Here are five top lessons learned from the Chargers' 30-13 win over the Washington Redskins:
1. King Making Them Pay – What else did Desmond King have to do? A Jim Thorpe Award winner as the best defensive back in college, the Iowa product had to somehow wait until the fifth round to be drafted in April, watching 150 names come off the board before being selected by the Bolts. King is sure making the other 31 teams pay. The cornerback posted a career-high 10 tackles against the Redskins, including a pivotal sack of Kirk Cousins. It marked his fourth sack of the year, which is tied with Rodney Harrison for the second most in franchise history by a defensive back in a single season:
"When you look at the way Desmond is built, he can tackle. That's one of the things he did well (at) Iowa. He played the slot a lot. He played in the box and was a good tackler. He has a knack for getting around blocks and getting to the quarterback. He's been that way his whole life…We felt he had the skillset to be a good blitzer. Absolutely."
2. Red Hot Rivers – Philip Rivers has played a lot of good ball over his 14 years, but he may not have ever been on a more torrid streak than right now. Consider what he's done over the team's four game winning streak. Rivers has completed 96 of 139 passes (69.1 percent) for 1,348 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions for a 118.7 passer rating. He's eclipsed 200 yards passing in the first half in three straight games, marking the first time he's ever done that in his career. There's a lot you could say about number 17's play, but Tyrell Williams may have put it best:
"He's unstoppable. I don't even have a word for him. He's just playing great. I know he's going to keep doing what he's doing, and if he keeps playing like that, we're going to be a hard team to beat."
3. Don't Forget About Tyrell – Speaking of Williams, the third-year wideout made people remember his name with a throwback effort to his sensational sophomore season. After being the Bolts' primary option in 2016, Williams has taken a backseat role with the return of Keenan Allen, development of Hunter Henry and a litany of weapons at Rivers' disposal. On Sunday, he showed what will happen if teams forget about him. Williams caught four passes for 132 yards against Washington, highlighted by a 75-yard touchdown in the second quarter. While he turned heads with his production, Rivers was quick to point out how valuable he's been all year long in unseen ways:
"Do you know how many times Tyrell has cleared out for Keenan, and how many times we've switched those guys to throw Keenan the ball on a certain route where it could have been Tyrell? He understands it because he knows how good of a player Keenan is, but also (thinks he) can make that play, too. There's a balance of wanting the ball, but also, where is my role on the team. You mix in and go, 'Who do we want on this deep crossing route to start the game? Do we want Tyrell? Who do we want on the big post that we hope hits for a big touchdown? It's Tyrell.' Those two things he hit today."
4. Quick Out of the Gate – Another key factor in the team's recent string of success has been their fast starts. True to form, the team raced out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter with all three phases contributing to the early lead. The offense's 354 total net yards marked the most in franchise history in the first half since at least 1991. It was also the most in any half since 2010. On defense, Kyle Emanuel made a heads up play to pick off Kirk Cousins, setting up the team's field goal at the end of the first quarter. Meanwhile, special teams continued to dominate in coverage. All in all, Russell Okung succinctly summed up why the team has been quick out of the gate:
"It's a collective effort. Guys are finally understanding the field position game. How important special teams are. That everything matters. They just seem to reflect that with how efficient our offense has been. What our defense has been doing is incredible. Our special teams, I don't think there are a lot of teams playing better in that third phase."
5. Unsatisfied – Think the Bolts are happy with their four-game winning streak? Think again. While obviously pleased, they know they have a lot of work to do to accomplish their true goal. That continues Saturday with an incredibly important game in Kansas City against the Chiefs. Both teams are atop the division with identical 7-6 records, with whoever comes out on top taking a significant advantage in the quest to capture the AFC West crown. Hunter Henry didn't mince words when talking about the pivotal game:
"The past two years we haven't been to the playoffs. It will definitely be a playoff atmosphere at (Kansas City). We know that every one of these games down the stretch will be treated like a playoff game. We have to continue to win. I am excited about the game and it will be fun."
Five Tips to Prevent and Treat Finger Injuries
- Avoid exposing your fingers to direct force.
- Move your fingers often to exercise both before and after an injury.
- An injured finger should be stretched for flexion and extension after an initial few days of rest.
- Perform stretches focusing on each knuckle of the finger.
- Once injured, follow the system; ice, compress, elevate, protect.