These are my weekly Chargers Power Rankings. They should be taken very seriously.
Here are some good Chargers (from best to less best):
1) Philip Rivers (Last Week: 2). Philip broke Dan Fouts’ team record for career passing yards in the 21-13, Week 6 win over the Broncos, doing it in a uniform sort of similar to the one Fouts used to wear. Rivers now ranks 13th on the NFL’s all-time list, only 1,517 yards behind Drew Bledsoe for 12th place. The only thing Philip didn’t get right that night was breaking out some goofy clothing — like a bolo tie — on the post-game NFL Network set. C’mon, Phil, two years ago there was a bolo tie shortage in San Diego County. The economy needs this. How about an ascot? Or some suspenders?
2) Kellen Clemens (LW: Not Ranked). The veteran backup restored order to the holder position, after punter Drew Kaser bombed it the week before. And hey, it gives Clemens something to do on gamedays. Fun fact: On Friday nights, Clemens and Rivers coach their sons’ flag football team; Clemens is the offensive coordinator and Rivers is the D.C.
3) Joey Bosa (LW: 5). Bosa added two more quarterback hits against Denver, making it four in two games. He’s got a shot to reach double-digit sack totals like two other Chargers who wore No. 99 (Lee Williams, Raylee Johnson).
4) Front seven (NR). In fact, the front seven (and assorted blitzers) all did good work on Thursday, forcing six holding calls that included one for a safety and another that saved half of the Chargers fan base from sudden cardiac arrest (that C.J. Anderson non-touchdown late in the fourth quarter).
5) Jatavis Brown (LW: 6). Against the Broncos, Brown had a team-leading 14 tackles (13 solo, one for loss) and back-to-back plays that would’ve sealed the game for almost any other team anywhere in America (his third career sack, then a forced fumble).
6) Hunter Henry (NR). Another rookie, Henry led the Chargers in receptions and receiving yards on Thursday and actually ranks fifth among all NFL tight ends in receiving yards. Plus: He’s got a first-name, last-name thing going on that is guaranteed to get reversed by old people and casual fans. “I like that Henry Hunter,” people will say.
7) Jack Murphy Stadium DJ (NR). Now, it could’ve been because there was a late-game referee review going on. But it was also a song that perfectly captured fans’ mood when, in nervous-time during the fourth quarter on Thursday, the stadium DJ played Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated.” Yes, Chargers, why do you have to go and make things so complicated? Getting me all frustrated. (Is that song in your head yet? Just me?)
8) Josh Lambo (LW: 8). The second-year kicker made a career-best four field goals against Denver. He’s now 13-for-14 this season.
9) Korey Toomer (NR). Picked up off waivers just a few weeks ago, Toomer has made some nice plays in the linebacker rotation. He had a tackle for loss against his old team, the Raiders, and was the second-leading tackler against the Broncos (including a forced fumble and recovery on the same play). Known for his speed, Toomer was a team MVP his senior year at Idaho and even played a little fullback for the Vandals.
10) Special teams coaches (NR). Broncos fill-in coach Joe DeCamillis was FIRED up for Thursday’s game. Denver’s late-game, special teams success was partly attributable to Chargers (ahem) foul-ups, but makes you wonder why more NFL teams don’t consider someone with a special teams background for a head coaching position (John Harbaugh is one). That way, the head coach focuses on situational decisions (of which, special teams are a huge part) and the coordinators work their respective sides of the team.
Here are some bad Chargers (from worst to less worst):
1) Dean Spanos (Last Week: -1). Mark Davis, with a shorter-than-usual bowl cut, was out there doing some Las Vegas victory laps this week. That couldn’t have been a fun league meeting for Dean.
2) Fourth quarters/Overtime (NR). The Chargers have now been outscored 74-28 in fourth quarters and overtime this year.
3) Pass interference (NR). There’s a movement afoot to make pass interference reviewable, especially after some disastrous calls league-wide in Week 6. Do it. Patriots coach Bill Belichick (he’s supposed to be smart) has long advocated for reviews on any play or call in the entire game. Meanwhile, the Canadian Football League has instituted pass interference review, with some success. Of course, this Roger Goodell-led league has almost never been accused of being innovative (except on player punishment).
4) Kenny Wiggins (NR). Was Wiggins more relieved than anyone the Chargers held on against the Broncos? His fumbled fair-catch attempt helped keep Denver in the game. Let’s hope they spliced some South Park clips into the team’s film this week to keep it light. Fun fact: Kenny McCormick was once torn by his limbs and decapitated on a kick return.
5) Travis Benjamin (LW: 3). His punt return days are behind him for now. He is still badly needed at wide receiver and, unfortunately, missed practice this week with a knee ailment.
6) Win probability (NR). ESPN, it’s time to make a special Chargers adjustment for that win probability metric. Mike McCoy’s bunch had a 99.8 percent chance of winning at the start of Thursday’s fourth quarter. Sure.
7) Front office (LW: -4). It’s worth repeating. If the front office was going to fire Mike McCoy had the team lost Thursday’s game, the decision-making process is flawed. You’re just playing the results. Outside of a few plays, the Broncos win wasn’t much different than the Saints loss. This team is close, often too close, so tight games should only validate whatever reasons the front office had to line up this roster and coach for 2016. Give McCoy the season.
8) Mike McCoy (LW: -5). Good: Went for it on fourth down early in the Denver game. Bad: Stepped off the accelerator, again, in the fourth quarter.
9) Kevin Acee (NR). Last week the local columnist once again called for McCoy’s firing. Fine. It’s an opinion. But he did so in a column that began by stating that John Spanos has earned his job. Now there’s a tough premise. … John Spanos might be a nice guy. Probably works really hard and loves the Chargers. All that may be true. But he wouldn’t have his job if it weren’t for his last name. That’s a fact. The head coach may be a short-term problem, but there are plenty of Chargers fans wondering (some are pretty sure) whether this lack of vetting will become a long-term issue. Of course, Acee likes to fire sports figures in his column. This one has immunity.
10) Car commercials (NR). Look, it’s just an Infiniti. It’s not a driving experience.