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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Tue., Nov. 24, 2015 10:00 AM PST
Royal's Gritty Play Pivotal in Victory
He took a bit of a backseat role when Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown had their breakout games the past couple weeks. But on Sunday, Eddie Royal reminded us all what he's capable of as yet another option in the Bolts' aerial attack.
Royal, who started the first two games of the season with five touchdown grabs, resurfaced in a big way against the Jaguars. He fought through a toe injury and a questionable status for a four-catch, 69-yard game with an impressive 27-yard score.
The man throwing him the ball, Philip Rivers, couldn’t say enough about is receiver’s gritty performance.
“You can’t say enough about the grits and guts of Eddie,” said Rivers. “He didn’t play all week. You saw him walking around in a boot all week. He goes out and catches a touchdown, makes that big play and had a couple of other catches.”
Royal's touchdown grab was a thing of beauty. Lined up in the slot, he took advantage of the coverage closing in to shut down Brown's short route out wide. He outran cornerback Mike Harris down the field, and then cut to the corner. Rivers split Harris and safety Jonathan Cyprien with his throw and gave Royal room to turn up field.
That's exactly what he did. The receiver outmaneuvered Cyprien, then ended his scoring catch with an exclamation point -- a two-yard dive that just tapped the front pylon for a 27-yard touchdown.
He outdid his touchdown with an all-effort, 29-yard catch and run to start the game's final period. Royal had no room to run left as the Jaguars closed in on a screen pass thirty seconds into the fourth quarter. So, with Rivers leading the way, Royal broke back across the entire field to search for running room.
He found 29 yards of green turf on the left side after evading a few diving defenders. And on the ensuing play, Ryan Mathews broke through the middle of the line for a three-yard touchdown to put the Chargers up for good.
Allen, Brown, and other young receivers have earned their snaps and accolades this season. But both of Royal's big plays should serve to put defenses on notice. Whenever his number is called, the receiver who had the hottest start this season is ready to produce.