clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why the Chargers Will Win: Atlanta Falcons

This man is angry and looking to punish somebody.
This man is angry and looking to punish somebody.

Welcome to 'Why the Chargers Will Win', a weekly feature where we tell you why the San Diego Chargers might win their upcoming game.

Ryan Mathews

Welcome back, Bam-Bam. Sweet beard. You know how, ever since you broke your collarbone, you've been standing on the sidelines brooding and looking like you want to literally run right through the chest of a defensive lineman? Good news! Your first game back is up against the 25th ranked rushing defense in the NFL. Go crazy.

Philip Rivers

Here's what happened the last three times El Capitan faced a defense coached by Mike Nolan:

  • 2009 (DEN): 20/33, 274 pass yds, 1 TD (5 sacks, 3 fumbles, 1 lost fumble)
  • 2009 (@ DEN): 17/22, 145 pass yds, 1 TD (0 sacks)
  • 2011 (MIA): 21/31, 307 pass yds, 1 TD (2 sacks)
So, in three games, 3 TDs against zero interceptions. That's a heck of a lot better than what Matt Cassel (1 TD, 2 INTs) and Peyton Manning (1 TD, 3 INTs) have done against the Falcons so far this season. I suppose you could say that Nolan has just gotten so much better that QBs can't figure him out, or this could be the result of a bad QB and a very rusty QB. I'm optimistic, so I'm going with the latter.

To be fair, Rivers could definitely turn back into the 2011 version of himself and throw 3 INTs. Personally, I think a likelier outcome is that he protects the ball and doesn't turn it over once. Everyone at Chargers Park understands that the Falcons are 2-0 because they've won the turnover battle, and they understand that the Chargers are 2-0 for the same reason. Rivers' first orders will be to be careful.

Antonio Gates

Fine, the Chargers can win without Gates. At least when they're playing a team as poor as the 2012 Tennessee Titans. However, having him back is like getting back your favorite shirt after it has been at the dry cleaners for a while. It just feels right, it makes you feel like you, and you end up a little more confident.

Gates could have zero catches in this game and he'll still have a huge impact. Him being out there opens up room for Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, the other Tight Ends and Ryan Mathews. This offense, built around a "Put a bunch of guys on the field and let Rivers throw to whoever is most open" philosophy, only works against good teams when Gates is out there demanding that both a Safety and a Linebacker pay attention to him (which he will on Sunday).