After watching the Broncos beat the Patriots yesterday, San Diego fans, players, coaches, and management had a collective "uh-oh" moment and intake of breath in the new reality that is the AFC West. Those that thought the division would belong to the Chargers for years to come as the other organizations lay mired in dysfunction (don't worry were still safe with KC and Oakland), have received a huge wake-up call in the Josh McDanielized Donkeys.
This team plays with aggressiveness, fire, confidence and, even when challenged by a few horrible special teams fiascoes, poise, as they managed to come back and go toe-to-toe with New England in overtime. They're doing all the things the Chargers haven't been doing.
The icing on the cake? The fatal flaw of a pretender? Kyle Orton? The less-than-franchise QB?The guy threw over forty passes yesterday and didn't make a bad throw. I can only guess that McDaniels has this team and quarterback so well prepped, working overtime to get everything perfect, that they have shortened the learning curve and jumped to the head of the class in the AFC West. It frightens me that the San Diego defense is still blathering on about "just playing within our responsibilities." It seems like professionals would have learned this by now.
The good news? The Chargers may match-up better with a quick and talented, but smaller, offense like the Broncos than the bruising Steelers (think Colts). The Patriots smaller corners had real trouble with the huge Brandon Marshall. Quentin Jammer and Antonio Cromartie (if he can pull his head out) should be able to control the big guy better.
Norv haters? You'll find out if he can coach or not this week.