Week 11’s loss to the Denver Broncos dropped the Chargers record to 4-6. Here is what we learned from Sunday’s 30-23 defeat.
Offensive Line Woes – Philip Rivers is not getting enough time in the pocket. We saw in the second half how effective he can be when given time, as he orchestrated two long touchdown drives. But too often, he was under constant pressure. Rivers was sacked four times, with three of them coming from Von Miller. The unit’s struggles were most apparent on key third down situations where he was sacked twice and fumbled once.
2. Déjà vu on Special Teams – For the second straight game, the Chargers had a punt blocked that turned out to be a pivotal turning point in the game. Afterwards, head coach Norv Turner was angry and frustrated by the gaffe, and emphatically stated that it needs to be addressed and fixed quickly. Teams will notice that the Chargers have allowed two blocked punts in as many games and will be game planning on ways to get to Mike Scifres.
3. Run Defense Needs to Regroup – The Chargers’ run defense has been one of the team’s strengths, ranking in the top five all season. Sunday, a Broncos’ team most known for their passing game was able to run wild, amassing 133 yards on the ground. Part of Denver’s success could be attributed to the absence of Aubrayo Franklin, who was the anchor of the Bolts’ run defense. Regardless, San Diego faces Ray Rice this upcoming Sunday, so the unit needs to regroup quickly and figure out how to stop the Ravens’ dynamic back.
4. Alexander is for Real – Danario Alexander’s impressive game against the Chiefs could have been dubbed a fluke. Following it up with an even better game vs. the Buccaneers was a step in the right direction. Now, a third straight excellent game against the Broncos is a trend that proves he’s legit. Alexander led all receivers with seven catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted by Rivers 11 times, nearly twice as much as anyone else. Alexander has exploded onto the scene and has shown to be as vital a part of the passing game as Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates this season
5. Reyes Raises His Game – Rookie Kendall Reyes had his best game as a pro, recording the first two sacks of his career. The defensive end showed how explosive he can be, bull rushing through the line twice in the fourth quarter for hard-hitting sacks of Peyton Manning. In addition to the pair of sacks, he finished the game with three solo tackles and two QB hits. It looks like Reyes will be another young building block for the future along with Corey Liuget, Donald Butler and Melvin Ingram.