After a blowout win, it's sometimes hard to come up with 5 bad things about the game. Unfortunately, that was not the case this week. The 25 point win against the Jaguars was a good team beating a bad team, but the good team still showed off it's flaws and played a relatively sloppy game.
1. Ryan Mathews, not "Bam Bam"
I am retiring the "Bam Bam" nickname from my lexicon until this bout of bad luck turns itself around for Ryan J. Mathews. After the first fumble in his first game, many people said "Oh boy, I hope that doesn't become an issue." Not that he holds the ball wrong (he actually has excellent form), but everyone has seen those rookie RBs that get fumbling in their head (and in the head of the defenses they're facing) and suddenly are coughing the ball up every week or so. The hope was that he wouldn't become that, and now those whispers have turned to worries.
As far as his injury, it all depends on how much he practices this season. However, as soon as he went down my brain jumped to the one concern about Mathews college career: injuries. There are some legitimate concerns about his ability to stay healthy in the NFL. Weeks 3 and 4 (against the Seahawks and Cardinals) will go a long way towards determining Mathews' candidacy as Rookie of the Year, which may determine the beginning on his legacy as a Charger.
2. Larry English, bust?
I was hesitant to call Larry English a bust heading into this year because I had hopes that everything he learned in year 1 would amount to him being an animal in year 2. However, in this season he looks like the same player he was last year. His speed, strength and moves all seem to be somewhere between average and below average. Antwan Applewhite, who I believe was at one time went undrafted, outperformed him on the field yesterday.
The most telling sign that Larry English is not the player the Chargers hoped he would be was the difference in the defense, and how the offense protected the QB, when Shawne Merriman came into the game. It was a clear statement: "We know we can keep Larry in check with one blocker."
Did English get half of a sack with Eric Weddle? Yes, he did. Was it an overly impressive play, or game, for English? No, it was not. He needs to show me more before I'm comfortable with him as the starter next season.
3. Mike Sims-Walker
I know he's a good WR, but any time you give up 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown you have to consider that a defensive failure. Sims-Walker was by no means dominant, but he took what the defense (Quentin Jammer) gave him and had himself a very nice game even though the guys throwing him the ball looked lost all day.
4. Blocked Punt
Not a huge deal, but it was a mistake by the Special Teams (again) in a game that didn't have many. Mike Scifres seems to miss the Pro Bowl each year by a hair, every punt is of the utmost importance if he's going to finally make it in 2010.
We've been over this. I'm well aware of the legitimate reasons out there for this week's blackout. With that being said, I never want to see another San Diego blackout again. It was depressing. It was depressing to talk about, to be asked about, to have to defend this fanbase, to hear about people watching the game the next day. This is not how Chargers football should be appreciated.