Sunday, December 27, 2009

Championship Form

Another week and another huge performance for the San Diego Chargers. In dominating the Titans, the Chargers showed they are ready for the playoffs. The worst part about earning the first round bye and earning it early is that the team has to wait three weeks to play their next real game. Coaching decisions become crucial in drawing the fine line between resting players and keeping that edge for the first playoff game.

Who do you play against the Redskins? How hard do you practice?

As for Friday's game, Vince Young seemed to single-handedly give the game up for the Titans. His interception and fumble in the first half were the decisive factors in building the Chargers' lead. Chris Johnson was running on the Chargers as well as he has on everyone else. Young was asked to complete a few strategic passes and simply was not up to the task. He scramble and find the one open receiver. He can run for the first down. Ask him to stay in the pocket, survey the defense and make the right decision? He's not there yet.

Shaun Phillips made a huge play to strip the ball from Young in the second quarter. Young has always carried the ball a bit loosely, going back to his Texas days. Phillips is the best in the league at swiping that ball away. Crucial little talents like this usually end up making the difference in the playoffs. Let's hope so.

The Chargers were able to run the ball somewhat effectively. LT and the line, while not dominating, are getting into some kind of sync. There are holes opening up. Nick Hardwick looked like he hasn't missed a beat in his 12 game absence. The pass blocking--especially picking up the blitz--looks like some of the best in the league. Rivers has time.

He's using that time as well as any quarterback in the league. The national media has noticed how incredibly difficult it is to defend the Chargers. The receivers, the scheme and the play calling are all just too good for most defenses to handle.

On the defensive side of the ball, the defensive backs are turning out to be a strength of this team. This is huge because, as everyone knows, the road to the Super Bowl will go through Indianapolis. Eric Weddle is just a smart player who makes great reads and puts himself in the right spot on both run and pass plays. Kevin Ellison and Paul Oliver have improved each week sharing the other safety spot. Ellison may end up being San Diego's next Rodney Harrison in couple years. The corner play has been absolutely solid.

Watching today's scores, it looks like someone else may be "peaking at the right time": New England. They came out and just destroyed Jacksonville. While Indianapolis may not want to see the Chargers, does San Diego want to see New England come to town? That may just bring back some bad memories. However, what could be sweeter that beating the Patriots and the Colts on the way to the Super Bowl?

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