Here are five top lessons learned from the Chargers' 23-9 win over the Denver Broncos, presented by Select Physical Therapy.
1. Dominating D – The Chargers defense ended the regular season ranked in the top 10 across the board in yards against, rush defense, pass defense and points against. Most importantly, they enter the postseason on top of their game following another dominating outing against the Broncos. They limited Denver to just nine points, forced three turnovers (plus another on special teams) and held the Broncos to only 4-of-14 (29 percent) efficiency on the ever-important third down. The Bolts know they'll need similar defensive efforts heading into the postseason. Just ask Casey Hayward:
"They always say, when you get to the playoffs, you've got to pack your defense. That's the team that'll normally win. It's always good to have a good offense for sure, but you definitely need your defense to come through."
2. Defense Goes on the Offensive – While the defense only gave up nine points in Denver, they actually matched that total themselves, accounting for nine of their own. Kyle Emanuel's scoop-and-score hustle play in the second quarter marked the first points of the game. Meanwhile, with the Broncos looking to make it a three-point game with a two-point conversion attempt after finally finding the end zone early in the fourth quarter, Casey Hayward made them pay with a "pick-two." The cornerback intercepted the ball in the end zone, then raced 102 yards to pay dirt to give the Chargers a seven-point lead. There are few things more deflating to the opposition than putting up points while on defense. As Damion Square noted, it's something the defense wants to do more of in the playoffs:
"I'm going to be honest with you, in the playoffs, you turn into two completely different units. As a defense, you turn into one whole team. As an offense, you turn into one whole team. It's the playoffs. You've got to play. You've got to score points. We've got to think like the offense. You've got to score points. We've got to respond to opportunity, and that's what we're doing. We saw the way the game was going today. We were preaching turnovers before the game, during the game. Somehow a ball got in our hands, (we) made some plays (and) put the offense in position to score. We got out of here with the win."
3. Rivers Not Worried – The Chargers offense finishes the regular season once again as one of the top in the NFL. While they've fired on all cylinders all year long, the last two weeks have been tough sledding at times. Philip Rivers has thrown four interceptions and just one touchdown. He's also been pressured at a higher rate, though he wasn't sacked once against the Broncos. The Bolts know they are as talented as any team in the NFL, and while they're disappointed in their output the past couple weeks, they're not worried as they enter the postseason. Nor should they be. The Chargers' body of work the entire season is pretty spectacular. After all, they've been held under 20 points just once all year long. Of course, Rivers was asked about the offense's performance heading down the stretch, and responded with a perfect answer:
"It's not as good as we want to play. But again, I don't see any pattern. I don't really buy into pattern or momentums in the games. It hasn't been as good. I think you look at our collective body of work this year and it's been good enough to win 12 games. I think we're a 12-win offense. I think we're a 12-win defense, 12-win special teams. I mean, that's what we were. We'll see now we're all even. We'll see if we're a one-win playoff team and then we'll worry about another one later."
4. Bring on Baltimore – Get ready for a rematch! Two weeks removed from meeting at ROKiT Field at StubHub Center, the Chargers head east to take on the Baltimore Ravens Sunday morning on Wild Card Weekend. The Bolts actually learned they'd be facing the Ravens while in the locker room after beating Denver…but they truly didn't care where they'd go. As Melvin Ingram constantly says, it's A.S.A.P. – Any Squad Any Place. Still, the team was understandably peppered with questions about facing a team that beat them only eight days ago. Perhaps no one summed up their sentiment better than Rivers:
"It's a heck of a challenge. I don't think there was really a team that wasn't going to be a heck of a challenge. To get to this point, there are only 12 teams in. Again, this first weekend where eight teams are playing and they're all good. That's a team that out-played us last week. It'll be a new game, new everything and we'll see who can play the best this time through."
5. "Us Against the World" – Everyone knows by now that the 2018 Chargers are true road warriors. They went 8-1 as the visiting team this season, including the "home" game in London. Well, it's a good thing they're battle tested as the enter the playoffs as the fifth-seed. So, what's the secret to the Chargers' success on the road? As Melvin Gordon explains, it requires a certain mentality:
"Our backs have been against the wall for so long. For a few years now, I've felt like it's us against the world. We get a little chatter here and there and they pump us up a bit and then something bad happens and it's (the) same old Chargers. We don't really listen to it. All we know is fight. When we get in situations in away games where it's us against the world, this is what it looks like. We have some Charger fans but it's really us against the world. It was all orange jerseys everywhere today. You are just confident because you've been there before."
Five Tips to Improve Your Posture
- Improper posture can create many types of back and neck pain. The spine has three natural curves: one in the neck, one in the mid-back and one in the low back. It is important to maintain these curves so the body stays "stacked up" properly.
- When improper posture is maintained for extended periods of time, the muscles can become weak and fatigued, resulting in burning or sharp pain, headaches or muscle spasms. Some muscle groups become overstretched while other muscle groups become shortened. Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods without changing positions.
- Postural dysfunction and its symptoms can generally be resolved with proper physical therapy treatment. Therapeutic exercise is used to stretch the short muscles and provide strengthening and endurance to the weak muscles. Soft tissue mobilization can be used to reduce muscle spasms, tightness and relieve inflammation and pain.
- Try to attain proper posture as often as possible during the day, especially if you are sitting for prolonged periods. Take the time to stand up and pinch your shoulder blades together, or stand against a wall to maintain an erect posture. If you cannot stand, a lumbar roll or foot stool may help achieve an improved sitting posture with less stress to muscles and ligaments.
- Education and instruction by a physical therapist can be provided on proper posture and techniques used to avoid episodes of pain and muscle imbalance. This may include car seat adjustment, use of lumbar support and individualized strengthening programs.
For more tips on proper posture, or to request a complimentary consultation with Select Physical Therapy to ease your pain, please visit selectphysicaltherapy.com today!