The Chargers team that we all, as Charger fans, dream about when we fall asleep on the eve of each season decided to finally show up today and beat up on the Matt-Cassel-less Kansas City Chiefs. It reminded me of watching the Chargers' first-teamers beating up on the third-teamers that probably aren't good enough to make the NFL in training camp.
There was literally no part of the game in which the Chargers did not dominate. Even with the performances against the Jaguars and Cardinals earlier this year, this may have been the team's most complete game. The most shocking part of the victory was how different it was from the Raiders game last week. The key to their game was the Bolts winning the battle on both lines and dominating the rushing game on offense and defense. Take a look at this balance as well.....
Mike Tolbert - 16 carries, 66 yards, TD
Ryan Mathews - 16 carries, 65 yards, TD
Darren Sproles - 6 carries, 53 yards
Now let's see what they did to the league's top rushing attack....
Jamaal Charles - 10 carries, 40 yards
Thomas Jones - 3 carries, 1 yard
Any time Philip Rivers is ending the game with somewhere around 25 pass attempts and a completion percentage of at least 75%, you know things went according to plan.
After the jump, "The Road Ahead".
The Road Ahead
This was week 1 of a 4 week "playoff" scenario for the Chargers. In reality, they don't need to win every game because the Chiefs and Raiders could lose the rest of their games. However, logically, the Chargers will most likely need to win their games against the 49ers, at the Bengals and at the Broncos to end the season.
The Raiders now sit a full game behind the Chargers, after losing to the Jaguars earlier today. If the Bolts win out, they do not need to concern themselves with Oakland.
The Chiefs are only one game ahead of the Chargers, and Matt Cassel (sans appendix) will need to come back and jump-start the KC offense if they're to win each of their three games at St. Louis, against the Titans and against the Raiders to end the season.
This means that the Chargers could be a mere 7 days away from (somehow) taking control of the AFC West division lead. If they can beat San Francisco on Thursday night (buy your tickets now to avoid the blackout!), all eyes will be on the match-up in St. Louis to see if the young-and-dangerous Rams (who are currently losing big to the Saints) can create yet another miracle that gets the Bolts into the playoffs after an atrocious first-half to the season.