First, the good news. The San Diego Chargers found their 2013 identity and used it to defeat the defending Super Bowl Champions.
It was a bludgeoning by the Bolts. They ran 75 plays (to Seattle's 40) and won the time of possession by twenty-five minutes. From those numbers, you would think that the Seahawks were a terrible team, but they are not. However, on this day, they were dominated by the Chargers offense (consistently) and defense (inconsistently).
Philip Rivers threw 37 times, completed 28 passes, was sacked only once, and threw for three touchdowns without turning the ball over once. Future Hall of Fame TE Antonio Gates caught 7 passes for 96 yards, including 3 touchdown catches (a feat he had not accomplished since 2005).
Without Brandon Flowers or Jarret Johnson, the defense had the perfect gameplan to stop an offense that is so well balanced that it was thought to be unstoppable. Marshawn Lynch carried the ball just 6 times for 36 yards and was the second leading rusher behind Percy Harvin, who will have the league apologize for his 51-yard touchdown run tomorrow (Harvin was also held to 1 catch for 5 yards by rookie CB Jason Verrett).
In a nutshell, the San Diego Chargers played a nearly perfect game. They used the gameplan they formulated last year, using their powerful offense to keep their defense fresh and the opposing offense off of the field, to perfection. The team is back to where we thought, and hoped, they would be after their hiccup in Arizona on Monday.
Now, the bad news.
Ryan Mathews left the game on a cart after injuring his knee. It looked quite serious, and they don't bring that cart out unless it's something that will last a while. It may well be the last carry Mathews ever sees as a Charger as this is the final year of his contract.
This makes the Donald Brown signing in the offseason seem all the more valuable as he'll likely slide into Mathews role ASAP. The third RB spot on the team could be taken by Branden Oliver, but there are also free agent options out there (such as LaMichael James) that could also help with Brown's kick-return duties.
Between Nick Hardwick and Ryan Mathews, the team has lost two of its ten most valuable players after two weeks. That will be a hard thing to overcome, but a win against the once-unbeatable Seattle Seahawks should do a lot to convince the coaches and players that they can do it.
Let's enjoy this one. It's not every day your favorite team can make you so proud.
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