Outside of a knee injury to Danny Woodhead, which may or may not be an MCL sprain (more on that in a second), there was not a single moment of anxiety, angst, or anger for San Diego Chargers fans, players, or coaches today. Things got so out of control that the Chargers were actually playing their second-string team in the 4th Quarter.
Five seconds into the 2nd Quarter, the Chargers had a 14-0 lead. Five minutes later, they were up 21-0. Perhaps learning from last week’s mistakes, the Chargers never took their foot off of the gas pedal until the game was well out of hand, putting up 14 more unanswered points in the 3rd Quarters and taking a 35-0 lead into the 4th. The game, which ended in a 38-14 final score, was never in doubt.
As far as what worked, the answer is everything.....but let’s run through those things because it’ll be fun.
Philip Rivers completed over 70% of his passes and threw 4 touchdowns (and no interceptions) even without Keenan Allen on the field. Travis Benjamin exploded with 6 catches for 115 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Tyrell Williams added a 44 yard TD catch of his own that will put him on the radar of Defensive Coordinators for the rest of the season.
The offensive line stayed relatively healthy and effective. Rivers was sacked 3 times, and one of those times fumbled the ball away, but he also was holding on to the ball too long when his receivers weren’t open. That’s an issue he has without Woodhead on the field and he’ll need to adjust in the future.
Here’s all of the info I’ve seen about Woodhead’s injury, which looked like a nasty turn of his knee while being tackled:
Hold your breath on that one. Likely more info coming in the next 48 hours about how long he’ll be out.
Speaking of Running Backs, Melvin Gordon carried the rock 24 times for 102 rushing yards and 1 rushing TD. That’s his first home TD and his first game with over 100 rushing yards. Good for him and for the offensive line!
The Chargers’ defense, which is supremely talented at the Cornerback position, was targeted at the Cornerback position all game long. Surprisingly, that terrible offensive gameplan didn’t pan out for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Casey Hayward had two interceptions on the day, and Jason Verrett helped to keep star WR Allen Robinson in check throughout most of the game.
The San Diego front-seven, which is mostly terrible at defending the run, only had to defend the run eight times in this game. That’s what an early lead can do for the defense. Knowing that they were throwing more than five times as much as they were running the ball, John Pagano was able to call a lot of blitzes and get average pressure on Jaguars QB Blake Bortles.
What can we take away from this game? Well, the Chargers have been spectacular for six of the eight quarters they’ve played of regular-season football in 2016.
They seem to have learned from their mistakes last week, and it’s worth mentioning that the 2013 Chargers learned from their Week 1 mistakes in a blown game against the Texans and eventually ended up winning a playoff game in Cincinnati.
It’s amazing how much better this team is, and was (in 2013), with Ken Whisenhunt in charge of the offense. He’s so effective at his job that he actually makes it easier for the defense, the special teams, and on his Head Coach. Chargers fans needed a win like to to be reminded of it, and to believe in this year’s team again.