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Five Lessons from the Eagles Game
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Here are five lessons we learned from Sunday’s thrilling 33-30 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
1. Lesson Learned, Finishing Strong– All week long the Chargers preached the need to finish following the end of their Week 1 loss. Head Coach Mike McCoy uttered it numerous times. Philip Rivers addressed it. Pretty much anyone you spoke to in the locker room said the team needs to figure out how to finish. The result: A week 2 finish done as well as any team could. With less than two minutes to go the defense had a big stop to make it a tie game rather than have the Bolts trail. This led to Rivers marching the offense 51 yards in nine plays to set up Nick Novak’s game-winning 46-yard field goal. After the game, many of those same players spoke about how the team learned from the previous week and finished strong, including McCoy:
“Our big thing is you have to have the right mindset in this game. You’ve got to believe and you’ve got to finish. We talked about it last week; we didn’t finish the game. We made too many mistakes. Today we finished, and that’s why you win football games in this league.”
2. O-Line Dominates–Rivers was sacked early in the first quarter but after that, the offensive line kept its’ quarterback upright the rest of the game. The result, a 416 yard, three touchdown day for number 17 who finished with 36 completions and a 124.3 passer rating. The job the offensive line did blocking wasn’t lost on Rivers:
"The offensive line was awesome. They gave us multiple looks. They gave us tons of looks. They stayed in base personnel to our three receiver sets, and that can make it tough on the line calls. They mixed up a lot of dogs and blitzes. They were kind of dialing everything up…Our offensive line battled them all day.”
3. Third Down Success–Good things happen when you convert on third down, and that was the case for the Chargers on Sunday. The team converted 10-of-15 third downs, leading to sustained drives that most of the time ended in scores and allowed the defense to rest. Numerous players stepped up to convert those third downs, including Danny Woodhead who had a key first down on the final drive of the game among others. Not to mention, Mike Scifres punted only once out of 10 offensive drives. Rivers noted the importance of those third down conversions in sealing the win
“Third downs were key. It’s a down you’ve got to win. It gives you another set of downs, and you’re ultimately moving the ball. The way we’re playing in the red zone right now, it’s big.”
4. Royal Reigns – With a career-high three touchdowns, Eddie Royal now has an NFL-leading five scores in two games. The next closest receiver has three. Royal is scoring in all sorts of manners; the quick passes after weaving through defenders, getting open in the end zone and finding the holes in the secondary. Not only is he scoring, but he’s coming through in clutch situations like his leaping grab on third down during the first drive of the second half. Overall he caught seven passes for 90 yards and as a result, everyone is talking about the wide receiver, including his head coach:
“I think he’s making the most out of every opportunity he gets. Having worked with him in Denver, we’re putting him in a situation to make plays. That’s what his job’s to do. He’s done a nice job the past couple weeks in making the big plays when the game’s on the line or a conversion here or winning when it’s one-on-one. ”
5. A Taste of Victory – The Chargers were understandably ecstatic after the game, celebrating in the locker room and on the flight home. But the team says this is just the beginning. A taste of victory has only made them hungry for more. As McCoy said, this is just the first step in what they hope to accomplish in 2013:
“Hopefully it’s the first of many. That’s our plan. My family and I are very thankful for the opportunity we have, and I’m very fortunate I have the coaching staff I have here. The opportunity Dean (Spanos) gave me and the rest of the Spanos family, Tom and Ed (McGuire), I’m very fortunate. We have a great group of people here, and it’s a great opportunity for this organization. We just have to build off of this. It’s great to have the first win together."