I wanted to start this from week 1. Do an “observations” article from the previous week and tie it into the upcoming week as well. The difference is I will do 1 observation for each point the Chargers score. Because the team scored 33 points Sunday you’re getting 33 observations today.
- Julio Jones is good at football. There were a handful of plays where Matt Ryan is just staring Jones down, defenders draped all over him, and he still comes down with it. Sometimes it’s about the Jimmys & the Joes, not the Xs and the Os. Julio is a prime example of this.
- The Chargers safeties stink. Period.
- It’s great to have Ken Whisenhunt back. Atlanta is a heavy Cover 3 team and Whiz schemed up 3-4 Cover 3 beaters that matched up Tyrell Williams on a linebacker or safety that were beautiful designs. Most corners can’t run with Williams so matching him up on anybody else is a win for the offense.
Tyrell is #2 receiver to the top of the screen. Because Inman’s curl to the bottom holds the corner, it’s Williams on a linebacker for 50 yards. Good luck there, buddy. Here it is full speed.
Williams had another post where they brought him from the other side of the field just matched up against a safety. It went for 38 yards. Receivers with more 20+ yard receptions than Williams: Julio Jones, TY Hilton, Jarvis Landry, AJ Green, Marvin Jones.
4. Whiz will have to resort back to crossing routes, pick plays, and getting his running backs involved against Denver since they are a heavy man to man coverage team. That’s right in his wheelhouse, though.
5. Speaking of running backs in the passing game, it was good to see the team use Melvin Gordon as a receiver. He dropped a screen but he was getting tackled right after that anyway. He caught all of his 6 other targets for 53 yards.
6. Gordon peel back block that helped spring Williams for a big gain was awesome.
7. Denver is 6th in the NFL in adjusted sack rate. That pass rush is coming and coming quick. So Gordon will have to have his head on a swivel in the backfield. There was a looping defensive tackle that he tried to chip, missed, and forced Rivers to flee the pocket.
8. Rivers is good at quarterbacking.
9. My favorite is when there are bodies flying all around him and Rivers is just chilling in the pocket waiting for a receiver to break free as a 290-pound man is running at him full speed trying to decapitate him. There aren’t 3 quarterbacks in the NFL when it comes to dealing with pressure.
10. Travis Benjamin can beat a cheetah in a race.
11. Travis Benjamin would run out of bounds if my 4-year-old was running at him.
12. This is a business, and it’s time to stop going to Antonio Gates in clutch situations. 4th & 2? 3rd and 3? Sure. But anything over 8 yards and it’s painful to watch. He had some costly drops Sunday.
13. That said, expect a big game out of the tight ends against Denver. The box score doesn’t show it because the Texans are bad but their tight ends were able to have success, not to mention a deep pass interference down the sideline 1-on-1 against a safety.
14. I wonder what the DVOA says on this but the eyeball test says the more tight ends on the field the better the Chargers are.
15. If you told me before the season heading into week 8 the Chargers would be 8th in DVOA I’d say “no shit, they have Rivers.” Then you tell me it was on defense and I’m probably calling the cops.
16. Brandon Mebane is better than I thought. I anticipated last week coming down to him vs. Alex Mack and within 3 plays, where he beat him 2 times, it was clear who was winning that match-up.
Mebane had 5 tackles, with the majority of them all being around the line of scrimmage. He’s not only folding offensive lineman in half, he’s finishing plays. He is worlds better than what the team has had there in recent years.
17. Sunday was the first time we saw Joey Bosa play up and down the line of scrimmage. In the GIF above he’s playing 3 technique, mostly he’s playing the 4 or 5 technique in base defense. This is where he shines and makes everyone better in this defense. Look no further than the 1st run play of the game.
Bosa is lined up to the right in a 5 technique. 1st, he steps to contact, which hasn’t happened at that position in some time. So he’s already ahead of the curve there. But he stays square, locks out and ends up shedding the tackle and gets in on the play. In my opinion, his Luke Cage like strength is magnified here and he can be more disruptive. This is where I’ve always wanted him to play.
