Here you have it, Boltheads: Monday Night Football, San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos. Halftime score: Chargers 24 – Broncos 0. Final score: Chargers 24 – Broncos 35! 100% pure embarrassment – in our own house!!!
At this point it´s hard to write a “publishable” article, one without putting the “F-word” or the “WTF?” phrase about 10 times in every sentence. But I guess that’s what I have to do right here…
So let’s recap that humiliation of the Dol… umm… Bolts at Qualcomm and grade their performance.
It’s hard to describe how I feel about them. It’s a combination of being pissed at, disappointed in, and feeling sorry for them. I mean it’s really hard to look at that offense as part of a professional NFL team. Thirty-five UNANSWERED POINTS in the second half! Writing, reading, and hearing this gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
But first, let’s take a quick look at the Chargers´ offensive performance in the first half of the game.
Well, what is there to say other than they started the game just the way they ended it: crappy!
Two early three-and-outs on their first two drives. They couldn´t even get seven points out of a turnover forced by the Chargers´ special teams at the Broncos 17-yard line.
But after the second turnover – again forced by the Chargers´ special teams – Philip Rivers was able to complete a touchdown pass to Antonio Gates.
It was actually the 50th touchdown pass by Rivers to Gates – no other quarterback-tight end combo in NFL history had a better connection. And it was actually the first touchdown of the season by the (still) elite tight end. Great to see him stepping up after a very slow start and bad performances in the first games of the season.
And he kept it going as he scored his second touchdown after some nice first down catches. Overall he has been targeted a team-high 10 times while averaging 13.5 yards per reception. I would call that a nice comeback.
When thinking about the first half of the game, stupid and weird penalties also come to my mind. Well, the calls on Mike Harris, Randy McMichael, and Antonio Gates may have been correct. But what about those false start calls on Philip Rivers? Come on, those were so over-the-top ridiculous; absolutely annoying to watch your quarterback get punished by crappy referee calls like that.
To make it short: With some help from the Chargers defense and special teams, the halftime score was Chargers 24 – Broncos 0. This was the largest halftime deficit that Peyton Manning has ever experienced (somehow I got the feeling this won´t bother him too much).
As for the second half – I won´t take too deep a look at the plays, because… well, I already told you about the awful sick feeling in my stomach (very sensitive, I know *smile*).
There have been nice first downs by the Chargers once in a while, I´ll give them that.
But how the heck to react as a fan when you have to watch the Donkeys scoring touchdown after touchdown and the Dol… ahh sorry again… the Bolts just don´t answer back! They did everything but score!
At some point I even wasn´t pissed anymore; not even depressed. Somehow I didn´t feel anything. I just sat there in my TV chair, not moving, just starring into the horror scenes on my flat screen. And I didn´t even like it! I actually prefer Freddy Krueger over that MNF crap.
Ok let’s (try to) get serious again.
And seriously, I wanna put some words in Philip Rivers´ direction now:
Man, I constantly called you elite. I defended you when you caused that awkward turnovers last year. I did the same this season (including preseason). Even when loyal fans seriously began to question your talent, your ability to lead the team – I was there to put you in perspective again (at least I tried).
But dude, you are making it damn, damn, DAMN hard for me to go on with that!
Don´t get me wrong, I´m still a fan. But what I DEFINITELY won´t do anymore is call you an ELITE quarterback! It pains me to actually say and write those words, but it’s just simply the truth: You are not an elite quarterback of the National Football League! Maybe you have the talent for it. But damn, that’s not enough!
Elite quarterbacks show it on the field, especially when it gets rough, when pressure is on, when there is hardly any time think about any decision making!
And I also won´t blame the O-Line for the all of that offensive crap anymore. Sure they are a huge factor… I mean a huuuge factor: you were sacked four times in this game and 18 times so far in this season.
But there have been enough plays where you had the time and chance to make the right decision, to throw that game changing pass, but you just couldn´t do it!
Dude, you and guys even failed to complete a game-tying or game-winning scoring drive at end of the game in your last 10 attempts!
But after all, as I said, I´m still a loyal fan of yours. I´m just not too sure anymore if you´re the man to lead a team to the Superbowl.
But on the other hand, no need to be elite to win a Superbowl… right, Eli?
After all, Philip Rivers threw four interceptions (one in first half) and fumbled the ball twice; this makes six turnovers by the Broncos.
