The Chargers played a great game yesterday that wasn't as close as the 20-17 score in beating the Dallas Cowboys. Amazingly, San Diego is still flying under the radar of the national media. Anyone who watched "Football Night in America" after the game saw a boat-load of analysis about "What's wrong with the Dallas Cowboys?" Anyone think to ask what's right with the San Diego Chargers?
I'll answer it since they didn't:
Phillip Rivers has attained near Jedi status in his ability to read the field and know where his receivers are, who is open and how much to put on the ball to deliver it to them perfectly.
Norv Turner has out-coached everyone the past eight weeks. The Cowboy defense looked completely lost out there when in counted.
Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson are dominant. Teams must choose to focus on one. When they do, the other one has a monster game. Pick your poison.
The offensive line can pass block anyone. On crucial third-and-longs, as Wade dialed up his most creative and serious blitzes; we saw wave after wave of silver and blue crash into a wall while Rivers easily found the open big man one-on-one with some poor, short DB tagging along behind.
The defense is stout in the red zone. Everyone saw the huge four-down goal line stand. The defense has done this many times this season. The defensive line has gelled just enough and the toughness and depth at linebacker becomes more and more evident. Don't mess with Siler and Dobbins up the middle.
LT has enough left to make a play when he needs to. One of the plays of the game came on the final drive, when LT was hit in the backfield as the ball was handed to him. He juked the tackler, then shot through the hole for an eleven yard gain and a first down. He also knows how to find the end zone better than any running back in the league...at least better than Marion Barber.
Two shut down corners? Notice how teams never attack the Chargers in the middle of the field deep or down the sidelines? This is because both Cromartie and Jammer are too good and too dangerous to challenge directly. Teams have to run and play the dink and dunk game down the middle.
Lastly, the punting game. If a drive does fizzle? The Scifers to Osgood connection will put opponents inside their own five-yard lines again and again. Those two punts to the one yesterday had as much to do with the lack of Dallas scoring as the goal-line stand.
Overall, the lack of national media recognition may be frustrating for Charger fans, but it's probably good for the team. It keeps that chip squarely on the Chargers' shoulder while encouraging other teams to take the Chargers just a tad too lightly.