Tuesday, September 21, 2010

San Diego Bounces Back

The Chargers looked much better last week, dominating the Jacksonville Jaguars in a crazy game that featured nine turnovers. The Chargers' three turnovers were somewhat excusable. Ryan Mathews' "fumble" was not a fumble, as he was down. He does need to take care of the ball however. Both of Rivers' interceptions bounced off his own receivers' hands first, so he can't be blamed for those.

The offensive line was actually impressive in both the running and passing game. The Jaguars just got pushed around on the line of scrimmage. Maybe Dombrowski will turn out to be serviceable after all. If Louis Vazquez continues to develop at right guard, the Chargers could do some real damage in the run game this year.

In regards to the run game, Ryan Mathews' second game almost ended in complete tragedy, as he turned over the ball then went out with an injury. It turned out the fumble wasn't real and the injury wasn't serious. For a moment though, San Diego fans saw the season flashing before their eyes. The exciting first round back out for the season after two devastating fumbles? Confidence and an ankle unable to recover? The football gods were kind to the Bolts this week.

Mike Tolbert stepped into the gap left by Mathews and showed his surprising speed and vision in addition to his well known strength. Whether or not Mathews is healthy, Tolbert just played his way into more opportunities this season (pick him up for your fantasy squad now...he's probably undrafted).

Even better news came with the continued strong play of the defense. Antione Cason had a monster game and monster confidence builder for a young player. This first-rounder is no bust. He looks like a serious upgrade from the weird hijinx of Cromartie over the past few years.

Larry English made a big play and Shawne Merriman looked fluid and quick on the field, if a bit tentative in his first game back. Lights Out seems to have come out of this game healthy and will probably turn up the heat for Seattle. Brandon Siler filled in for Stephen Cooper without missing a beat. Antione Applewhite came in and caused a fumble. The linebacking corps is coming together.

On the whole, San Diego looks stronger, indicating that perhaps we can call the KC game a wet sloppy aberration. However, it's easy for young players to get on a roll and perform well in a blow out. How will some of these guys react in the pressure situation of a close game? The KC game showed some inexperience and flawed confidence. This week's game against a lesser opponent on the road should be a good test of some of the young players' consistency and ability to perform under a bit more pressure.