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Random Thoughts on the Chargers Thanksgiving Destruction of the Cowboys

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Los Angeles Chargers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

For the second time in four days, Philip Rivers looked like vintage Philip Rivers. He stood tall in the pocket. His footwork was clean. He went through his progressions. He put the ball in places that only his receivers could get it. He was masterful. There was some fear that we would not ever see this version of Rivers again. At the moment, those concerns feel badly misplaced. Hopefully, we are in for a prolonged run of this kind of play from Rivers.

What we are seeing from Keenan Allen has been described by some as “vintage Keenan Allen.” I don’t think that’s right because what we are seeing right now is Allen reaching a new level of play that he has never been at before and that’s scary for opposing defenses because he was already great.

The offensive line was simply excellent on Thanksgiving, especially in pass protection. Part of what allowed Rivers to play so well is that he was hit only once all day. Russell Okung (arguably the offense’s best player through the first half of the season) and Joe Barksdale (just back from injury) in particular looked fantastic against the Cowboys’ pass rush.

Hunter Henry has continued to expand his role in the offense and that expanded role has continued to make the offense better. There are not many tight ends better than Henry in the NFL. There are few that are even on his level let alone better. The more that Ken Whisenhunt and the Chargers integrate him into the game plan the better the offense will be.

What Casey Hayward has done the last few weeks defies categorization. I lack the words to sufficiently describe how good he has been, how well he has played. Here, let the stats speak for themselves:

Are you kidding me? Enjoy this run of play while you can because I’m not sure anyone can sustain that level of excellence for too long.

Desmond King has looked better with each passing week this season and on Thanksgiving, he finally had a signature play to highlight how well he has played. King hauled in the first interception of his career and promptly returned it 90 yards for a touchdown. He is a playmaker and I firmly believe he will keep getting better.

The Cowboys offensive line is one of the best we will see the Chargers play and they actually managed to hold Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram relatively in check. Both still made their presence felt on multiple occasions, but it was a quiet game for them considering how strong the defensive performance was as a .whole

The kicking game is still the biggest black mark on this team. Drew Kaser did not have to punt all day which was wonderful, but he was forced to attempt a field goal because Nick Novak injured himself on his first attempt (and miss) of the game. The Chargers also had to go for it on 4th & 13 early in the game because they had no kicker. At some point, the Chargers have to look elsewhere for a kicker because Novak (whether due to injury or not) is not getting it done.

That’s what jumped out at me when I rewatched. What stood out to you?