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5 Bad Things: Chargers at Colts

1. Vincent Jackson

At this point, I don't think we can rightfully accuse VJax of "faking it". By all accounts, media and other players, Vincent injured his calf (maybe both) during practice last week and probably wasn't good enough to start the game. However, it's a bad first step with the Chargers fans and gives everyone one more instance (against the Colts this time) for them to say "See? The Chargers don't need him."

This has been a bad year for Jackson. We're still not a year away from him getting arrested on his way to the Chargers game, and then kicking the challenge flag at a crucial part of the game, and instead of redeeming himself it would appear he's kowtowed to his agents' desire to cash in before a potential lockout. The one way in which he could leave this town on good teams is with a solid performance to end the season and in the playoffs, and that's looking less and less likely.

2. Red Zone Struggles

Here are how the Chargers fared in the red zone last night, play-by-play:

2nd-2, IND20 5:43 M. Tolbert rushed to the left for 2 yard gain
1st-10, IND18 5:00 P. Rivers passed to D. Sproles down the middle for 8 yard gain
2nd-2, IND10 4:14 M. Tolbert rushed to the left for no gain
3rd-2, IND10 3:31 P. Rivers incomplete pass to the right
4th-2, IND10 3:22 N. Kaeding kicked a 28-yard field goal
3rd-14, IND15 10:15 P. Rivers incomplete pass to the left
4th-14, IND15 10:04 N. Kaeding kicked a 33-yard field goal
1st-3, IND3 11:14 M. Tolbert rushed to the right for no gain
2nd-3, IND3 10:30 M. Tolbert rushed to the right for 2 yard gain
3rd-1, IND1 9:48 P. Rivers sacked by E. Foster
4th-12, IND12 9:18 N. Kaeding kicked a 30-yard field goal
1st-10, IND20 13:43 M. Tolbert rushed to the left for 2 yard gain
2nd-8, IND18 12:57 P. Rivers passed to A. Gates down the middle for 9 yard gain
1st-9, IND9 12:13 P. Rivers passed to A. Gates to the right for 6 yard gain
2nd-3, IND3 11:26 M. Tolbert rushed up the middle for 3 yard touchdown. N. Kaeding made PAT


The Mike Tolbert TD was really the nail in the coffin for the Colts, so I stopped with that score. Look at all those plays before it though. Incomplete passes, runs for no gain, all against a defense that the Chargers were doing quite well against in the other part of the field. Maybe it was Philip Rivers realizing that the team didn't necessarily need 7 as much as they needed to keep the Indy crowd out of the game, or maybe it was a bad sign.

Strangely enough, this team has not been great at throwing the ball in the red zone like they had been last season. Instead, most of that weight has shifted to the goal line running of Tolbert. If we've learned anything from the Chargers playoff losses, it's that a weakness like that will raise it's head eventually unless they can find a way to get more versatile down near the goal line.


3. 3rd downs

The San Diego Chargers went 0-for-8 on possible 3rd down conversions. OH FOR EIGHT. I never thought I'd see the day when a Rivers-led offense would do such a thing, but it happened....even while El Capitan was completing more than 82% of his passes. So, what happened? 

The team would probably say, again, that they were trying to just keep from handing the game away and were playing it safe (which could be backed up by the number of short-of-the-first-down passes they were throwing on 3rd down) and I'm sure that's at least part of the problem. Another could've been that Rivers was looking for his buddy Antonio Gates on 3rd down, who was covered, and didn't have time to find and throw to his 2nd and 3rd options. 


4. Coverage/Quentin Jammer

At this point, we're running out of things the Chargers didn't do I can pick on Jammer for getting burned once or twice on double-moves. In reality, it wasn't that bad and we probably can't expect perfectly out of him. However, this is a Colts team that we could see again in the playoffs and I'd rather not see a big play down the sideline because Jammer can't stay with Garcon or Wayne. Something to work on, not worry about. Call it constructive criticism.


5. Health/Depth

Yes, this can be a bad thing too. Even though guys came back, and that's great, other key parts of this 2010 Chargers team are started to get banged up. Stephen Cooper strained his MCL, although he supposedly won't miss next week's game (I worry about him playing injured though). Steve Gregory and Donald Strickland both missed this game, and I hope they come back soon because like the ILB position there's not a ton of depth left in the secondary.