Philip Rivers will get the lion’s share of attention following a sensational performance against the Cardinals.
Still, enough can’t be said about the job of the entire offense as it was as total complete effort.
The Chargers rattled off 45 unanswered points, which was the most by the team since a Dec. 14, 1969 win over the Buffalo Bills in which they also scored 45 straight.
In fact, while addressing his historic performance, Rivers made sure they all received their proper due.
“A lot of guys made great catches today,” he said. “Numerous guys did a heck of a job catching the football. That’s why I always say, ‘We.’ We completed those. The guys upfront blocked and ran the ball efficiently. It was a lot of good things… Again, I know I keep saying 'we', because some of the great catches — and they were great catches — they could've easily fallen (as) incomplete. There are the guys protecting up front. So, 'we' completed 25 in a row. I mean, there are a lot of guys involved in all of those (passes)… A lot of guys caught the ball, that’s what I was saying. I think we should acknowledge all of those guys.”
Head Coach Anthony Lynn emphasized Rivers’ statement, explaining how everyone played a part in the offensive explosion.
“I think the reason why you (have a streak) like that is because you’re a balanced team,” he said. “You’re running the football. You’re throwing the football. You’re throwing screens. You’re keeping them off guard — special plays — and I think that’s why you’re able to complete those plays like that. Guys were getting open and making plays for him, too. There were some great catches out there today”
There certainly were.
From typical stalwarts like Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to unsung players like Sean Culkin, Rivers’ receivers made some spectacular catches on the day.
Williams’ pair of TD snares stand out in particular, showing just how confident the team is in the second-year wideout to come up big when the Bolts need him to most.
“That’s what we expect from Mike,” Lynn said. “He’s a 50/50 (jump ball) guy. He can go up. He can jump out the gym. He can go out and get the ball, and that’s what he’s been doing all year. He’s been doing it in training camp. He’s been doing it in practice. It’s not a surprise for us to see him to do it in a game.”
Allen’s touchdown was also an incredible catch that is SportsCenter Top 10 worthy. In fact, Rivers thought he’d have to try to run the ball in for a rare rushing touchdown before KA13 did a masterful job to get open.
“There for a minute I was like, ‘This is my chance, I never score a rushing touchdown,’ he said. “I was going to spike it as hard as I could. No, then I saw him and Tre (Boston) kind of tangled up, and I was just like, ‘If he comes back down right now, we have a chance.’ I knew he was close to the boundary, and what a great job of keeping his feet in on that one and making that play.”
Then there’s Culkin, the hard-working blocking tight end who came through with an acrobatic catch late in the first half. While it was the first reception of his career, Rivers explained how it’s indicative of just how dangerous the offense is as a whole.
“Huge catch,” the quarterback said. “He went up and got it. All week, you run that and then all of the things that they can play, they played the coverage that goes to Sean. Which is great. Everybody is alive. We thought, ‘Hey, it’s going to be (Antonio) Gates on the corner out or we’re going to throw it to the tailback.’ Sure enough, he ends up open, and he went up and made a heck of a catch. I think that’s what I know guys appreciate. I know as the quarterback, I appreciate that about our offense. So many guys contribute. So many guys can get it on any given play. I think that’s what makes us unique. There are so many guys that are involved. Then you see how excited guys are and making that play. It’s truly a team, an unselfish group all the way around. Just speaking offensively of all the guys that touched the ball, it makes it fun to be the one that’s throwing it to them.”
Of course, the running game also played its part led by Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, who each provided a boost on the ground. In fact, the Chargers amassed 178 rushing yards on the day while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Gordon toted the rock 10 times for 61 yards and two touchdowns while Ekeler had five carries for 35 yards. Number 30 also led the team with 10 receptions for another 68 yards.
However, it was the rookie running back out of Northwestern who really stood out as he made the most of his opportunities. Jackson carried the ball a career-high seven times for 57 yards, averaging a gaudy 8.1 yards per carry.
Thus, while River is sure to make headlines this week, it truly was a complete effort that should excite fans as the Bolts continue their playoff push.