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Analyzing the First Team Offense

Posted Aug 24, 2014

The Bolts’ starting offense impressed against the stout 49ers defense.


Despite the 21-7 loss, the Chargers’ top offense looked sharp in Sunday’s Week 3 preseason matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

Still, while Head Coach Mike McCoy was impressed with his first unit’s performance, he cited short-yardage situations as an area of improvement.

“Offensively, there were a lot of good things with that group, but unfortunately with the short yardage situation and going for it, we stubbed our toe there,” McCoy said.  “We’ve got to do a better job there and execute in critical situations.  But we told them last night if we have a fourth-and-one we’re going for it so we’ve got to do better there.”

Quarterback Philip Rivers and the first-team offense played three series and their drives quickly made the sting of last week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks a thing of the past. 

“I never like to make too much of the preseason, or too little of it, but there is a value there,” Rivers said.  “It was a rhythm where we were able to get first downs, but we didn’t convert on a fourth down and there are some things that we need to clean up.  We got first downs, finished with a touchdown and you like to get in that flow. The other two games we only got one series as a whole. So getting to go three series, going back out there over and over is how you get into that flow, which is important this close to the opener.”  

Even though it’s only the preseason, when playing against opposing first-team defenses, Rivers looks to be capitalizing on last season’s career-year performance.  He looked crisp working through Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich’s no huddle, shotgun offense for most of his time on the field going 9-for-10 for 85-yards and one touchdown. 

Rivers said he was pleased with what he accomplished today.

“Statistically I don’t think it means much in the preseason, but it is more about the communication, the rhythm and the little things. It is more about ironing out the kinks and I believe we have done that thus far,” he said. 

McCoy was also pleased with his quarterback’s play today calling Rivers’ performance “outstanding.”

“That’s the way he’s been since the first day we got here,” McCoy said.  “When you’ve got a quarterback like that who understands the system the way he does, he’s going to make a lot of good decisions for your team.  He’s got a great supporting cast also and a good offensive line.  We’ve just got to keep building on that.”

Rivers’ sole touchdown came to a familiar face on the Chargers offense, tight end Antonio Gates, who looks to be in top form.  He had three receptions for 28-yards along with the touchdown. 

“I just try to go out and do what I need to do to help us win,” Gates said.  “My job is not to criticize or look at no one else’s play and say ‘this is what they need to do.’ That’s why they pay the coaches.  For me, it’s just to go out and try to do things I can to do help us win and that’s what I was trying to do today.”

As for the running backs, the “three-headed-monster” of Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown was in full-effect.  Woodhead had four rushes for 16-yards and two receptions for 11.  Brown finished the game with five rushes for 13-yards and one reception.  Mathews had four carries for 22-yards along with two receptions for 25-yards.  His longest reception was a 25-yard touchdown that was called back after an illegal block by wide receiver Keenan Allen.  Still, it placed the Bolts on the 10-yard line that led to Gates’ touchdown one play later.

Week 3 was a dress rehearsal of sorts for the first-team since it’s unknown how much playing time they’ll get in Week 4, but if there’s one takeaway from today’s game, it’s that the first-team offense looks to be regular-season ready.
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