Discovering A Bitter Truth
As Chargers fans, we have known since the departure of LT that without Philip Rivers, this would be a horrible team. The Bolts from 2010 through 2015 would have been drafting in the top 5 every year without El Capitan. But we do have #17, and with him, the Bolts are possibly a play-off team every season, right? After all, on any given Sunday, PR can go off, put the team on his back and carry them to a win.
There is a flip side to that calculation, which we have seen over the last few seasons. If PR makes some crucial mistakes or has an off day, the team will probably lose. At least, this is what we Bolts fans knew to be true until last Sunday.
43-65-503-2-0. Look at that for a moment. 43 completions, 65 attempts, 503 yards, 2 TD's, 0 INT's. 66% completion percentage, 7.7 yards per attempt, and no turnovers. It is hard to imagine PR playing better than he did against one of the better teams in the league. Yet, it was not enough for the Chargers to win. This is a bitter truth - the condition of the team right now is such that Rivers can play one of the best games of his career and it may not be enough for the Bolts to win.
Something else to consider; had PR managed to throw for another 3 yards in regulation and TIED (not WON, mind you, but tied) the game, there would have been overtime. In that overtime, he might have had a shot at breaking Norm Van Brocklin's 63-year-old record single game passing yardage record (554). And the team might have STILL lost the game. As it stands, PR is the only QB to have thrown for over 503 yards with 0 picks and come out with the loss in the history of the NFL.
The Team's GM Drafting A Back That The Coaches Can't Use
I have criticized the coaches for not sticking with Gordon when he looks like he is getting into a groove and can be effective. I have been looking at the game logs and my own mental DVR since the Packer game and I came to a realization. I am fairly certain at this point that the coaching staff and the GM did not really sit down together and consider what kind of running back would fit with this team's offense.
Gordon does not fit with what the Bolts do offensively and the coaches do not really have any idea at all how to use him right now. For many rookie backs, it is a tough adjustment coming from most college offenses into an NFL system. The pass blocking, route running, sight adjustments, knowing when to release, and where to release to are not easy skills to acquire in college. There are guys that come into the league with a little more rounded of a skill set though.
Gordon may yet develop into a producer that justifies his first round selection. At this point though, nobody on the team has any idea on how to use him to help the Chargers win football games. There were backs available that showed a lot more versatility in college, but nobody calling the shots for this team seemed to think about drafting a guy that would be a better fit to what this team does on offense.
The Decline of Brandon Flowers
I knew from watching the game yesterday that B-Flo was getting picked on again. The interesting thing about the NFL is that most competent coaches will ID the weakest part of your team and go after it, trying to maximize their team's chance for success and victory. So far this season (especially the last 2 games), teams keep coming back to #24. And with success. Yesterday, James Jones was able to get over his top and haul in a TD pass from Aaron Rodgers.
It was not until I saw the detailed box score Monday morning that it sank in to me just how badly Flowers played in Green Bay. The Packers ran 53 plays last Sunday. He was on the field for 100% of those plays. Yet in those 53 snaps, he recorded 0 tackles, 0 passes defended, and nothing else statistically to indicate that he was even in the stadium last Sunday.
Unless and until Flowers can demonstrate that he can control his side of the field, teams will continue going after him. It remains to be seen if he can start winning more often than not like last year. He sure did not during the last game.