Here are five top lessons learned from the Chargers' 54-24 win over the Buffalo Bills:
1. Playing Smart – Head Coach Anthony Lynn chided the team last week for what he called "dumb" mistakes against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That's why among a litany of new records and history-making feats in the blowout win, Lynn was most pleased by the number of penalties his team committed – one. It came in the final quarter, and was the fewest since 2011. As long as they play smart football, Coach Lynn likes his chances of winning:
"Well, from what I hear there were a lot of records in that game. Really, the only one I care about is penalties. At half time, the only stat I Iooked at was zero penalties. Anytime we're playing that type of game, we're playing smart football. We have a chance to win when we play the way we did today."
2. KA13 Slays – Keenan Allen certainly lived up to his "Slayer" nickname on Sunday, authoring one of the finest performances of his career. Allen caught 12 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns, recording his third-most catches in a single game and second-most receiving yards. His pair of TDs tied his career-high as well. Allen sparked the offense in the first half, hauling in nine passes for 123 yards. It marked the first time a Charger passed the century mark in a first half since Tyrell Williams a year ago. Simply put, when Allen is on a roll, there are few wideouts on his level. Philip Rivers opened up about what makes KA13 so special:
"To me, guys that can win one-on-one, guys that are tough to cover in one-on-one matchups, that's the first thing (that makes them special)," he said. "(Allen) can win his fair share most of the time. Other than that, he's such a smart receiver. I've said that many times. He knows our offense. He can play any position and he can tell you what anybody has to do on every play. That, and then he has great body language as far as how he talks to me with things he's doing. He had three or four catches today that were kind of option routes. Things where I pretty much told him, 'Hey, you really can't be wrong here. I'm literally going to just stare at you, and you can do what you want.' When he has that type of freedom, but at the same time he understands what it looks like from right there, he makes really good decisions. Makes it an easy target to get the ball in his hands."
3. "They Come in Bunches" – The Chargers picked off Nathan Peterman on his first drive. Then they did it again. And again. And again. And yes, again. All in all, the Bolts intercepted five passes in the first half, becoming the first team to do so since the Miami Dolphins in 1973. It also set a franchise record. After dropping a few easy interceptions earlier in the year, Head Coach Anthony Lynn and Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley were asked in the leadup to the game how to rectify the issue. They simply said interceptions come in bunches, and that was absolutely the case against the Bills. Lynn reiterated that point after the game:
"Our defense started getting those turnovers last week. Sometimes they come in bunches. They came today in bunches, and our offense took advantage of them most of the time. We got points on defense and that's great…"
4. Challenge Accepted – Lynn acknowledged in his press conference that he issued a challenge to the offensive line on Sunday to play more physical. Challenge accepted. The Bolts dominated at the line of scrimmage, asserting their will on Buffalo all day long. It's also why Lynn began his post-game victory speech by lauding the offensive line:
5. In the Thick of It – The Chargers did not want to be 4-6 after 10 games; however, that record has them very much in the thick of the playoff race. L.A. is only one game out of the Wild Card spot and two out behind the Kansas City Chiefs for first place in the AFC West. They also have one game remaining against KC in a Week 15 primetime tilt. Rivers weighed in on the team's situation when it comes to making the playoffs:
"Obviously (at) 4-6, you could be in a position where you're way, way out of it. We're not way out of the division and not way out of the hunt. That's exciting and encouraging. It shouldn't be hard to keep us focused on the task at hand. At the same time, it makes you sick, some of the ones we let get away. You realize we should be sitting here at 6-4 at the very worst, but we're not, so you have to quickly forget about that and just be fired up that we still have everything in front of us. There's obviously no room for any more hiccups, but excited about the opportunity ahead."
Five Tips to Effectively Recover from Athletic Competition
1. Sports Drinks – As athletes lose fluids during activity, it's essential to replenish those fluids, optimally during athletic competition. Fluids, preferably with electrolytes, should be consumed in small amounts (3-8 ounces) every 15-20 minutes during exercise.
2. Foam Roller – A foam roller helps apply direct pressure to specific joints on muscles and tissues, which help muscles return to normal function. Using a foam roller can also increase blood flow to muscles and tissues and decrease post-activity pain by increasing mobility and flexibility.
3. Compression Garments – Compression garments can help increase blood flow during a workout, which will help oxygen reach the muscles working the hardest during athletic competition. This will help limit tissue damage, speed up muscle recovery and potentially limit issues such as cramping and delayed muscle soreness following athletic competition.
4. TheraBands –Following a workout, TheraBands can aid in a stretching program by decreasing muscle soreness and fatigue. They can also help limit the build-up of lactic acid, which is one of the primary sources of post-activity soreness.
5. Ice – Using ice after a workout for 10-12 minutes at a time can help reduce pain and swelling. Ice can also help muscles, joints and tissues recover faster, which will help increase an athlete's performance in upcoming competition.
For more information on athletic recovery tips and tricks, or to request a complimentary consultation with Select Physical Therapy, please visit **selectphysicaltherapy.com** today!