Hi there. Welcome back to "same story, different day". As was the case the weeks before, the Charger defense played 3 quarters of elite defense. Unfortunately, now that the team has what it's been trying to build for 4 years, the offense has turnstiles for quarterback blockers and leaves nothing for the defense to shine upon but their wasted effort. The grades aren't terribly impressive, but realize that without Aubrayo Franklin, Donald Butler or Jarret Johnson, this team would struggle against the run and leave pass rushers to also play the ground game. There was some disappointment. Here's the grading for the game.
Weekly GIF Analysis:
That blitz! Remember the gif of Vaughn Martin falling on the stunt? Execution of blitzes this year has not been good. It was something I really liked about Ron Rivera. He could design some very good blitzes (Although, Kevin Burnett, Luis Castillo and Antonio Garay were more in tune than Vaughn Martin, Aubrayo Franklin and Takeo Spikes). The example above is exactly how a nickel blitz should happen, where either he or the Mo linebacker is free as long as the DT and OLB can open the lane by drawing the blockers. Inside linebacker coverage. Both Takeo Spikes and Demorrio Williams were solid in coverage. While some may believe Williams was at fault on Gresham's touchdown, it was a cover 2 defense and Jammer passed off AJ Green too late and didn't pick up Gresham. Both ILB's kept good coverage on inside routes and didn't give up big yardage. Even Melvin Ingram was good in coverage, nearly getting an interception. Williams also did well as a blitzer, about as well as Donald Butler would do. He rushed just twice in the first half, but got some pressure on one, and almost got a sack on the other. Before we get too excited, Jonas Mouton was in for two defensive plays and was successful on both, even though the second one, a run, he didn't make the stop. But on the first one, from the goal line package, he got in Dalton's face and forced a defensible pass. I'd still like to see him play 20 snaps to get a good read on him though. Back to Ingram, he scored better than anyone else overall in the run game. He held up well, being as good as both Shaun Phillips and Jarret Johnson at their absolute best (this season), so clearly, he can handle starting at OLB.
4th and 9 and you give the team a free first down that then turns into a touchdown? Tsk, tsk Shareece Wright. Also, the penalty on Takeo Spikes for rubbing Dalton's head while defending a pass. Bad call, refs. Pass rush was not good. The Bengals have one of the best lines in the league, top ten easy. That meant blitzing was the only way to get definite pressure. Outside of Both ILB's, no one managed to have a significant impact. Melvin Ingram got pressure only twice despite rushing over 20 times. Kendall Reyes broke the pocket and got close on two occasions in the first half, but aside from those two plays he only got pressure two other times. Shaun Phillips is now a shadow of his former self. The only two times he got pressure he was unblocked or released by a blocker. I could get pressure on a QB if I'm unblocked. Phillips is a free agent after this season, and if he's retained, it should be only for a backup position. He's offered nothing this year but poor play. I don't need to tell you how awful Vaughn Martin has been so just take a wild guess as to how he performed. Overall, the defense is at it's best the first three quarters. In the fourth quarter, when the offense is on the field for 47 seconds or however long it takes the offense to go 3 and out, the defense wears out and can't stop the other team. I blame the offense for that.
Well, as I mentioned, the Chargers finally have a defense that is capable of leading them through the playoffs. Unfortunately, the offense is so bad they can't score the two touchdowns necessary to win a game. While the defense needs a pass rusher to replace Shaun Phillips, they are set for the next few years with at least one key player at every level... Leave your questions and comments below.