18. Playing Bosa inside frees up Melvin Ingram. Check this clip out. Bosa again locking out and locating the ball carrier, beating his man and forcing the runner to bounce it.
This has allowed John Pagano to let Ingram “freelance” a bit more. Whether it’s in coverage or on stunts. When Ingram can win with his athleticism, he’s a terror. That’s what he’s been the last couple weeks. He had a sack, another tackle for loss, and 2 QB hits. He was in surprisingly good in coverage as well Sunday.
19. A couple people asked me “what’s up with Jatavis Brown?” and a story was published that hours before the game his father passed away. That’s why it’s so tough grading/critiquing these guys. We have no idea what they’re going through. My hat goes off to Brown for even suiting up. He’s a bigger man than me.
20. The defense will need both Brown and Denzel Perryman in a big way against Denver. The Broncos have done a good job of creating running lanes this year and though I think the front 5 will do their job, it’s up to these 2 to flow and make plays.
21. Perryman had a day. Of course, he had the INT at the end to keep the Chargers in it but he was back to his aggressive self against the run. He had those 2 ginormous stops on 3rd and 4th down in overtime but he was making stops all game.
Usually, here Perryman takes on that fullback, that time he avoided him at full speed and made the tackle for loss. Impressive.
22. The corners did an admirable job and will have to continue to be aggressive against the Broncos receivers. They’re good, the QB is not. Take chances.
23. I know the defense might get back Brandon Flower but I’m just not sure I would match him up against either Emmanuel Sanders or Demaryius Thomas. Steve Williams gives them a better chance, as odd as it sounds.
24. I’m terrified of the thought of leaving Von Miller 1-on-1 with Joe Barksdale
25. It’s Matt Slauson, tier, it’s King Dunlap, grand canyon, then everyone else. Barksdale was the best lineman on the team last year. This year, man, I don’t know. It’s more than the sacks, which nobody in the league has given up more than him, it’s the whiffs. It looks like he can’t move. His 1st sack Sunday:
Woof. It looks like Rivers is a magnet and Barksdale is all metal.
26. Franklin continues to be a disaster. The once powerful man rarely shows flashes of that. Now he’s mostly a liability that is being covered up by the two players around him or his running backs making guys miss. Chargers needed 1 yard late in the game and this is how Franklin looked.
27. D.J. Fluker is the trifecta. I counted 5 missed stunts by him Sunday. Five. It’s nothing tricky. It’s standard twists like this where he just stays on his block too long and has no idea somebody is coming.
Day 1 mistakes and I’m guessing Fluker’s days are numbered as a Charger.
28. All that said is why for the 1st time since week 2 that I was impressed with Gordon as a runner. His 1st touchdown run where he cut it back was a cutback that he missed on the exact same run a week ago. He ran hard, didn’t give up on runs and finished. The stats might not show it but as an inside runner, Gordon was impressive.
29. Every time Griff Whalen touches the ball or is on the field I have to google to see who that is.
30. This team needs Jahleel Addae. Football is so stupid.
31. When the Falcons went for it in overtime, that was the right call. Process>Results. Save the opening 3 and out the Chargers scored on all 3 possessions in the 2nd half on drives of 8, 15, and 12 plays. They weren’t stopping that from happening again.
32. Mike McCoy has to continue to understand how many points it’ll take to win. Against teams like the Falcons, Saints and Raiders, you’re in 2 down territory. Teams like the Broncos you want to make them prove they can go 70+ yards.
33. Bosa is on pace for a 16 sack season. Six. Teen. You’re kidding yourself if you thought he would be this good as is the coaching staff. That would be the best rookie season ever. There are plays where he is getting held that can shave off his total, too.
Rushing from the edge there. Great college football player who is athletic, strong, and technically sound is going to be a great professional player. More to come at 10.