Of course, Rivers definitely isn´t to blame on all of those turnovers.
As I already mentioned, the O-Line still is a big issue – although Mike Harris had moments where he actually could show some starting abilities.
When talking about issues, we have to mention the Chargers´ receiving corps here.
Okay, Antonio Gates stepped up yesterday. Robert Meachem actually did a good job on confusing the Broncos’ defense in the first half with his routes (hello Mr. Turner!), but he again had troubles to connect with Rivers (see second interception).
And let us not forget Eddie Royal. The last two intercepted pass attempts were intended for the Chargers´ #11. He could have done a much better job on those plays (stay on your route man!!).
We also could question Norv Turner´s play calls here. Well, some Boltheads will probably curse me for that, but I´ve to admit I don´t hate Norv; I just don´t hate him (as most Charger fans do). I do not love him too much either. But I really think that historical loss wasn´t mainly a matter of crappy play calls. I think it was more a matter of bad execution. But for sure, with 35 unanswered points in one half (ugh… my stomach), the head coach has to be questioned too.
Come on, anything other than an F would be ridiculous here (they even had plenty of help by the Broncos special teams on their scores).
What did the Chargers´ special teams show us in Monday Night´s match-up?
Well, they showed us how to embarrass the opposing kick returners.
That’s right, the Donkeys also got humiliated at some point. More specifically in the first quarter, when the Chargers´ special teams forced two fumbles. On the first one, the blame was on Broncos´ #11 Trindon Holliday and on the second one, #31 the rookie Omar Bolden screwed up.
The first fumble had been recovered by Dante Rosario and the second one by Corey Lynch.
By forcing that second fumble, Darrell Stuckey showed again he is definitely a worthy captain of the Chargers´ special teams as he made a great tackle on the Broncos rookie.
Nick Novak was good on his only field goal attempt.
Mike Scrifes did a solid job on his punts and even Richard Goodman had one nice 39-yard kickoff return.
But Eric Weddle in the second quarter and Curtis Brinkley in the fourth quarter scared us with their special teams play, as they had trouble catching the ball after a punt (Weddle) and after a kickoff (Brinkley). Those plays looked clumsy but didn´t do any damage.
So therefore I would say the special teams´ performance has been solid.
Special Teams Grade: B+
So what to say about our big guys of the Chargers´ defense?
What a surprise – they looked good in the first half, and the halftime score shows it: No score on the board for the Donkeys after the first two quarters.
So the Chargers defense must have been a rock in the first half, right?
Well, of course they had their moments.
I´m thinking about the nine rushing yards by the Donkeys with six minutes to go in the second quarter.
And I´m thinking about an interception and a touchdown return by Quentin Jammer – this actually has been his first career touchdown!
But when taking a closer look at the situation, not everything was as perfect as the halftime score of Chargers 24 – Broncos 0 showed.
Because the Broncos’ offense actually killed some of their drives with huge mistakes on their side.
For example, in the second quarter when Eric Decker was completely open at the right side of the field (Jammer!), he caught a Manning pass, but he stumbled and put himself down and thus stopped his run to the endzone.
On the next play, Broncos´ Matthew Willis obviously had no clue what the play call had been and that made it easy for Quentin Jammer to pick off Manning and return the ball for a touchdown score.
In the second half the Chargers’ defense couldn´t stop Peyton Manning and his offense. It seemed they completely lost track of what was going on.
I mean there wasn’t any pass rush even in the first half. But at least the Broncos’ offense couldn´t put any scores on the board.
In the last two quarters of the game, Peyton Manning took advantage of the time he had been given and scored touchdown after touchdown (side note: zero sacks on Peyton Manning).
Additionally, and seemingly quite suddenly, the rushing game become successful for the Donkeys.
Why the Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano and his guys couldn´t do anything to limit Broncos´ Willis McGahee, just like they did in the first half, is still a mystery to me.
So overall it was a disappointing performance by the Chargers defense.
Because of the lack of pass rush and the tremendous decrease in the second half, I have to give them an F.
So Boltheads, maybe we are living under darkened skies these days (sunny San Diego… yeah, right), but we gotta keep an eye on the positive aspects too:
We don’t have a negative win-loss record, and we still don´t suck as much as the Raiders.
Keep your head up high and stay Bolted Up!
Time for a “bye.”