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Lessons From Week 9
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Week 9’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs lifted the Bolts record to 4-4, and tied them with the Denver Broncos for most wins in the AFC West. Here is what we learned from Thursday night’s 31-13 victory.
1. Thriving Off Turnovers – Winning the turnover battle is important for any team, but that’s especially true for these San Diego Chargers. So far this season, they have scored 72 points off 19 takeaways (11 fumbles and eight interceptions). Last night, they scored 17 points off four turnovers, and in the two games vs. the Chiefs this season, the Bolts picked off four passes and recovered six Chiefs fumbles (10 total takeaways) that resulted in 41 San Diego points.
2. As Rivers Rolls… – Simply put, as Philip Rivers goes so go the Chargers. Last night, save for one admittedly terrible decision resulting in an interception in the end zone, Rivers was terrific. He opened the game by completing his first 13 passes of the night, tied for the third most consecutive completions in a game in team history. His first incompletion was a ball he purposely threw out of the back of the end zone. That coupled with the pick were his only two incompletions of the entire game as he finished 18-for-20. His 90% completion percentage tied for the fifth best in NFL history becoming only the sixth quarterback ever to complete at least 90% of his passes. Not surprisingly, the end result was a resounding win.
3. Great Depth – Last night’s game showcased just how deep the Chargers roster is. Two brand new receivers in Danario Alexander and Seyi Ajirotutu proved they have what it takes to be regular contributors on the offense, even when Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal return from their hamstring injuries. Demorrio Williams also showed what he can do as he forced two turnovers, including a 59-yard pick six. In the running game, Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle continued to thrive behind Ryan Mathews, posting 38 and 20 yards respectively.
4. Third Down Defense Still Needs Improvement – The Chargers defense bent but didn’t break, allowing the Chiefs to march down field before finally making a stand. Still, those drives could have ended much earlier had the team been able to get off the field on third down. The Chiefs converted 7-of-12 third down attempts. It didn’t hurt them in the end last night, but it is an area the defense still needs to improve upon.
5. Balanced Offense = Effective Offense – Last night, the Chargers offense showed just how lethal they can be in all facets of the game,. Most notable was the play calling, which had 26 runs and 21 passes. On the ground, the three-headed backfield of Mathews, Brown and Battle all averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry. Combined with receptions, Mathews had 15 touches while Brown had 11 and Battle four. The passing game was also showed balance as Brown recorded five receptions, Malcom Floyd four, Alexander and Antonio Gates three a piece, Mathews two and Ajirotutu one. The Chargers put together the winning ingredients of a balanced attack. Read