I refer, of course, to the 2013 San Diego Chargers blueprint that got them to 9-7 and into the playoffs as one of the AFC's two Wild Card teams a year ago.
Good run blocking, quick-passing, no mistakes. That's all it takes, and the Chargers seem to finally be working themselves into that rhythm after a ten games or so of missing at least two of the three.
Philip Rivers' was able to survive the dreaded St. Louis Rams' pass rush with quick-passing attack, which also helped Keenan Allen (and resulted in his biggest game of the season). Expect more of it going forward.
As far as mistakes go, the Chargers have not been good at avoiding them. Both penalties and turnovers have been a problem, but that's something that could potentially get better without a need for drastic change. Healthier players means more practice for the starters and more consistency. That could be all it takes.
Mathews has been back for two games now after seven games with an injury. He's being brought along slowly, but here's what he's done in those two games:
28 carries, 172 rush yds (6.1 YPC), 1 rush TD, 3 catches, 13 rec yds
He's playing with his hair on fire, behind an offensive line that is finally starting to gel now that the shuffle at guard and center has stopped. The Chargers could easily ride their running game to a winning record over these last five games of the year.
Before the season, everyone wanted to talk about the "three headed monster" at RB. With Mathews, Danny Woodhead, and Donald Brown, nobody could stop the ground game.
Well, I want to focus on a different group of three. As far as I'm concerned, all you really need to be a successful NFL team these days is a strong running game, a decent QB, and at least two good pass-rushers. The Chargers have three that, now that they're healthy, cause nightmares for opposing offensive lines.
Dwight Freeney, Melvin Ingram, and Jerry Attaochu have each shown the ability to regularly beat one-on-one blockers, and their presence on the field has started opening things up for the defensive line in front of them and the secondary behind them. If those three can stay healthy, it could be the difference in beating the stellar QBs left on the Chargers schedule.
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