First Half Philip Rivers (aka Dr. Jekyll)
Want to see a disturbing stat? Here is how Philip Rivers has performed in 2012, broken down by quarter:
- 1st Quarter: 135.2 QB rating, 67.1%, 712 pass yds, 8 TDs, 0 INTs
- 2nd Quarter: 88.2 QB rating, 75.9%, 659 pass yds, 4 TDs, 5 INTs
- 3rd Quarter: 79.3 QB rating, 64.4%, 354 pass yds, 1 TDs, 1 INT
- 4th Quarter: 56.5 QB rating, 63.0%, 478 pass yds, 2 TDs, 6 INTs
In case you were wondering, that's not good. As is his MO, Rivers was brilliant in the first half of this game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary looked like a high school defense against him. That same secondary was good enough to pick him off twice in the second half, as Second Half Philip Rivers (aka Mr. Hyde) took control.
Danario Alexander - 7 catches, 134 rec yds, 1 rec TD
The new Vincent Jackson! Just kidding, Alexander is more like the new Malcom Floyd. He's tall and talented, which means he'll perform on the field, but he's also very injury-prone. That means he's perfect for the Chargers. With the last two games, Alexander has cemented himself as the starting WR opposite Floyd. That's an impressive thing to do in your first month with a new team.
Corey Liuget - 5 tackles
It's not often than a defensive lineman leads the team in tackles. It's even less often that he does it in a game that he wasn't expected to play due to injuries. Another strong game in a strong second season for Liuget.
Second Half Philip Rivers (aka Mr. Hyde)
What is wrong with El Capitan? Why does he make such terrible decisions? Why is his footwork so poor? Why does he seem to be regressing into a shell of despair instead of leading his team on the sidelines? Is it Norv's system? Have Norv and Rivers gotten too comfortable/lazy? Is it the fault of A.J. Smith and the offensive line? Or maybe the fault of Dr. David Chao and the losses of Kris Dielman and Marcus McNeill due to injury?
Heading into the 2012 season, my argument for why the San Diego Chargers might be better than they were in 2011 was Pagano and Melvin Ingram. The secondary was thin and had issues, but the pass rush would cover that up. The offense isn't as powerful as it was last season, but it would be evened out because the defense would be creating turnovers. Greg Manusky was obviously the problem, which meant that John Pagano was obviously the solution.
Well....just like Manusky and Cottrell and Rivera (I know, this one is debatable), Pagano hasn't been able to get a pass rush out of this defense. Shaun Phillips leads the team with 5 sacks, but has 0.5 sacks in the last four games. Donald Butler and Corey Liuget, who really aren't pass rushers, are second on the team with 2 sacks each. So much for the pass rush covering up the other holes on this roster.
Special Teams Blocking
Punts should never be blocked. Ever. The highest priority on every single punt is to make sure the Punter does not get hit.
Someone blew their assignment on that one, and Mike Scifres (arguably the Chargers' best player) will now probably miss a few games. He certainly didn't look like he was healthy enough to be punting in the second half of yesterday's game, despite the fact that he was out there punting.