I saw a running back show that he deserves to get a lot more carries a game. I saw a quarterback show how gritty and extremely focused he is while once again being flushed out of a collapsing pocket. I saw a defense pitch a shutout for the first time since their date with Kansas City on December 12, 2010. Lots of things to enjoy.
But what I also saw on Sunday was injury after injury after injury, and it’s getting me really worried.
It started off early, on the play when Malcom Floyd burned the Jets defense for a 50 yard gain. Then, the announcer said, "we have a Charger on the field" and then on the replay I saw a glimpse of the number and it was no. 13. And I about threw my TV controller against the fire place. Luckily, he got up on his own accord, but it was the first of many ups and downs. In fact it was like 6 more ups and downs: RB Donald Brown, WR Malcolm Floyd, RT D.J Fluker, RG Johnny Troutman, Philip Rivers- all had to see the trainers at one point in the game. Now news comes that backup to the backup center, Doug Legursky has been placed on Injured Reserve.
With Legursky out for the year, rookie Chris Watt filled in, making him the 4th Center in 5 games to play this season.
The Chargers are a 4-1 team, with a lot of injuries to key parts of the team. The versatility of these Chargers players are being forced into action. But not without preparation.
"We’ve said that from day one," Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy said after the game. "You ask every day in training camp, why are guys moving around so much, why is the offensive line—why is this guy playing center, why is this corner playing safety? This is why. Position flexibility, regardless of who you are. Besides Philip Rivers, guys are going to move around."
The Next Man Up Mantra is alive and well at Chargers Park. It has been reported that Fluker left the Stadium on crutches and Troutman was in a walking bout. RB Donald Brown suffered a concussion during the Chargers win, while Floyd’s absence in the second half has not been released. Still, the Chargers must keep charging on.
"We have a great group of leaders and we understand that when you see guys go down, it’s a bad part of the game," McCoy said. "But we’ve got to put 11 on the field somehow and we’re going to do it. Give the players credit for executing. We’re just going to keep 2 plugging away one week at a time, whoever’s healthy, and help the guys to get healthy as quickly as possible and just keep on going."
Rivers, who banged up his throwing hand during the 3rd quarter, is optimistic that a healthy San Diego team is on the horizon.
"I don’t think we lost D.J. Fluker," Rivers said. "I just think that he didn’t come back in the game. I’ve never been a part of anything like having three centers out, especially in five weeks. Obviously, you hate to see guys go down like that. We have had guys step up but you hate to keep having to do that. Hopefully the injuries don’t keep happening at this pace throughout the course of the season. But, we’ll be meeting guys on Wednesday and playing with them on Sunday. Hopefully we can get through this rough stretch and keep winning."
It wasn’t too long ago that the Chargers faced this type of onslaught of injuries. Luckily, so far the Chargers have been able to ride the storm.
"It makes me think back to a couple years ago when we played 70 something guys in 2010," Rivers remembers. "It’s starting to feel just like that with guys continually going down. The difference between now and 2010 is that we are winning right now."
They say winning cures everything. Hopefully they are right.