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Five Lessons from the Cowboys Game

Posted Sep 30, 2013

Here are your weekly five lessons from the previous game.


Here are five lessons we learned from Sunday’s big 30-21 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

1. Rivers’ September to Remember – Statistically speaking, Philip Rivers has just completed the finest opening month of his career. His 118.8 passer rating for the month is a career-high, besting his previous mark in 2008 of 109.8. In four games, Rivers has completed 105 of 142 (73.9%) for 1,199 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.  Number 17 was on fire Sunday against the Cowboys.  He finished 35 of 42 for 401 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 120.3. In addition to tossing his 200thcareer NFL touchdown, Rivers’ completion percentage (83.3%) was the highest in NFL history for a 400-yard passing game.  After the game, Antonio Gates talked about how special a player Rivers is, putting his milestones in perspective:

“I think when you sum it all up, from an individual standpoint, the sky’s the limit on what he can do and what he can accomplish. You satisfy it when you can get away with a win.  I think that’s when you can embrace scoring a touchdown and you go into the next week saying, ‘Wow that was pretty spectacular.’”

2. The Finishers –It seems every week we’re talking about the need to finish, and the Chargers did just that against Dallas.  The team ended the game on a 20-0 run, and they punctuated it by forcing a turnover at the goal-line. Eric Weddle held up Terrance Williams and Crezdon Butler punched the ball loose as Richard Marshall recovered it in the end zone with less than three minutes remaining in the game.  In his post-game press conference Head Coach Mike McCoy pointed out the many ways his team finished:

"You have to finish and you have to come up with the opportunity. Come up with a big stand on defense. Then you have to finish it on offense, go down and score, run out the clock towards the end and come up with a turnover like we did in the end of the game. That’s what it’s all about.”

 

3. Mr. Versatility–That’s what Danny Woodhead has been for the Chargers, never more so than against the Cowboys.  In addition to catching a career-high two touchdowns, he notched five catches for 54 yards and five rushes for 32 yards.  Not to be overlooked was his ability to block as well. According to Rivers, Woodhead is a unique talent:

“Danny’s funny because in a lot of ways he looks like a wide receiver, the way he runs routes, the way he catches the ball. But, he’s a heck of a running back, as you see. I was handing it to him. You get him matched up there on a linebacker on a go route. It’s not a ball you throw very often but when it comes up, you’ve got to take advantage of it, and get him on a will route down there in the red zone that – kind of the same deal – [he’s] matched up on a linebacker, and they kind of busted it I think. I know a lot of you heard me say how excited I was about him all off season. He’s been everything I certainly expected and hoped for these first four weeks of the season.”

 

4. Stepping In and Stepping Up  – The Chargers were without numerous starters before the game and lost some during the game as well, forcing the reserves into action.  They responded and they responded well. .  Mike Harris started for King Dunlap at left tackle, Johnnie Troutman at left guard for Chad Rinehart and Rich Ohrnberger at right guard for Jeromey Clary.  When Ohrnberger left the game in the second quarter, Steve Schilling, who was signed on Wednesday, came in and the line didn’t miss a beat.  They allowed just one sack against a vaunted Dallas defense.  Then there was Keenan Allen stepping in for Malcom Floyd, recording five catches for 80 yards in the process.  In the final quarter, the team was without its starting cornerbacks with Shareece Wright missing his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury and then Derek Cox left in the third quarter.  Johnny Patrick, Richard Marshall and Crezdon Butler filled in by pitching a shutout in the second half, with Butler and Marshall teaming up on the aforementioned pivotal forced fumble late in the game.  Still, as Crezdon Butler said after the game, all the reserves did was do their job:

“That’s part of the NFL. It’s a business and I understand that. You just have to be ready when your number is called.”

 

5.  To the Coaches’ Credit – It’s sometimes easy to overlook the coaches after a win, but every single Chargers coach deserves kudos for the job they did cultivating the game plan and preparing the players.  McCoy gave them kudos on numerous occasions after the game:

“That’s what this game is all about. I’m proud of the football team and the coaches. The coaches deserve a lot of credit for what we’ve gone through last week with all of the injuries, especially up front with the offensive line. (Offensive Line Coaches) Joe D’Alessandris and Andrew (Dees) did an outstanding job and never skipped a beat. They did an outstanding job up front, not only putting a great plan together, but teaching it to the players. And it all started in practice. The big saying last week on the football team was to practice the way we’re going to play. From Wednesday to Friday, we can’t do much better. We’re going to ask for better, but it was very efficient and the tempo that we wanted."

 

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