My Top Five Charger standouts from Week One against the Raiders:
Top Veteran: Philip Rivers
Philip had a great game to start off the season. I was worried his interceptions and forcing throws were going to continue in this game, but was glad to see that didn’t happen. Philip had a solid game making throws and taking the sure yards with dumping it off to Brown and Brinkley when the mid-range and long throws were covered. He was able to spread the ball around and get everyone involved in the offense which will only get better each week. Once Philip gets more comfortable with Meachem and Royal, and the whole offense gets back in the groove of playing together, it should be fun to watch. Rivers went 24/33 passing for 231 yards and one touchdown along with zero interceptions. That last stat is the most important zero interceptions! Hopefully he can keep that stat at zero this week again in the home opener.
Top Offensive Players: Malcom Floyd, Eddie Royal, Robert Meachem
It’s going to be fun watching these three players make plays this season! We just saw a small taste of what this group of wide receivers can do on the field. Let’s start with Malcom Floyd. He is Rivers security blanket on the wide receiver side, along with Gates. You can tell he and Rivers are in sync from previous seasons together. Now that Jackson is gone he will be leaned on more than ever and it showed on Monday night. Malcom was the top receiver, having caught four passes for 66 yards, and the Chargers only touchdown of the game. His acrobatic catch on the side line in the second quarter was awesome to watch. We’ve seen him make great catches many times before but seeing him twist in midair to snag the ball in the air was sweet!
The next standout on offense, special teams, and running the ball is of course Eddie Royal. Right off the bat there was the reverse run play-out with Eddie taking the quick toss from Rivers and turning up field; it was an awesome sight to see. He is fun to watch with the football in his hands. Just give it to him and watch him go! Royal also had solid punt returns on special teams. Teams will have a tough time with Royal as they have for the past couple of seasons. He is a threat anywhere on the field. Charger fans we are in for a show with Royal so in the words of T.O., get your popcorn ready!
The last stand out is the other new weapon on offense, Robert Meachem. He had a great highlight-making catch in the first quarter with his 46-yard catch that set up the first field goal points of the game for the Bolts. He wasn’t targeted much in this game (twice), which is understandable since he and Rivers are still getting in sync with each other. Each week we should see Philip throwing Meachem’s way more as they get to know how the other works and handles certain situations.
Top Defensive Players: Shaun Phillips, Eric Weddle
The defense came alive more in the second half with the pass rush. The one to start it off was Shaun Phillips getting to Carson Palmer twice in the second half. It sure was nice to see him getting to the quarterback again and doing his signature bowling celebration afterward. He should have a great season this year as they keep improving the pass rush each week getting it started early and often. Eric Weddle also had a solid game again as he often does. His solid tackling, along with stopping Mcfadden for no gain in the third quarter, he always stands out on defense.
Top Special Teams Player: Nate Kaeding
We all know Nate had returned from his injury last season and this game was his to show us all that he is back at being a solid kicker in the regular season. He provided most if not all the points for the Chargers with his field goals since the offense struggled to score touchdowns in the red zone. He should have another solid regular season. After the regular season is where he worries me. No need to worry about that for now though; Nate had a solid first game back.
Top Rookie: Mike Harris
We all know he has been getting ragged on along with the rest of the guys up front by us fans (myself included) since the preseason for his play on the left side of the offensive line. I have to say, though, he did a good job for the most part protecting Rivers and keeping the guy in front of him in check. He did have some help from Brown and Gates on some plays, but when it was just him he held up. Now, it still remains to be seen if he and the offensive line can keep it up on passing plays this weekend against the Titans. We shall see.