since AJ Smith took over as General Manager, this team has plenty of depth today and plenty of fresh young bodies for the future. Two, if the Chargers run into a team that has a really good defense and really good running offense, they could be in trouble. A game against the Ravens or Jets scares me a little, because those teams are good enough on defense to stay in the game and can run it enough to take advantage of the Chargers' biggest weakness (The Bengals are not included because after losing Rey Maualuga they've looked like a different, weaker team).
Anyways, onto Bolts & Dolts (with a few fresh faces this week).
Malcom Floyd - 9 catches, 140 yds. I think the commentators were going a little overboard on Malcom. They were acting as if Floyd's big game in Week 17, a meaningless game against a team that's quit on it's coach, was going to translate into huge money and a job as a Number 1 WR somewhere. I think Malcom may need more than a half-season of starting to get there, but what do I know?
Anyways, Malcom had a big game. It wasn't anything that we shouldn't have expected from him. He made the tough catches, got himself open and managed to stay healthy even though he played just about the entire game. With the two most reliable sets on hands on the sidelines (Gates and Vincent Jackson), it made sense that Billy Volek was looking for Floyd every time he dropped back.
Philip Rivers/Billy Volek - 28/45, 314 yds, 2 TDs, 1 Int. Congrats to Philip for reaching his goal of finishing the regular season in single digits for interceptions (9). Although the starter looked better doing it, Rivers' and Volek's numbers for the game are surprisingly similar (except for the silly interception Billy threw). Each guy came within one completion of completing 66.6% of their passes. Each got roughly 7 yards per pass. Billy wasn't as impressive as Rivers, but still showed that he's accurate enough to drive the team down the field at the end of the game should the Chargers ever need him to.
Buster Davis - 6 catches, 52 yards. According to the stats, Buster caught 6 out of the 7 passes thrown his way. That doesn't mean he dropped one necessarily. One could've been uncatchable, but since it was intended for him it's marked as a "target" for him. 6 for 7 is quite impressive. As a comparison, Floyd caught 9 of the 14 that were intended for him.
Buster showed everything the fans and the team could've wanted from him. He withstood big hits, showed off great hands and looked fast and quick at the same time. If Volek is a little more accurate on his deep ball yesterday, Buster has an easy long TD as well. I look forward to seeing how Buster performs in the playoffs, and how Norv can work him into the offense.
Marques Harris - 6 tackles, 1 sack. I don't know that there's a bigger mystery on this team, for me, than Marques Harris. Every time the guy gets on the field he gets a sack and plays very well against the run, but for some reason that's never translated into a chance to start and he was cut this season by the 49ers after they couldn't find a spot for him either. Judging on this season alone, Marques Harris is better (right now) than Larry English. So why doesn't he get the same chances? Prediction: Harris comes up with a big sack, along with the back handspring, to close out a playoff game.
Alfonso Boone - 1 tackle. Thank you very much, Mr. Boone, for not getting hurt even though you essentially played the entire game. When the main D-line was Boone, Travis Johnson and Vaughn Martin, Alfonso was the only one that I saw getting any sort of push on the line.
Kassim Osgood - 3 tackles. The shame of it is that Kassim is probably more proud of his one catch than he is the three great tackles he made on special teams. The special teams suffered a little bit, as Jacob Hester was missing and many of the STers were either hurt or tired from playing, but Kassim handled his business and showed why he's the best Special Teamer in the NFL. Anyone else worried that he's going to end up in New England next season?
Nate Kaeding - 3/3 FGs, 2/2 XPs. There's no better kicker in the NFL, and Kaeding seems to be getting better as the season goes along. Any potential game-winning FG in the playoffs shouldn't even make Charger fans nervous.
Mike Scifres - 3 punts, 2 -20yd line, 48.3 average. Perhaps Mike's best game of the season. 2 out of his 3 punts pinned the Redskins back inside their own 20, and a 48.3 average is huge. Just like Nate "the Great", Scifres seems to be peaking right at the end of the season.
Seriously? You think I'd actually name anyone Dolts this week? It was a meaningless game, and most of the bad plays were equaled out by good ones.
Mike Tolbert - Blocked well all game and caught the game-winning pass with nobody around him. Solid game.
Michael Bennett - Can he please be our 3rd down RB? I think he's the 2nd best player in the league on a screen pass behind Chris Johnson. I love the way he carries the ball too. If Hester is out for any of the playoff games, Bennett will probably be active and could see some touches. I think he's a big play waiting to happen.
Antonio Gates - Best TE in the league. No doubt about it. Every Washington player knew the ball was going to him, and he still got open and caught it. Ridiculous.