1. Firey Norv instead of "Fire Norv!"
All of the talk today is centered around a passionate halftime speech by Norv Turner to his players that fired them up for a second-half comeback. This article is about as close as we'll get to knowing what was said, but there's two things I'd like to point out here (and maybe toot my own horn a bit).
Thing #1: I predicted this. I predict this every season now, because it seems like it's a skipping record at this point. The Chargers start out slow and Norv continues to praise his team. Once it becomes evident that the season may be slipping away, Norv turns angry and starts saying how things really are....this happened after the Patriots game last week. Then, when he finally reaches the point where he cannot hold in the anger/frustration any longer he gives some passionate speech to the team where he "gets angry" and maybe sheds a few tears. The team gets fired up, turns their season around, and eventually make a run into the playoffs.
Thing #2: After reading the paragraph above, you may be thinking...."Well, why isn't he angry all the time?" Obviously it is what the team responds to best, right? Well, the issue with that is that the team responds more to Norv because they know it's real. The fact that the team, and the season, has to get to this point before he gets angry says a few things. First, it says he's a cool-headed guy. We all knew that already. Two, it says he believes in his players. Three, it says that he doesn't believe in faking his emotions or anger.....and I don't fault him for that. There's been plenty of coaches that wear on a team because eventually the team feels like the coach is just being angry to motivate, and isn't actually angry at all. Bill Parcells had this issue in Dallas. Tom Coughlin had this issue in Jacksonville (before softening up a little bit in New York). I could go on and on.
So, the fact that Norv respects his players enough to only show them his true emotions is great. It helps him to get the team to respond to him when he really needs them to. It would just help if they would find a way to play their hearts out for him before it got to this point. Maybe some day they will.
2. El Capitan
Philip Rivers is having another ridiculous season, as many predicted, and may even be on pace to break some long-standing records. Here's where he ranks in the NFL through 8 weeks:
- 2,649 passing yards (1st)
- 8.7 yards per attempt (1st)
- 64.7% completion percentage (7th)
- 15 passing TDs (2nd)
- 43 completions of 20+ yards (1st)
- 7 completions of 40+ yards (2nd)
- 98.9 QB Rating (3rd)
With his offensive line looking better than ever, and offensive playmakers that look like they're doing a better job of holding onto the football than before, Rivers should be able to continue this great season and possibly break Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a single season (5,084).
|vs TEN / 10.31.10||Passing||Rushing|
3. Run Defense
Chris Johnson, whose twitching would have me seriously freaked out if I were a Titans fan, is one of the top RBs in the league and had a difficult time getting anything going against a defense made up of journeymen like Kevin Burnett, Antonio Garay, Antwan Barnes and others. If it weren't for a ridiculous 29 yard TD run, in which CJ should've been tackled 4 times and was essentially running away from the defense rather than running through them, Johnson's final numbers would be 14 carries for 30 yards (or roughly 2 yards per carry).
The run defense was suffocating, seemingly led by the continually-impressive play by Kevin Burnett, and is a big reason the Chargers were able to pull out a victory on Sunday.
|vs SDC / 10.31.10||Rushing||Receiving|
4. Antonio Gates
At the half-way point of the season it's easy to project numbers out. If Gates is able to reproduce in the second-half what he's done in the first, he will finish with 80 catches for 1,326 yards and 18 receiving TDs. I can't seem to find stats on the best statistical season by a TE, but I have to believe that in terms of yardage and TDs those would be record-breaking numbers.
Antonio is still dealing with a toe injury, he missed every practice last week except for Friday's, and yet he got right back into his groove of going over 100 receiving yards and getting a TD catch. If Rivers ends up in the Hall of Fame one day, he should thank Gates during his acceptance speech.
|vs TEN / 10.31.10||Receiving|
5. Limiting Mistakes
It is almost ridiculous to type this out, but with one blown coverage TD, one blocked punt and one muffed PAT....the Chargers played smart enough and disciplined enough to win. The offense and defense of this team is so good that 2-3 big mistakes in a game probably means they still have a chance to win the game at the end. The fact that they only made 2-3 mistakes is a step in the right direction.