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Sun., Mar. 08, 2015 1:30 PM PDT
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Five Keys to the Game
The Chargers return to action Sunday afternoon when they travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers, looking to improve their record to 5-4. Here are five things to watch for that could dictate the outcome.
1. Jackson’s Revenge- Vincent Jackson spent seven seasons in San Diego from 2005-2011, and there is no doubt he hopes to have a monster game against his former team. Jackson has had a strong start to his Buccaneer career, hauling in 31 catches for 710 yards and six scores. But if there is anyone who knows the best way to defend the big play receivers, it is the Chargers defense. For seven years, Quentin Jammer and the rest of the secondary faced Jackson every day in practice, so they should be familiar with his tendencies. This battle promises to be one of the more anticipated and important ones to watch on the field this Sunday.
2. May the Best Run Game Win – Ryan Mathews and Doug Martin are two excellent runners. However, they will be going up against two of the best run defenses in the NFL as the Buccaneers rank first in the league surrendering only 77.2 yards per game on the ground while the Bolts rank fourth, giving up 84.0 ypg. Whoever is able to run the ball with more authority has a distinct edge in the game, which brings us to our next key…
3. Halt Martin’s Momentum – The Chargers will be placing a lot of emphasis on stopping Martin. Much has been said about the rookie running back this week and for good reason. He ran for a franchise-record 251 yards rushing with four touchdowns last week against the Oakland Raiders and has become the buzz of the league. Even when it looks like he is being stuffed for no gain, Martin finds ways to sneak through small holes and break out big runs. The Chargers will look to limit his effectiveness, forcing the ball into Josh Freeman’s hands.
4. Rolling Rivers – Philip Rivers had a tremendous game last time out, completing 18 of 20 passes to become only the sixth QB in history to post a 90% or higher completion percentage in a game. This weekend, he faces a secondary ranked dead last in the NFL. Thus, it stands to reason that Rivers has a good chance to build on his last effort and get on a roll against the Bucs.
5. Special Teams – The Chargers special teams have been excellent this year, and I anticipate them having a big day Sunday against Tampa Bay. Assistant Head Coach –Special Teams Rich Bisaccia is a fiery and passionate coach who spent nine seasons with the Bucs from 2002-2010. As a result, he knows Tampa Bay extremely well, which may provide a leg up going against his former team.