Philip Rivers - 29/39, 377 pass yds, 3 pass TDs
And now we can say that Philip Rivers has been "fixed". As great as he was last season, I still wanted to see what would happen if he got put in a bad situation, behind a bad offensive line without much of a running game. Turns out, he still doesn't make mistakes. He doesn't even fumble when he gets sacked anymore! El Capitan has played a flawless month of football, when the team has needed him to carry them. This is far and away the best month of his career.
Sunday was no different. An offensive line made up of broken toys, a running game that doesn't exist....the Jaguars should have had their way with this Chargers offense. Instead, they could not stop Rivers no matter what they threw at him.
Keenan Allen - 10 catches (11 targets), 135 rec yds
I told you. I told you not to worry about Keenan. I told you that, once he got away from the shutdown CBs, Keenan would go back to putting up ridiculous numbers. Now, I guess the Buffalo Bills defense is a bit better than I had thought, but the rest of it held true.
Keenan was able to get open 10 yards from the line of scrimmage and catch everything thrown at him. It got to the point that, on 3rd & long, Rivers wouldn't look at any other receiver. He would just stare at KA until Keenan made his cut, then he'd throw it with full confidence that the receiver would be open and catch the ball. It looked like two high school kids playing against a Pop Warner team.
Eddie Royal - 5 catches (7 targets), 105 rec yds, 2 rec TDs
I'm going to say something that will shock you. Get ready.
Eddie Royal is not a very good WR.
Are you still there? Are you angry? It's okay. Let me talk you down.
Eddie Royal does not run good routes, he doesn't have particularly good hands, he doesn't time his jumps well, he can't out-muscle anybody and he generally should never be considered a WR in the NFL. But, somewhat like when Mickey told Rocky that left-handed boxers should be barred from the sport, Eddie isn't hearing any of that.
What Eddie Royal is great at is running and getting away from people that want to tackle him. He's like a greased pig on cocaine that way. Get him the ball in space, and he's going to pick up a bunch of yards. Mike McCoy and Frank Reich (and Ken Whisenhunt) have figured this out, and they draw up plays that get Eddie open with minimal effort so that he can get the ball with space to run. It hasn't just been a genius plan, it's been a brilliant red zone game-plan that nobody has seen coming despite the fact that they've been doing it for over a year.
In a nutshell, we may not need to worry so much about the loss of Danny Woodhead, because Eddie Royal can do a lot of those same things incredibly well.
Brandon Flowers - 6 tackles (6 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 defended pass, 1 interception
Isn't this the guy with a groin so hurt that he couldn't play two weeks ago?
Brandon Flowers played a perfect game against the Jaguars. Not good, not great, but perfect. Against the run, he was perfect. Against the pass, he was perfect.
According to PFF, Flowers was thrown at four times all game long. He gave up 2 catches for 3 yards, and had a beautiful interception when Blake Bortles stared down his receiver.
Nick Novak - 4/4 FGs, 3/3 XPs
On the two-year anniversary of his being signed by the Chargers, and turning his career around, Novak nailed FGs from 33, 34, 23, and 37.
Let's do a quick look back at Novak's career:
Pre-Chargers: 19/30 FGs (63%)
With Chargers: 85/97 (87%)
He is one of the best kickers in the league, if not the best, and going 4/4 on Sunday was business as usual for Nick "Nails" Novak.
Honorable Mention: Dwight Freeney, Andrew Gachkar, Cordarro Law
So much for Kavell Conner getting the start. He got 20 snaps, compared to 52 for Gachkar.— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) September 29, 2014
The offensive line was giving up pressure on Philip Rivers all game long and the running game once again was held to a paltry 2.1 yards per carry. This unit is not good right now. They need to figure it out quick if this team is going to do anything this year.
Good lord, just switch to the 4-2-5 already.
Here's how bad it was: Kendall Reyes was arguably the best defensive lineman for the Chargers yesterday.
Sean Lissemore could be replaced by a bag of sand. Corey Liuget is frustratingly inconsistent. Tenny Palepoi should not be on an NFL field. Ryan Carrethers got a few snaps and looked like a slightly heavier bag of sand than Lissemore.
I'm openly rooting to see this as the base defense when Jason Verrett returns:
D-Line: Freeney, Liuget, Reyes, Johnson
LBs: Butler, Conner/Gachkar
DBs: Flowers, Wright, Verrett, Weddle, Gilchrist
Steve Williams - 2 tackles (2 solo)
Someone hit Steve Williams with the fire extinguisher. The Jags lit him on fire. He was barely on the field long enough to embarrass himself, but somehow he managed to beat the odds.
Williams was on the field for five snaps and Bortles immediately targeted him. He was thrown at twice and gave up 2 catches for 22 yards before very quickly being replaced by Richard Marshall. He was replaced by Richard Marshall and that was viewed as an upgrade. Ouch.
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