Disaster struck the Chargers during their second drive of the game in one of the worst possible ways.
In a matter of a handful of plays, starting left tackle
The Chargers only had seven linemen dressed entering the game and the five remaining healthy members were forced into new positions.
“You’d be a rich man if you could have told me two guys were going to go down the way they did,” Head Coach Mike McCoy said after the game.
It would be understandable if the Jaguars defense were licking their chops, but as they have done all season, the offensive line showed incredible heart and resilience in leading the way to victory.
“Once again we had to shuffle the deck up front,” said McCoy. “I think (Offensive Line Coach) Joe (D’Alessandris) and the staff did a great job of moving guys around. Unfortunately the week we go down to seven linemen we lose two of them in a hurry, (but) that’s all a part of it. We’ve just got to keep shuffling the deck, and that’s a great job by the coaches and the players of stepping up. That goes back to the days of training camp. The dog days of just grinding it out with five guys and moving guys around so they deserve a lot of credit.”
While each and every guy on that line deserves a ton of praise, the job Fluker did in moving to the left side was particularly noteworthy.
“We’ll watch the film tomorrow morning, but I think he did fine for the most part,” McCoy said. “I didn’t see Philip get hit too much back there. And Ryan (Mathews) ran for 110. So I thought he did well.”
Always honest, Fluker said he didn’t know what to expect when he was told he was being switched to the left side. But it didn’t take long for him to gain confidence over there.
“It was a challenge,” he admitted. “I wasn’t really used to it. As the game went on I got more comfortable with it. It’s something you’ve got to adapt to. When we started running the ball a little bit, I said it’s not so bad. The more comfortable I got the better I got at it.”
Hardwick has been a rock in the middle of that line all season long, and he was especially proud of the job his teammates up front did after being put in a trying situation.
“The guys have the flexibility that when things happen, which they always seem to do, to come out and execute their assignments,” he said. “It’s a testament to everyone’s work ethic. It’s a testament to Coach D'Alessandris and Coach (Andrew) Dees and the vigor in which they work and coach. The amount and attention of detail that is paid to every guy and every position is incredible. They’re a major reason behind our success.”