Here are the top lessons learned from the Chargers' 24-14 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
1. Rivers Already Rolling – It was his first action of 2018, but Philip Rivers was already in regular season form. The future Hall-of-Famer was masterful in his two drives against the Seahawks, completing six of seven passes for 62 yards and 103.6 QB rating. He also guided the Bolts on a lengthy TD drive to open the game, completing all four passes on the series for 41 yards. After the game, Head Coach Anthony Lynn noted he was hardly surprised to see number 17 dominate right out of the gate:
"I see that every day in practice. Those offense and defense runs, they go at it every day, so he moves the ball down the field. He did it today."
2. Special Teams Answers the Bell – It's a big deal anytime a team scores on special teams, and that was absolutely the case when JJ Jones returned a punt 72 yards to the house late in the first half. As impressive as the undrafted rookie was – and he was pretty dang impressive showcasing his 4.2 speed – Lynn was quick to point out how proud he was of the entire unit. After all, he challenged the unit heading into the second preseason game after a disappointing showing against the Cardinals:
"It wasn't just JJ, it was the whole punt return. We challenged them last week, and it was good to see them respond that way."
In addition, Roberto Aguayo came through as the Bolts gave him an extended look against Seattle. He not only made all three extra point attempts, but most importantly, iced the game with a 39-yard field goal late in the game. Lynn said going solely with Aguayo was by design:
"He was 100 percent, so I thought he did well. I wish he had a couple more opportunities, but he got one there at the end. Took a delay of game just to back him up a little bit, but he kicked well today…. We wanted to see Roberto. We're just doing it by game, next week you'll see Caleb (Sturgis) a little bit more, and then you will see Roberto again."
3. Bend but Don't Break – The Chargers defense gave up the third fewest points in the league last year, and they once again were up to their usual tricks by getting stingy when it counted most. While Russell Wilson was able to move the Seahawks down the field, thanks largely to some chunk plays in the passing game, the Bolts buckled down to limit the damage to a pair of field goals. Even better, with Seattle knocking at the doorstep, Melvin Ingram forced a fumble at the goal line which Brandon Mebane recovered. The defense's performance was the first thing Lynn referenced after the game:
"Classic example of a bend-but-don't-break defense. Normally we don't see deep balls going over our heads like we did today, but they didn't let them in the end zone, and that was the most important thing. Some of these guys are showing up and they're very consistent. They're starting to carry over things from practice into games, which make us easier for us to evaluate."
4. Smith Continues to Shine – One week after leading the NFL in passing, Geno Smith had perhaps an even better game against the Seahawks. Playing in front of his new fans for the first time, the veteran passer completed six of eight attempts for 85 yards and one touchdown for a 148.4 passer rating. The former Jets second-round pick has proven to be a capable backup to Philip Rivers. Despite Smith's success, he was quick to praise number 17 for helping him raise his game to new heights:
"I'm blown away by Philip. Every single day I learn something new. Just being able to see how competitive he is, how smart he is, the way he treats the game is similar to how I treat the game. I'm a little feisty, and he is (too). I love that about him. I love being in the room with him and all the guys, Cardale (Jones), Nic (Shimonek), Shane (Steichen) and Whiz (Ken Whisenhunt), we're all one big group and we're all working together."
5. Controlling the Clock – The Chargers dominated time of possession by an incredible margin, holding onto the rock for nearly 15 minutes more than the visitors, 37:21 to 22:39. Controlling the clock was a strength of the Bolts a year ago, yet that margin was better than any game from 2017. Their best time of possession last year was 36:05, which they had in back-to-back games on Nov. 19 vs. the Bills and Nov. 23 at Dallas. Winning time of possession by such a sizable margin goes a long way toward determining a game's outcome, so hopefully the Chargers can keep it up as they gear up for the regular season.
Five Tips for Backpack Safety
In a study conducted by Spine Magazine, 80 percent of surveyed children said that their backpacks were heavy. Worse, 65 percent of them felt their backpacks caused them fatigue and 46 percent said they had back pain due to the heavy load. Following these tips will keep your kids – and even yourself, when a backpack comes in handy! – healthy and safe now that school is back in session.
- Choose a pack that is appropriate to the child's size and age and has well-padded shoulder straps and a waist belt.
- Remind your child to always wear both shoulder straps to distribute weight more evenly. Our neck and shoulders are rich in blood vessels and nerves. When constricted, these nerves can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands. And, using only one shoulder strap can cause too much leaning and threaten to curve the spine.
- Adjust your child's shoulder straps so the pack fits snugly against his or her back. Your child's backpack should never rest more than four inches below his or her waistline. The waist belt can be fastened for extra support and help transfer weight from the shoulders to the body's trunk and hips.
- Never allow a child to carry more than 15 percent of his/her body weight. For example, if a child weighs 100 pounds, the backpack should not weigh more than 15 pounds. And, always load the heaviest items closest to the child's back.
- Many manufacturers make rolling back packs that offer similar functionality as standard back packs, but without placing stress on your child's neck and back. Make sure the extended handle is long enough to avoid having to bend to one side while pulling.
For more safety tips or to request a complimentary consultation with Select Physical Therapy, please visit **selectphysicaltherapy.com** today!